View Full Version : Cheney: Domestic Iraq Debate Encouraging Adversaries

09-10-2006, 10:09 PM
10 September Washington Post (11 Sept. edition) - Cheney: Domestic Iraq Debate Encouraging Adversaries (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/10/AR2006091000427.html) by Michael Abramowitz.

Vice President Cheney said today that the ongoing national debate over the war in Iraq is emboldening adversaries to believe they can undermine the resolve of the American people to complete the U.S. mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They can't beat us in a stand-up fight, they never have, but they're absolutely convinced they can break our will [and that] the American people don't have the stomach for the fight, " Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press .

The vice president said U.S. allies in Afghanistan and Iraq "have doubts" America will finish the job there. "And those doubts are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we've had in the United States," Cheney said. "Suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists."

Cheney offered an unapologetic defense of the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, saying he would have done "exactly the same thing" even if he knew before the war what he acknowledged knowing now -- that Iraq did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Yet he also gave a bit of ground on some of the past statements that have raised questions about his credibility.

He acknowledged he had been overly optimistic in predicting a quick demise to the Iraqi insurgency that continues to bedevil U.S. forces. More than a year ago, in May 2005, Cheney proclaimed the insurgency was in its "last throes," but, since then, more than 1,000 additional U.S. troops have died and sectarian violence has intensified.

"I think there's no question... that the insurgency's gone on longer and been more difficult that I had anticipated," Cheney said, though he went on to add that 2005 will be seen as a turning point in Iraq's history because of elections that have led to a democratic government. He did not mention warnings from generals and others that pacifying Iraq would require many thousands more troops than those committed by the White House...