February 14, 2010
Cheney on Biden comments: 'A little strange'
Former Vice President Dick Cheney Sunday shot back directly at Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion that success in Iraq will be one of the Obama administration’s great achievements, calling it “a little strange.”
Chuckling after he was read Biden’s statement, Cheney said, “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by my friend Joe Biden.”
“I’m glad he now believes Iraq is a success,” Cheney said on ABC's "This Week," adding that Biden and President Obama campaigned criticizing the Bush administration on Iraq and opposed the surge. “For them to try and take credit for what happened in Iraq strikes me as a little strange," Cheney said.
If the Obama administration is going to take credit for the drawdown of troops and democratic government in Iraq, Cheney said, it should come with “a healthy dose of thank you George Bush,” because those changes are “in accordance to the timetable that we initiated.”
Cheney, responding to Biden's comments in an interview on NBC's “Meet the Press” taped Saturday, said his replacement as vice president was “dead wrong” to say another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 is unlikely.
A nuclear attack, or one similar to 9/11, is “the biggest strategic threat” facing the United States, Cheney said.
“If the mindset is it’s not likely,” he added, then it’s difficult for the administration to mobilize the resources needed to combat such a threat.
On Iraq, Cheney said he believes “very deeply” that the war in Iraq was the right thing to do, responding to Biden's claim on NBC that the war there was not worth it.
Cheney backed down from his criticism of Obama’s assertion that the Christmas Day Bomber was the “act of an isolated extremist,” saying that the president eventually changed his view.
“It’s the mindset that concerns me,” Cheney said , adding that the Obama administration was slow to “come to that recognition that we are at war.”
Cheney, however, offered unflinching support for Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan.
“I’m a complete supporter of what they’re doing in Afghanistan,” Cheney said. Obama made the right decision by deploying 30,000 additional troops there, he said, “although it took him a while to get there.”
“I’m glad they’re doing what they’re doing,” Cheney said, although he also said members of the Obama administration, such as Attorney General Eric Holder, continue to treat terrorists and terror issues with a pre-9/11 mindset.
Cheney also argued that it’s unlikely that Obama will close the military detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“I wouldn’t be surprised” if the prison stays open, he said. “It’s a valuable facility. There’s a reason why we set it up.”