Cheney Says Iraq Critics Would Do 'Exactly Nothing'
1 hour, 6 minutes ago Add U.S. National
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) charged on Friday that opponents of a U.S. go-it-alone policy on Iraq (news - web sites) favored "doing exactly nothing" while the Bush administration was trying to prevent a terror "nightmare."
"Those who declined to support the liberation of Iraq would not deny the evil of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s regime. They must concede, however, that had their own advice been followed, that regime would rule Iraq today," Cheney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation think tank.
His speech represented a sharpening counterattack against critics who say President Bush (news - web sites) exaggerated the Iraqi threat to justify war and is now mismanaging the occupation.
Cheney also rejected criticisms that the United States acted without international approval, and challenged a policy of consensus, as embodied by the U.N. Security Council.
"So often, and so conveniently, it amounts to a policy of doing exactly nothing," he said.
In California, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused the media of emphasizing the negative in post-war Iraq. He said there was a "mixed picture" which included progress, but U.S. forces were dealing with a "very serious low intensity conflict."
The two officials' speeches capped an offensive this week by Bush and key aides to combat falling public support for Bush's Iraq policy.
U.S. soldiers continue to die almost daily in attacks in Iraq, six month's after Saddam's ouster, and the United States has failed to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the main reason cited by Bush for launching the war in March.
"I know what is going on there and it is a mixed picture," Rumsfeld said at the Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) presidential library west of Los Angeles. "And the part of the picture that is negative is being emphasized while the part of the picture that is positive is not."
DEMOCRATS ATTACK CAMPAIGN
Democrats have labeled the new campaign public relations spin.
The campaign would probably have only limited impact, Brookings Institution analyst Michael O'Hanlon said. He noted that a prime-time speech by Bush last month did little to build support and this campaign was a lower-profile move.
Cheney compared the debate over Iraq with the early stages of the Cold War against communism, and said the Iraq war was part of a battle to prevent an "ultimate nightmare" of large-scale global terrorism.
"Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of horror," Cheney said.
He reiterated U.S. charges that Saddam supported terrorism and aided al Qaeda, accused of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Cheney last month left open the possibility that Iraq could be connected to the attacks, but Bush said later there was no evidence to support a widespread U.S. public belief in such a link.
Cheney dismissed critics of the U.S. decision to go to war without U.N. backing.
"Another criticism we hear is that the United States, when its security is threatened, may not act without unanimous international consent," Cheney said. "Though often couched in high-sounding terms of unity and cooperation, it is a prescription for perpetual disunity and obstructionism."
Addressing the failure to find Iraqi unconventional weapons, Cheney said U.S. investigator David Kay had found significant evidence of arms programs.
He also disputed charges that the Iraq war fueled anti-American hostility and said hostility among militants had long existed. "Year after year, the terrorists only grew bolder in the absence of forceful response from America and other nations."
Well, if that's how Cheney can get anyone to listen to him these days, maybe it's a good sign? Not even sure why I posted it. Hypocrisy is alive, well, and transparent, and hopefully not in this instance, rubbing its 666 heads together in a ritual prelude to the next phase? The rich amusement inherent in a sentence that begins "Though often couched in high-sounding terms" and ends in "prescription for perpetual disunity and obstructionism."? The moment of relief where the Heritage Foundation is visibly doing anything besides helping funding up the PLF to some more war on environmental protection including Oregon? Or are they just feeling a little more macho now they got Arnie where they want him?