bsolutely fascinating. The full Associated Press story
Cheney challenged polls suggesting that a majority of people in the United States do not believe the Bush administration's claim that the war in Iraq is the central front in the fight against terrorism.
"I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists. You know, we're here on the fifth anniversary (of the 9/11 attacks). And there has not been another attack on the United States. And that's not an accident, because we've done a hell of a job here at home," Cheney said in the broadcast interview. "I don't know how much better you can do than no, no attacks for the past five years."
He said the U.S. had done a good job on "homeland security, in terms of the terrorist surveillance program we put in place, the financial tracking we put in place, and because of our detainee policy."
Cheney disputed that he ever directly said Saddam had any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
He defended his past statements both on links between Iraq and the al-Qaida network, and on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, saying the pronouncements were based on the best intelligence he had at the time. No such weapons were found, nor is there clear evidence of links between Saddam's government and Osama bin Laden's organization.
Cheney cited various statements by former CIA Director George Tenet, both on Iraqi links to al-Qaida and weapons programs, including Tenet's often-quoted comment to Bush that it was a "slam dunk" that Iraq had such weapons
The vice president was asked on NBC whether there more terrorists in the world now than there were before the Sept. 11 attacks. "It's hard to say. Hard to put a precise number on it," Cheney said.
Asked if the U.S. still would have invaded Iraq had the CIA told Bush and him that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Cheney answered yes. He said Iraq had the capability of obtaining such weapons and would have done so once U.N. penalties were eased.
Flawless technique. It's admitted that Saddam had anything to do with the September 11 attacks, and yet the central role of Iraq in the Administration's anti-terrorism policy is immediately justified with reference to 9/11, creating the rhetorical association in the mind of the listener as justification for the Administration's actions, even while on a formal level this is denied. Likewise, the justification of Saddam about to pulverize us with nuclear weapons and the "spectre of a mushroom cloud" as what allowed the President to gain popular support for the side trip into Iraq is now tossed aside as not in the least bit necessary for the Administration's actions. He would have
gotten them, it's said, if we hadn't acted, despite the fact that for over ten years of American containment of Iraq, he had never been able to do so. I guess the Administration thinks that he was suddenly going to remember to do this and to gain the capacity to do so shortly in the future, despite the massive interdiction imposed on Iraq all these years by the nations of the world. (The trumpeting of North Korea that they do
have such weapons and that they will
gleefully use them against us, doesn't provoke nearly the same response. One almost suspects that the fact there are no huge resources in North Korea exploitable by no-bid goverment contracts to businesses co-incidentally associated with the Administration might have played some role in this distinction. But likely that has only the appearance
Me, I'm hoping that the Administration doesn't come to believe that I'm going to be a significant threat, criminal, traitor, or registered Democrat ten or twenty years from now.