Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is 'hogwash'
POSTED: 4:32 p.m. EST, January 24, 2007
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday dismissed as "hogwash" the suggestion that blunders may have hurt the administration's credibility on Iraq and led members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to question President Bush's plan to send more troops to Baghdad.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, carried out a day after President Bush delivered his State of the Union address, the vice president was told that some Republicans in Congress "are now seriously questioning your credibility, because of the blunders and the failures."
To that Cheney responded: "Wolf, Wolf, I simply don't accept the premise of your question. I just think it's hogwash."
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee defied President Bush on Wednesday and approved a resolution declaring that sending more troops to Iraq is "not in the national interest."
"We better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder," said Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, one of the harshest Republican critics of the plan.
Cheney said the administration is committed to moving ahead with its plan to send more troops to secure Baghdad, even if Congress passes a resolution in opposition.
"It won't stop us," he said. "And it would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops."
Cheney added, "The notion that somehow the effort hasn't been worth it or that we shouldn't go ahead and complete the task is just dead wrong."
Cheney said the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein was the right move.
"The world is much safer today because of it," the vice president said. There have been three national elections in Iraq. There's a democracy established there, a constitution, a new democratically elected government. Saddam has been brought to justice and executed, his sons are dead, his government is gone. And the world is better off for it."
Cheney added that had Hussein been allowed to remain at the helm of Iraq, "he would, at this point, be engaged in a nuclear arms race with (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, his blood enemy next door in Iran."
"There's problems, ongoing problems. But we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime, and there is a new regime in place that's been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off," Cheney said.
Asked to describe the biggest mistake made by U.S. war planners, Cheney said: "I think we underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam's rule had really hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into submissiveness. It's very hard for them to stand up and take responsibility, in part because anybody who's done that in the past have had their heads chopped off."
Asked about the pregnancy of his daughter Mary, who is in a relationship with a female partner, Cheney expressed irritation with his questioner.
"I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf," he said. "And, obviously, I think the world of both my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."Yeah, Wolf, don't get out of line - Dick might take you quail hunting . . . .