In an upcoming documentary about Dick Cheney, the former vice president lays into former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for successfully arguing against his recommendation to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.
Israel took out the facility instead in April of that year.
The Bush administration received word that Syria was engaged in a clandestine operation, with the assistance of North Korea, to build a nuclear reactor. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was eager for the United States to destroy the facility, but the White House decided against it.
"Condi recommended taking it to the United Nations. I strongly recommended that we ought to take [the reactor] out," Cheney said in the film, “The World According to Dick Cheney,” reports Foreign Policy magazine, which was able to preview the film.
"I thought [destroying the reactor] would reassert the kind of authority and influence we had back in '03 when we took down Saddam Hussein and eliminated Iraq as a potential source of WMD [weapons of mass destruction]," Cheney said.
"Condi was on the wrong side of all those issues, so we had significant issues."
Rice helped prevent the U.S. from sending Syria and other rogue states an important message Cheney said. "There are certain bright lines out there, and you do not cross them,” he states.
“One of those bright lines is you do not provide nuclear technology to terror-sponsoring states. You don't want Syria to have that kind of capability that they might be able to pass on to Hamas or Hezbollah or al-Qaida."
Rice, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, told Foreign Policy
that in retrospect her position was the right one. "The situation turned out exactly how it should have," she said.
Her chief of staff, Georgia Godfrey, told the publication that U.S. intelligence officials weren’t sure Syria indeed was building a nuclear reactor and that Israel took care of it in any case.
A 2011 U.N. investigation determined that Syria "very likely" was constructing a nuclear reactor.
This isn’t the first time Cheney has taken a swing at Rice since leaving the White House. In his 2011 memoir “In My Times,” Cheney labeled his former colleague “naïve” for her effort to negotiate with North Korea.
Showtime is slated to broadcast the documentary March 15.
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