Former Vice President Dick Cheney is blasting the fledgling administration of Barack Obama, arguing that its policies dealing with terrorism and international foes are naïve and dangerous, making it all the more likely that terrorists will succeed in their next attempt at killing Americans, according to a report in Politico.
Simply by closing Guantanamo Bay’s detention camp for terrorists, Cheney said, Obama inadvertently will aid enemies eager to make another attack on the United States. Another major attack on this country — perhaps even using biological or nuclear materials — is very likely in the next few years, Cheney said.
“I think there’s a high probability of such an attempt,” Cheney said. “Whether or not they can pull it off depends whether or not we keep in place policies that have allowed us to defeat all further attempts, since 9/11, to launch mass-casualty attacks against the United States.”
Cheney opined that the inevitable attack will be “a 9/11-type event where the terrorists are armed with something much more dangerous than an airline ticket and a box cutter — a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind” that is set off in an American city.
In a wide-ranging interview with Politico, Cheney emphasized the usefulness of the interrogations at Gitmo while lambasting the policies emerging from the new administration.
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an al-Qaida terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.
Concentrating on the merits of Gitmo, Cheney described it as a first-class operation, noting that one of the painful lessons learned was the penchant for those detainees who were released to return to their terrorist roots.
He noted that 61 of the inmates who were released from Guantanamo during the Bush administration had “gone back into the business of being terrorists.” He also characterized the remaining 200 or so remaining detainees as “hard core” cases that were even more likely to be repeat offenders.
Releasing the prisoners or ramping up their due process would be unwise, Cheney charged.
“The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes,” he said.
Cheney defended the hard-line tactics of the Bush administration as responsible for the safety of the country after 9/11.
“If it hadn’t been for what we did — with respect to the terrorist surveillance program, or enhanced interrogation techniques for high-value detainees, the Patriot Act, and so forth — then we would have been attacked again,” he said. “Those policies we put in place, in my opinion, were absolutely crucial to getting us through the last seven-plus years without a major-casualty attack on the U.S.”
Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.”
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