Dick Cheney: Obama Refusing to Recognize Global Spread of Radical Islam

Sunday, 22 Jun 2014 11:35 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The United States is in "big trouble ahead" because of President Barack Obama's "refusal to recognize reality" and his emphasis on getting the United States to withdraw from the Middle East, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Iraq is not the whole problem," Cheney told ABC News' Jonathan Karl on "This Week" Sunday. "We have a much bigger problem than just the current crisis in Iraq."

He pointed to a recent Rand Corporation report showing there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of groups such as al-Qaida and jihadists.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

"It stretches from west Africa, across north Africa, east Africa, and through the Middle East," Cheney said. "It's a doubling of the number of terrorists out there."

But the Obama administration is refusing to recognize that spread, said Cheney.

"The spread of the terrorist groups is not recognized by the [Obama] administration," said Cheney. "The fact that information could fall into the hands of terrorists is not being addressed. I think we need a broad strategy that lets us address the full range of the issues."

And when it comes to the current uprising in Iraq, Cheney said it's time to be "realistic about the nature of the threat."

Late last week, Obama announced 300 military advisers would be sent into Iraq to help with the situation.

"We're arguing over 300 advisers when the request had been for 20,000 in order to do the job right," said Cheney. "I'm not sure we have addressed the problem."

Further, Cheney said that he "would definitely" be helping the resistance in Syria with training and weapons.

"At this point, there are no good, easy answers," said Cheney. "The problem we're faced with is a much broader one. We need an administration to recognize that we have this huge problem."

This means to quit "peddling the notion" that because core al-Qaida members have been captured or killed, the problem is over."

Karl pointed out that although Cheney wrote in The Wall Street Journal  last week that "rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," there are critics, including Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who says Cheney was the one who was wrong on Iraq.

The former vice president said his position on Iraq has not changed since he was in office.

"I was a strong supporter then of going into Iraq," said Cheney. "I'm a strong supporter now. Everybody knows my position."

But if time is spent debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, he continued. "we're going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face."

In addition, he called Paul an "isolationist" who "doesn't believe we should be involved in that part of the world."

Cheney, though, continues to believe involvement in the Middle East is essential.

"One of the things I worried about 12 years ago and that I worry about today, is there will be another 9/11 attack," said Cheney. "Next time, it will be far deadlier than airplanes and box cutters."

Further, Cheney said that there is a growing situation in Pakistan, where there are nuclear weapons and technology sold to the North Koreans.

In his Wall Street Journal article, Cheney said "only a fool" would take the approach Obama is taking in Iraq, Karl noted, but Cheney said he's not just referring to that country.

"It referred to the fact that we have left a big vacuum in the Middle East by our withdrawal from Iraq with no stay-behind agreement and by the agreement that we're going to withdraw from Afghanistan," said Cheney.

The vacuum is being filled by people such as the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and in Pakistan, where the Taliban has launched a major attack on the Karachi airport, said Cheney.

"The scope of the problem is based upon an unwillingness by the president to acknowledge we have a problem," said Cheney. "They claimed we got bin Laden so terrorism is solved. That was not true then and it is not true today."

Further, Cheney said the nation needs to reverse course on its defense budget.

"We're decimating the defense budget," he said. "We need to go back to a two-war strategy."

He noted that the U.S. Army has 40 brigades, but "only four are combat ready."

And as a result, Cheney said, Obama has "dramatically limited the capability of future presidents to combat crises."

And when it comes to potential future presidents, Cheney said he is no longer impressed by Hillary Clinton like he was in 2008, when Obama selected her as Secretary of State.

At that time, he said he thought Clinton was tough, smart, and works very hard, and "may turn out to be just what President Obama needs."

But now, Cheney says, Clinton was working with a president with a fundamentally different philosophy and was not able to meet her potential.

 "She has not operated in that environment," said Cheney.  I think she's been a disappointment with respect to things like Benghazi and other problems."

And while Paul is considered a front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, Cheney said he has not picked his favorite yet.

"One of the things that is right at the top of my list is whether or not the individual we nominate believes in a strong America, believes in a situation where the United States is able to provide the leadership in the world basically to maintain the peace and to take on the Al Qaeda types, where ever they show up," he said.

Urgent: Do You Approve of Obama's Handling of Foreign Policy? Vote Here

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