Cheney: Abandoning Afghanistan Can Lead to Disaster

Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 03:41 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney says Obama administration plans to pull out of Afghanistan in the near future could have disastrous results. Cheney also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday that the last time Afghanistan was left to its own devices it spawned the rise of Osama bin Laden.
“You have to remember what happened the last time we pulled out of Afghanistan,” Cheney said. “In the 80s, we were providing support to the Afghans as they went against the Soviets — after we succeeded everybody walked away, including the U.S. Within a matter of years, there was a civil war in Afghanistan and the Taliban took over.

“Then Osama bin Laden was invited in '96 to set up shop, established training camps — trained 20,000 terrorists and used it as a base of operations to kill 3,000 Americans — that’s all because of the last time we walked away from Afghanistan,” he said. “We have to be very cautious not to let that happen again. Our objective has to be to get to the point where the Afghans can defend their own sovereign territory — guarantee it is not again used as a safe haven against the United States or other nations.”

Cheney, who is promoting his new memoir “In My Time,” noted the Middle East and North Africa are dangerous parts of the world, and while America has allies in the region it has “a lot of enemies and adversaries as well.”

“We should not turn our back — we have to stay actively involved — we have to help those who want to help us and help defend them,” Cheney said. “And we need to operate in such a way that it didn’t again become safe haven for terrorists to do another 9/11.”

The former vice president noted that while President Barack Obama deserves credit for sending in the SEAL team to kill bin Laden, some of his policies aimed to undo what the Bush administration put into place to battle terrorism are counter-productive.

“I think first of all . . . you have to give President Obama credit for making the decision to send in the SEAL team to get Bin Laden — I made a public statement, which was unusual for me. I felt that the people who really deserve the credit are the professionals, the guys in the special operations communities, the SEALs, Delta task force, and the Air Force — intelligence folks and so forth,” Cheney said. “I think the American people were well served by the policies that we put in place — I think the troops did a magnificent job when they captured and killed bin Laden — I preferred to have him dead, by the way, not captured. In the future you have to continue to address those kinds of issues.

“My concern in part over what the Obama administration has done over time, since he came into office, efforts to close Guantanamo Bay and so forth is to strip away some of that capability that we built — and that would be unfortunate because there will be more occasions when they are going to need them,” he said. “My experience in that part of the world is people are more likely to respond if they respect and/or fear the power of the United States.”

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