Iraq war a 'worthy cause'


Summary

US Vice President Dick Cheney says the United States can win in Iraq and accused Democrats pushing for a troop withdrawal of being "irresponsible."

In an interview on US television, Mr Cheney said he believed US forces in Iraq were making progress despite continuing violence.

"I do believe we can win in Iraq. I think it is a worthy cause. I think it's absolutely essential that we prevail," Mr Cheney told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I don't want to underestimate the difficulty of the task," said Mr Cheney. "But just because it's hard doesn't mean we shouldn't do it.”

Mr Cheney spoke as more deadly bombing attacks were reported in Iraq, killing at least 45 people in predominantly Shi’ite areas of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Asked about opinion polls showing a majority of Americans support a withdrawal of US troops, Mr Cheney said: "Well, you also get a majority who, I think, would prefer to have us win."

Mr Cheney repeated criticism of Democratic leaders in Congress for tying funding for the war to a timetable for the withdrawal.

He demanded that the Democrats support an emergency funding request without conditions and reiterated threats that President George W Bush would veto any bill with a deadline for a US pullout.

"There's a fundamental debate going on here, in terms of whether or not our objective in Iraq is to, quote, 'withdraw,' or whether our objective in Iraq is to complete the mission," Mr Cheney said.

"And I think a majority of Americans would prefer the latter, if we can get it done."

Cheney has ‘no credibility’

But Democratic Senator Carl Levin said Cheney's words carried no weight given his previous predictions on Iraq.

"He has no credibility. He's been wrong consistently on Iraq. He has misled the people consistently on Iraq. He has misstated. He has exaggerated," Mr Levin told Fox News.

"And I don't think he has any credibility left with the American people."

Mr Levin said that while the Democrats wanted to send a message on troop withdrawal they would not withhold funding for US troops deployed in Iraq.

Mr Cheney was asked by CBS about comments attributed to former president Gerald Ford that he had become more pugnacious in recent years and was obsessed with the threat of terrorism.

He said that he had not changed since he served under Ford in the 1970s but that the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States had a profound effect on the US outlook and the government's responsibilities.

"The fact is that the threat to the United States, now, of 9/11 occurring, with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities, is the greatest threat we face," he said.


US Vice President Dick Cheney says the United States can win in Iraq and accused Democrats pushing for a troop withdrawal of being "irresponsible."

In an interview on US television, Mr Cheney said he believed US forces in Iraq were making progress despite continuing violence.

"I do believe we can win in Iraq. I think it is a worthy cause. I think it's absolutely essential that we prevail," Mr Cheney told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I don't want to underestimate the difficulty of the task," said Mr Cheney. "But just because it's hard doesn't mean we shouldn't do it.”

Mr Cheney spoke as more deadly bombing attacks were reported in Iraq, killing at least 45 people in predominantly Shi’ite areas of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Asked about opinion polls showing a majority of Americans support a withdrawal of US troops, Mr Cheney said: "Well, you also get a majority who, I think, would prefer to have us win."

Mr Cheney repeated criticism of Democratic leaders in Congress for tying funding for the war to a timetable for the withdrawal.

He demanded that the Democrats support an emergency funding request without conditions and reiterated threats that President George W Bush would veto any bill with a deadline for a US pullout.

"There's a fundamental debate going on here, in terms of whether or not our objective in Iraq is to, quote, 'withdraw,' or whether our objective in Iraq is to complete the mission," Mr Cheney said.

"And I think a majority of Americans would prefer the latter, if we can get it done."

Cheney has ‘no credibility’

But Democratic Senator Carl Levin said Cheney's words carried no weight given his previous predictions on Iraq.

"He has no credibility. He's been wrong consistently on Iraq. He has misled the people consistently on Iraq. He has misstated. He has exaggerated," Mr Levin told Fox News.

"And I don't think he has any credibility left with the American people."

Mr Levin said that while the Democrats wanted to send a message on troop withdrawal they would not withhold funding for US troops deployed in Iraq.

Mr Cheney was asked by CBS about comments attributed to former president Gerald Ford that he had become more pugnacious in recent years and was obsessed with the threat of terrorism.

He said that he had not changed since he served under Ford in the 1970s but that the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States had a profound effect on the US outlook and the government's responsibilities.

"The fact is that the threat to the United States, now, of 9/11 occurring, with a group of terrorists armed not with airline tickets and box cutters but with a nuclear weapon in the middle of one of our own cities, is the greatest threat we face," he said.