"Critics here at home" argue that the war in Iraq has hurt the reputation of the United States around the world, former Vice President Dick Cheney acknowledged this morning. But he doesn't believe that's true.
"In fact I think it was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem" — then-Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein — Cheney said on NBC-TV's The Today Show.
Though Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, as the Bush administration thought, the Iraqi regime had been "a major source of proliferation," Cheney said. And "we were very concerned about the prospects of terrorists like the 9/11 crowd acquiring weapons of mass destruction."
As we've previously written, Cheney is on a promotional tour for his new memoir — In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.
During the Today interview, Cheney again defended the use of waterboarding on some suspected terrorists. At one point, he conceded that if another nation waterboarded an American citizen, the U.S. would object. But the suspects who were waterboarded by the U.S. "are not American citizens," he said, in drawing a distinction.
The former vice president also responded to comments by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who thinks Cheney takes "cheap shots" at some Bush administration veterans in the memoir. "A balanced account required me to put down what my opinion was," Cheney said, while also pointing to what he says is "basically all very positive" things he has to say in the book about Powell's time as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.