Cheney accuses Obama admin of being soft on terror
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010, 23:34
Washington: Former US Vice President Dick Cheney today accused the Obama administration of dithering on the war against terrorism, contending that the government's mindset is not tuned to fight terrorism.

Criticising Obama Administration's actions, including the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, Cheney on a Sunday talk show said the government's action were indicative of a mindset that was not tough enough to fight terror.

In an interview to ABC News, Cheney strongly disagreed with the assertion of his successor Joe Biden that the US is unlikely to face another 9/11.

"I think, the situation with respect to Al Qaida to say that, was a big attack we had on 9/11, but it's not likely again, I just think that's dead wrong," Cheney said, criticising this "mindset".

"If you're really serious and you believe this is a war... then you have to consider it as a war. You don't want the vice president of the United States running around saying, Oh, it's not likely to happen," Cheney said.

Vice President Biden shot back at Cheney's allegations, saying his predecessor was either misinformed and trying to rewrite history.

"Dick Cheney... is entitled to his own opinion. He's not entitled to rewrite history," Biden said, claiming that the administration is pursuing the war successfully.

"The success rate exceeds anything that occurred in the last administration," he said.

Biden said the Obama administration's efforts have killed 12 of al Qaeda's top 20 leaders and 100 of their associates.

"They are in fact not able to do anything remotely like they were in the past," Biden said of al Qaeda. "They are on the run".

Cheney also charged that the administration was not equipped to deal with the aftermath of an attempted attack like the one on December 25.

"My reference to the notion that the president was trying to avoid treating this as a war was in relation to his initial response when we heard about the Christmas underwear bomber up in Detroit, when he went out and said this was the act of an isolated extremist," Cheney said.

"It's the mindset that concerns me," he said, adding terrorist acts should not be treated as criminal acts but as acts of war.

Slamming the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay he said: "Those were the tools we put in place to deal with this kind of situation. They should have had something to put in lieu of those programmes," he said.

Cheney claimed that the Obama administration was trying to take the credit of the previous dispensation's successful policies in Iraq.

"... we got rid of one of the worst dictators of the 20th century. We took down his government, a man who'd produced and used weapons of mass destruction... a man who had a relationship with terror. We're going to have a democracy in Iraq today," he said.

Cheney however supported Obama's policies on Afghanistan, including the troop surge.

Biden, in an interview to the CBS news, said the al Qaida threat has prompted the US to put "incredible resources" in the war and claimed "we've had significant success".

"We've eliminated over a dozen of their top 20 operatives, another 100 of their associates. They've been unable to operate in any significant, coordinated way.

"That's why you're seeing al Qaeda metastasize into smaller bore operations coming out of the Arabian peninsula not directly coordinated by them.

"The reason why I do not think it's likely (another 9/11) is because of all the resources we have put on this, considerably more than the last administration did, to see to it that it will not happen," Biden said.

He said the administration was also in the process for a plan to corral loose nuclear weapons and fissile material within the next four years, something the last administration paid virtually no attention to.

Cheney had also criticised the decision to try the Christmas Day bomber in federal court and said the administration had shown an inability to deal with such a situation.

Biden responded: "I don't know what Dick's been doing lately. We did exactly what he did with the shoe bomber, Richard Reid. Exactly what he did. We brought in the experts.

"I was told he said we didn't bring in the right people. The experts are the FBI interrogators. They are the best that we have".


First Published: Sunday, February 14, 2010, 23:34

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