Former vice president Dick Cheney took to the Sunday circuit this morning, where he weighed in on the death of Osama bin Laden and U.S. foreign policy. On Afghanistan, Cheney urged President Obama to not use bin Laden’s demise as reason to “run for the exits.”
“If we turn and walk away from Pakistan, Afghanistan or that part of the world generally, I am fearful that we are headed for trouble down the road,” Cheney said on Fox News Sunday.
Turning to the Abbottabad mission, Cheney gave Obama “high marks” for how he handled the operation. “You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for making the decision to have SEAL Team 6 conduct the raid that got bin Laden,” he said. “There’s no question that was his responsibility, and I think he handled it well.”
Cheney remains worried, however, about U.S. intelligence. “I’m still concerned about the fact that a lot of the techniques that we have used to keep the country safe for seven years are no longer available, that they’ve been sort of taken off the table,” he said. “It’s not clear to me today if we still have an interrogation program to put someone through.”
With regard to the bin Laden mission, “All have said one way or the other that the enhanced-interrogation program played a role,” Cheney said. “My guess is that’s probably the case that it contributed, just as did a number of other factors.”
Waterboarding, he added, should not be demonized. “Waterboarding and all of the other techniques that were used are techniques that we use training our own people. This is stuff that we’ve done for years with own military personnel. To suggest that it is torture, I just think is wrong.”
At the end of the chat, Cheney, who is working on a book, told Chris Wallace that he is in better health these days, following a “rough patch” last year. “I’ve been blessed with the wonders of modern medical technology,” he smiled.