Dick Cheney

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Principle is okay up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose.

Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney (born January 30, 1941) was the 46th vice president of the United States, serving under President George W. Bush. Previously, he served as White House chief of staff, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming, and Secretary of Defense. In the private sector, he was the chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton Energy Services.





  • I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we're going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.
  • And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.... Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq.
  • Because if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you've got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for the families it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? And our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right.
    • Cheney, on not pushing on to Baghdad during the first Gulf War; C-SPAN 4-15-94 Interview on CNN
  • The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But, we go where the business is.
  • Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow.


  • The suggestion that somehow, because this was a close election, we should fundamentally change our beliefs I just think is silly.


  • We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.


  • Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction; there is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.
    • Address at the Opening Session of the 103rd National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (August 26, 2002)


  • We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.
    • Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 [4]
  • [In response to "Do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?"] "Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House....The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
  • My belief is, we will, in fact be greeted as liberators.
    • Meet The Press with Tim Russert. [5] (March 16, 2003)
  • [In response to "Reconstituted nuclear weapons. You misspoke."] Yeah. I did misspeak. I said repeatedly during the show weapons capability. We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon.
    • Meet The Press with Tim Russert. [6] (Sept. 14, 2003)
  • [In response to "We have not been greeted as liberators."] "Well, I think we have by most Iraqis. I think the majority of Iraqis are thankful for the fact that the United States is there, that we came and we took down the Saddam Hussein government. And I think if you go in vast areas of the country, the Shia in the south, which are about 60 percent of the population, 20-plus percent in the north, in the Kurdish areas, and in some of the Sunni areas, you’ll find that, for the most part, a majority of Iraqis support what we did.
    • Meet The Press with Tim Russert. [7] (Sept. 14, 2003)
  • If we’re successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it’s not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.
    • Meet The Press with Tim Russert. [8] (September. 14, 2003)


  • We haven't really had the time yet to pore through all those records in Baghdad. We'll find ample evidence confirming the link, that is the connection if you will between al Qaida and the Iraqi intelligence services. They have worked together on a number of occasions.
    • Interview with Rocky Mountain News, January 2004 [9]
  • America has shown we are serious about removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction."..."We now know that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction.... We know he had the necessary infrastructure because we found the labs and the dual-use facilities that could be used for these chemical and biological agents. We know that he was developing the delivery systems — ballistic missiles — that had been prohibited by the United Nations.
  • What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action.
  • With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People...ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.
  • Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. And that makes the whole thing mutual — America sees two John Kerrys.
    • Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention. - Video and text available. (1 September 2004)
  • Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
  • The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror.
    • At the Vice Presidential Debates, October 5, 2004. [12]


  • The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people. I mean, these are terrorists for the most part.
    • Interview talking about the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay on Fox News (13 June 2005)
  • I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time... The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.


  • I think so. I guess if I look back on it now, I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered.
  • What the Democrats are suggesting, basically, about a withdrawal — you can call it redeployment, whatever you want to call it. Basically, it in effect validates the terrorists' strategy. You've got to remember that the Osama bin Laden-types, the al Qaeda-types, the Zarqawi-types that have been active in Iraq are betting that ultimately they can break the United States' will. There's no way they can defeat us militarily. Their whole strategy, if you look at what bin Laden's been saying for 10 years, is they believe they can, in fact, force us to quit, that ultimately we'll get tired of the fight, that we don't have the stomach for a long, tough battle and that we'll pack it in and go home. If we were to do that it would be devastating from the standpoint of the global war on terror. It would affect what happens in Afghanistan. It would make it difficult for us to persuade the Iranians to give up their aspirations for nuclear weapons. It would threaten the stability of regimes like Musharraf in Pakistan and the Saudis in Saudi Arabia. It is absolutely the worst possible thing we could do at this point. It would be to validate and encourage the terrorists by doing exactly what they want us to do.
  • Here's what I can tell you about Don Rumsfeld. You're never going to get any credit. And you'll only know how well you're doing if he gives you more work. If that happens, you're doing fine.
    • Quoted in Bob Woodward's, State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III, Simon & Schuster, 2006


  • This is an existential conflict. It is the kind of conflict that's going to drive our policy and our government for the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. We have to prevail and we have to have the stomach for the fight long term.
    • On Fox News Sunday responding to the opposition against sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq (January 14, 2007)
  • Wolf, you can come up with all kinds of what-ifs; you've got to deal with the reality on the ground. The reality on the ground is, we've made major progress. We've still got a lot of work to do. There's a lot of provinces in Iraq that are relatively quiet. There's more and more authority transferred to the Iraqis all the time.... Bottom line is that we've had enormous successes and we will continue to have enormous successes.
    • CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer responding to the question, How worried are you of the Iraqi government turning against the United States? (January 24, 2007)




  • Dick Cheney: I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.
    Chuck Todd: 25% of the detainees though, 25% turned out to be innocent. They were released.
    Dick Cheney: Where are you going to draw the line, Chuck? How are—
    Chuck Todd: Well, I'm asking you.
    Dick Cheney: —you going to know? [Overtalk]
    Chuck Todd: Is that too high? You're okay with that margin for error?
    Dick Cheney: I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.
    • Meet the Press (NBC), 14 December 2014 , quoted in Anthony Zurcher. "Cheney: 'No problem' with detaining innocents". BBC News. Retrieved on 2014-12-21. 
    • Asked about Gul Rahman, who was taken into CIA custody as a result of mistaken identity, and died from CIA abuse.


  • Hugh Hewitt: Is he naïve, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far-reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East that somehow it all works out in the end?
  • Dick Cheney: I don't know, Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I've heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama's doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we've ever had.
  • I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I wouldn't support a ban on all Muslims coming into this country.


There's something positive... when we can simultaneously swear in a new president and at the same time have a democratic process of people expressing their views. It's their right and we shouldn’t be surprised by it, or annoyed by it.
  • If we hadn't taken down Saddam, Gaddafi would not have surrendered his materials. Now Gaddafi's gone, dead, [and] ISIS plays a significant role today in Libya, [and] they would have inherited that material,” Cheney said. “So that whole area of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and so forth, everybody wants to say, ‘Well, there wasn’t any WMD in Iraq,’ but that's a small, small way to look at the problem.
  • [F]ascinating... significant movement... [P]art of the American tradition... There's something positive... when we can simultaneously swear in a new president and at the same time have a democratic process of people expressing their views. It's their right and we shouldn't be surprised by it, or annoyed by it.



In our nation’s 246 year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.

Quotes about Cheney[edit]

  • Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk was on the mark... in November 2002, he wrote, “Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 11 September. If the United States invades Iraq, we should remember that.” On many psychological levels, the Bush team was able to manipulate post-9/11 emotions well beyond the phantom of Iraqi involvement in that crime against humanity. The dramatic changes in political climate after 9/11 included a drastic upward spike in the attitude—fervently stoked by the likes of Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and the president—that our military should be willing to attack potential enemies before they might attack us. Few politicians or pundits were willing to confront the reality that this was a formula for perpetual war, and for the creation of vast numbers of new foes who would see a reciprocal logic in embracing such a credo themselves. President Bush’s national security adviser “felt the administration had little choice with Hussein,” reporter Bob Woodward recounted in mid-November 2002. A quote from Condoleezza Rice summed up the approach. “Take care of threats early.” Determining exactly what constitutes a threat—and how to “take care” of it—would be up to the eye of the beholder in the Oval Office.
  • You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. I don't believe he went in there for oil. We didn't go in there for imperialist or financial reasons. We went in there because he bought the Wolfowitz-Cheney analysis that the Iraqis would be better off, we could shake up the authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East, and our leverage to make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis would be increased.
  • President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have asserted the president's right to wield virtually unchecked power. They have used the tragedy of 9/11 to implement a radical political agenda, attempting to ram through a right-wing wish list, from gutting social security to delivering tax cuts to the rich, to discarding basic civil liberties. Our government now routinely invades the privacy of its own citizens, then pulls the cloak of national security over its operations to hide its deceptions and blunders from public view. The economy has been trashed, inequality is now at levels not seen since the Great Depression, and at least 5 million more Americans live in poverty than did at the start of the Bush presidency. Many eminent historians and economists are concluding that George W. Bush has earned the distinction of being the "worst president ever."
    • Amy Goodman Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008)
  • Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear who was setting the environmental agenda when he huddled behind closed doors with his former colleagues in the oil industry in early 2001 and virtually allowed them to write a new national energy policy to their liking. The result: the 2005 Energy Bill, which gave $16 billion in subsidies to the oil, gas, and coal industries, recommended opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural gas drilling, deregulated the electricity market, subsidized building new nuclear power plants, and dumbed down fuel economy standards for SUVs and light trucks.
    • Amy Goodman Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008)
  • What Liam Madden saw in Iraq quickly disabused him of the idea that Americans were being "greeted as liberators," as Vice President Dick Cheney blithely promised in 2003. "People in Iraq had eyes full of fear and hopelessness. It was obvious to me that we were not helping those people. Any help was for propaganda-'Look, we're slapping a coat of paint on a building!' It was not systemic help." He was sent to Fallujah a few months after U.S. forces attacked in retaliation for the killings of four employees of Blackwater, the American mercenary firm. "It was devastated. Just rubble."...In the course of our conversation, Madden stops to do a brief radio interview. He is asked his view of his commander in chief and of Vice President Cheney. "I personally believe they are war criminals," he says without hesitating. Sounding like a seasoned media professional, he is quick on his feet and forceful. "They committed a war of aggression. Certainly they should be impeached for trampling on the Constitution."
    • Amy Goodman Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008)
  • We shall never know many of the facts about the invasion [of Panama], nor shall we know the true extent of the massacre. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney claimed a death toll between five hundred and six hundred, but independent human rights groups estimated it at three thousand to five thousand, with another twenty-five thousand left homeless... Noriega was arrested, flown to Miami, and sentenced to forty years' imprisonment; at that time, he was the only person in the United States officially classified as a prisoner of war... The world was outraged by this breach of international law and by the needless destruction of a defenseless people at the hands of the most powerful military force on the planet, but few in the United States were aware of either the outrage or the crimes Washington had committed. Press coverage was very limited. A number of factors contributed to this, including government policy, White House phone calls to publishers and television executives, congress people who dared not object, lest the wimp factor become their problem, and journalists who thought the public needed heroes rather than objectivity.
  • Cheney and Rumsfeld were inveterate schemers whose cynicism about going to war was exceeded only by their ineptitude in conducting it.
  • Recognize that Dick Cheney is the most cynical political figure to hold high office in this country since his former boss Dick Nixon. And he is perfectly willing to say what he thinks will advance him, particularly in an election season. In 1994, he was, at least in his own mind, competing for the Republican nomination for President in 1996. In 2000 of course he was competing for the vice presidency. In both cases he needed to seem to be a mainstream and responsible figure. But the real Dick Cheney, the man who was secretary of defense in 1990 and produced a secret plan for invading Iraq and capturing Saddam Hussein that was ultimately rejected by Norman Schwarzkopf and others, I don't think ever relinquished his desire to take control of Iraq and its oil.
    • John Nichols, author of Dick: The Man Who is President, reconciling the perceived change of heart Cheney had over toppling Saddam after 9/11, CSNBC 8-18-07
  • One of the things that [his old professors at Yale] said is that back in 1960 he was a guy who was looking for simple ideas about the world, most of them rooting back to the idea of the United States being able to do whatever it wants without any consequences. I don't think Dick Cheney has changed at all, but I do think we often see different faces of him when he believes it is politically convenient.
    • John Nichols, author of Dick: The Man Who is President, reconciling the perceived change of heart Cheney had over toppling Saddam after 9/11, CSNBC 8-18-07
  • One week into the [Gulf] war, the public mood had become unsettled and the media was becoming critical. After the success of the first day and the excitement of watching cruise missiles strike with incredible accuracy, it looked from the outside as though the war was going nowhere. "Why isn't the war over?" people were asking. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and I realized we had to act to settle things down. The point of decision for us at that moment was not in our offices or in the situation rooms monitoring the war, but down in the press room. We called a press conference where Dick gave an excellent summary of the strategic and political situation, and then I covered the military campaign. I summarized our actions during the previous week, concluding with a few sharp words detailing our strategy to kick the Iraqi army out of Kuwait: "First we are going to cut it off," I told the assembled reporters, "and then we are going to kill it." My line was picked up by all the newspapers and all the radio and TV news shows. It did the trick. It told the people out there what they needed to know. Confidence about our war aims returned. And Dick and I could leave the front lines and get back to our offices.
    • Colin Powell, It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership (2012), p. 58
  • I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.
    • Donald Rumsfeld, at a hearing of the Senate's appropriations subcommittee on defense, May 14, 2003 [13]; Cheney asserted that Iraq had nuclear weapons March 16 of the same year on Meet the Press. On Sept 14 of that year, Cheney said the original statement was misstatement, and that he had meant to say "reconstituted nuclear weapons program".
  • As was documented in Josh Fox's excellent documentary Gasland, the chemicals injected into the ground pose serious health and environmental risks to drinking water, air quality, and wildlife. However, the full extent of the risk is not known, because the gas industry isn't required to disclose what chemicals are used, or in what quantities. If that complete lack of transparency sounds outrageous, it is. We have Dick Cheney to thank for the "Halliburton loophole," which exempts fracking companies from many of the disclosures normally required under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • The real anomaly in the administration is Cheney. I consider Cheney a good friend — I've known him for 30 years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore.
    • Brent Scowcroft [14]
  • As a general matter, the left's favorite three lines of attack are (1) you're stupid; (2) you're mean; (3) you're corrupt. Sarah Palin is supposedly stupid; Mitt Romney is supposedly mean; Dick Cheney is supposedly corrupt. Take away those lines of attack and watch the discomfort set in.
    • Ben Shapiro, How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them: 11 Rules for Winning the Argument, Sherman Oaks: David Horowitz Freedom Center, 16 April 2014 
  • Harry Whittington [clip]: My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this past week.
    Jon Stewart: Wow. How powerful a man do you have to be to able to shoot someone in the face and have that guy say, "My bad"?
    • Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart season 11 episode 26, 2006-02-21
    • regarding Vice President Dick Cheney shooting lawyer Harry Whittington while hunting quail
  • He became vice president well before George Bush picked him. And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush — personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum. [15]

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