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Joe Biden says Cheney ‘dead wrong’ on security

Joe Biden says Cheney ‘dead wrong’ on security

Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 8:01 pm
By: AP

 WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday his predecessor, Dick Cheney, is “dead wrong” when he says President Obama’s national security policies are making the United States less safe.

Biden said the exact opposite is true and added that President George W. Bush’s vice president was part of a dysfunctional decision-making system.

“I don’t think he is out of line, but he is dead wrong. … The last administration left us in a weaker posture than we’ve been any time since World War II: less regarded in the world, stretched more thinly than we ever have been in the past, two wars under way, virtually no respect in entire parts of the world,” Biden said. “And so we’ve been about the business of repairing and strengthening those. I guarantee you we are safer today, our interests are more secure today than they were any time during the eight years” of the Bush administration.

Since becoming president, Obama has ordered the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and banned certain interrogation methods for suspected terrorists.

Cheney last month said the Bush administration programs involving suspected terrorists were critically important and overturning them had made the country less safe.

“I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11,” Cheney said.

“I think that’s a great success story. It was done legally. It was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles,” he said. “President Obama campaigned against it all across the country. And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack,” Cheney said.

Biden said he and Obama are working to repair the United States’ reputation, which was damaged abroad by the unpopular 2003 invasion of Iraq. He also said Obama’s team is working together, unlike Bush’s.

“Look, everybody talks about how powerful Cheney was,” Biden said. “His power weakened America, in my view. Here’s what I mean by that. What I mean by that was, there was a divided government.”

He said Cheney had his own sort of national security council and there was the actual National Security Council.

“There was (Secretary of State Colin) Powell, who didn’t agree with Cheney,” Biden said, “and Cheney off with (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld.”

Biden promoted Obama’s administration as more conducive to better decision making.

“The strength of this administration is that the president and I work in concert. I am very straightforward in my views. I am as strong — I hold them as strongly as I ever have.”

But he said those decisions are made with one National Security Council, “a united national security team.”

Biden was interviewed on CNN’s “The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.”

Published in The Messenger 4.08.09