Cheney On Not Catching Bin-Laden: "We've Got A Few Days Left"
Pressed on some of the foreign policy missteps and shortcomings of the Bush administration, Dick Cheney, even with just days to go in his time in public office, pleaded for more time.
Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer why President Bush had been unable to "capture or kill [Osama] bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 al Qaeda leader," the vice president replied:
Well, we've got a few days left yet, Wolf.
He later expanded his answer, arguing that bin Laden's reclusion in the hills of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border had greatly limited his effectiveness as a terrorist leader.
"My guess is at this point he's operating in an area that's very difficult, very hard to get to, that he's not an effective leader at this stage," said Cheney. "He can't really engage his organization without coming out of whatever hole he's hiding in. And the key thing for us, even if we got bin Laden tomorrow, is to take down his organization. And that's what we've been actively doing."
The interview, one of many that the vice president has provided in the waning days in office, was largely a retrospective on the Bush years. And, in course, a number of contentious assessments of history were offered. Among them: Cheney insisted that the president did not base his decision to invade Iraq based on "any connection to 9/11" and argued that the CIA was responsible for the false notion that Iraq and al-Qaeda had an operational connection.