Dick Cheney

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Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States

Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney (born January 30, 1941) is the 46th Vice President of the United States, serving under the 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.


On the economy

  • You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.

On Don Rumsfeld

  • 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

On Guantanamo

  • 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.
  • It's a tougher program for tougher customers.
    • Talking about the administration's enhanced interrogations. [2]

On principle

  • Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose.
    • (During the 1976 US Presidential campaign.)[3]

On oil

  • 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.
    • Speech delivered at the Cato Institute, June 23, 1998 [4]
  • 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.
    • Speech delivered at the London Institute of Petroleum, 1999 [5]
  • Let us rid ourselves of the fiction that low oil prices are somehow good for the United States.
    • In October 1986, Cheney introduced legislation to create a new import tax that would have caused the price of oil to soar by billions of dollars per year. [6]

On Iraq

  • 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'd gone to Baghdad, we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of 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?... If you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. It's a quagmire if you go that far. 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 was 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 4-14-94 [10]
  • We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.
    • Cheney on NBC's Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 [11]
  • [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. [12] (March 16, 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. [13] (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. [14] (Sept. 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 [15]
  • 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.
  • 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. [17]
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Larry King Live. [20] (June 20, 2005)
  • We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. [21]
  • [In response to the question "Do you think that you underestimated the insurgency's strength?"] 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.
  • 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)
  • So?
    • ABC News interview with Martha Raddatz in Muscat, Oman, responding to her statement on the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion, "Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives." (March 19, 2008)

On Democrats

  • If the Democratic policies had been pursued over the last two or three years...we would not have had the kind of job growth we've had.
  • "Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell."
  • Go fuck yourself.
    • Said to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the Senate floor June 25, 2004 when talking about Halliburton. [24]
  • 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. September 1, 2004, - Video and text available.
  • 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.

On Same-Sex Marriage

  • "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."[26]


  • Instead of being the leader of an international coalition that came and reversed aggression, and restored civil order, if you will, in that part of the world, we shift and become the imperial power who's coming in willy-nilly, occupying national capitals, taking down governments that we disagree with, that we don't like.
    • on not pushing on to Baghdad during the first Gulf War; MSNBC interview during campaign August 2000
  • Everyone knows that you're not really a real man unless you own a gun.
  • Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam now has weapons of mass destruction.
    • 8/26/2002

About Cheney

  • I don't believe anyone that I know in the administration ever said that Iraq had nuclear weapons.
    • Rumsfeld, at a hearing of the Senate's appropriations subcommittee on defense, May 14, 2003 [27]; Cheney asserted that Iraq had nuclear weapons March 16 of the same year on Meet the Press
  • I've never stood that close to evil.
  • "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney"
    • Said by a man left homeless by Katrina, in Gulfport, Miss.
  • 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 my 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
  • 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 [28]
  • 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
  • Every once in a while, [Congress passes] a bill that restores my faith in the system. Like Wednesday’s Lieberman-Kyl Amendment, which passed by a 76-22 margin, and calls on President Bush to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. The President is prosecuting a War on Terror; this makes Iran the second front. But not everyone supports our troops enough to give them the job security a war with Iran would provide. People like Senator Jim Webb, who voted against the amendment, calling it ‘Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream’. Well, that is completely unfair. Everyone knows Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into the New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann’s skull.
  • Last October, White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, rejected claims that the White House eviscerated prepared congressional testimony by the Centers for Disease Control about the harmful effects of global warming on human health. Why is that an important political issue? Well, the Supreme Court has ruled that if carbon dioxide poses a health danger, it has to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Now, we know who in the White House decided to put carbon dioxide before humans ...: Dick Cheney. In a letter obtained by the AP, the former senior EPA adviser on climate change says Cheney's office was involved in killing nearly half the original CDC testimony so the CDC's health findings would not oblige the government to crackdown on carbon emissions.
    • MSNBC host Rachel Maddow; on Countdown's daily updating of the 50+ Bush scandals; July 8, 2008; [29]
  • This is the dysfunctions and motivations of the Bush administration laid bare.
    • U.S. Congressman ED MARKEY, on a Congressional report that reveals Vice President Dick Cheney's office tried to censor federal testimony on the dangers of global warming [30] [31]

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