Thursday, Dec 18, 2008
Vice President Dick Cheney offered a sweeping defense Wednesday of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism and its use of aggressive interrogation techniques, declaring “it would have been unethical or immoral for us not to do everything we could in order to protect the nation.”
In an interview with The Washington Times inside his West Wing office, Mr. Cheney also acknowledged the unusually powerful role he has played as vice president on everything from the war in Iraq to helping approve interrogation methods — that some regarded as torture and that ultimately would be used for 33 high-value detainees.
“I do believe that the vice presidency has been a consequential office, if I can put it in those terms, in this administration. But that’s first and foremost because that’s what the president wanted,” he said.
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During a wide-ranging, 38-minute conversation — his first with print reporters since September — the vice president suggested that President Bush’s popularity and place in history likely would grow during the next 20 to 30 years, much like that of one of Mr. Cheney’s earlier bosses, Gerald R. Ford.
And on a day when Chrysler Corp. dramatically shuttered its plants for a month to stave off bankruptcy, Mr. Cheney cautioned against the government becoming too involved in solving automakers’ problems, even if the administration provides some short-term loans to keep them financially afloat.
“There may well be some steps that need to be taken with respect to improving the industry, but at the same time that I look at that, I’m reluctant to see. Well, let me restate that, I’m cautious about suggesting that government somehow has all the answers here,” he said.
“In the end, it really depends upon the board of directors and the management of the company. They’re really the only ones who can guarantee long-term viability.”
The often-reserved Mr. Cheney, who will end four decades of public service in Washington when he leaves office Jan. 20, appeared relaxed as he reflected on his career and offered a few personal insights.
This article was posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm