Cheney: "We will ... succeed at getting a democracy established in Iraq. And I think, when we do, that will be the end of the insurgency."
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Just last month, Vice President Dick Cheney said the Iraqi insurgency was in its final throes. But the Pentagon now says the insurgency is as strong as it's ever been.
Is the Bush administration portraying a realistic view of what's going on in Iraq? CNN's Wolf Blitzer sat down with the vice president Thursday and asked for his assessment on the war.
Here's an excerpt of Wolf's exclusive interview with Cheney.
WOLF BLITZER: Mr. vice president, I know you're a busy man. Thanks very much for joining us.
DICK CHENEY: It's good to see you again, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's talk about some controversial comments you recently made suggesting the insurgents in Iraq were in, your words, in their "last throes." Do you want to revise or amend those comments?
CHENEY: No, but I'd be happy to explain what I meant by that. If you go back over a year ago, we intercepted a message from Zarqawi, the top terrorist in Iraq, sent to Osama bin Laden. And it basically said that, if the Iraqis were successful in establishing a democracy in Iraq -- standing up a viable government -- that he'd have to pack his bags and go elsewhere. And he was obviously very concerned about that possibility.
And what's happened since then, of course, is that we've had considerable success. We've transferred sovereign authority about a year ago, held elections in January. [The] first free elections in Iraq in a very long time. We've set up an interim government. There's a constitutional process in place now. ...
Later this year, there'll be a referendum on the constitution, and then national elections ... at the end of the year in the fall. So the political process is ... making significant progress.
At the same time, we're making progress, in terms of training up Iraqi security forces. I think the months immediately ahead will be difficult months. I think there will be a lot of violence, a lot of bloodshed, because I think the terrorists will do everything they can to try to disrupt that process and that flow that's well underway.
But I think it is well under way. I think it is going to be accomplished, [and] that we will, in fact, succeed at getting a democracy established in Iraq. And I think, when we do, that will be the end of the insurgency.
BLITZER: The commander of the U.S. Military Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid has been testifying on Capitol Hill.
BLITZER: He says that the insurgency now is at a strength undiminished as it was six months ago, and he says there are actually more foreign fighters in Iraq now than there were six months ago. That doesn't sound like the last throes.
CHENEY: No, I would disagree. If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period -- the throes of a revolution. The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand if we're successful at accomplishing our objective, standing up a democracy in Iraq, that that's a huge defeat for them. They'll do everything they can to stop it.
When you look back at World War II, the toughest battle, at the most difficult battles, both in Europe and in the Pacific, occurred just a few months before the end, the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944 and Okinawa in the spring of 1945. And I see this as a similar situation, where they're going to go all out.
They'll do everything they can to disrupt that process, but I think we're strong enough to defeat them. And I think the process itself of establishing a democracy and a viable security force for the Iraqis will, in fact, signal the end, if you will, for the terrorists inside Iraq.
|© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.