Sunday 18 March 2018

I said we should bomb Syria -- Cheney

Toby Harnden in Washington

DICK Cheney urged President George W Bush to bomb Syria in 2007, a new autobiography reveals.

In an interview, the former US vice-president predicted that when the book is published next week "there are going to be heads exploding all over Washington". In 'In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir', Mr Cheney writes that he called for military action against Syria in 2007, adding: "But I was a lone voice."

He told NBC that he had "no regrets" over the controversial waterboarding of terrorist detainees. He also claimed that he did not know why Mr Bush should feel betrayed by insider information that he discloses in the memoirs.

Although he praises the former president as "an outstanding leader", Mr Cheney discloses a number of rifts within Mr Bush's circle. Colin Powell, Mr Bush's first secretary of state, is criticised for his doubts over the Iraq war, while Condoleezza Rice is branded naive.

Mr Cheney says he often fought with White House advisers over softening the president's speeches on Iraq and says he sees no need to apologise over the claims that led to Mr Bush's 2003 justification for war.

The book starts with Mr Cheney's account of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when he led the government's response from a bunker beneath the White House while Mr Bush was in Florida.

"I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president," he writes. "We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute -- as George W Bush was." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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