Former US vice president Dick Cheney has defended the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, criticizing President Barack Obama for the current crisis in Iraq.
“I was a strong advocate of going into Iraq,” Cheney said in an interview with PBS on Tuesday. “I think that was the right decision then, and I still believe that today.”
“I think we did what we had to do,” he said. “And you don’t get to go back and say, well, we would have—what if we’d ignored all the intelligence?”
Cheney also noted that President Obama should have more forcefully pushed to keep American troops in Iraq after 2011.
“For me, the bottom line was, when we left office, Iraq was in good shape,” he said. “And now we’re in a situation where obviously we’ve got another big problem.”
Cheney also called on Obama to halt the planned withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
“I would stop talking about withdrawing from Afghanistan,” Cheney said. “We ought to stay in Afghanistan. We shouldn’t be scaling back.”
The architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq says it is absolutely essential for the United States to remain involved in the Middle East.
In an earlier interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, Cheney expressed no regret when the host reminded him of his 2003 remarks that the US military forces would be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq.
“I was a strong supporter then of going into Iraq,” Cheney said. “I’m a strong supporter now. Everybody knows what my position is. There’s nothing to be argued about there.”
In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq in blatant violation of international law and under the pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction allegedly stockpiled by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
A War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia in 2011 found former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of war crimes for their roles in the Iraq war.
The tribunal judges also stated that the US, under the leadership of Bush, fabricated documents to make it appear that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
However, the world later learned that the former Iraqi regime did not possess WMDs and that the US and British leaders knew this all along.