He’s at it again on ABC tonight. Defending the use of waterboarding and advocating keeping Guantanamo open forever.
Transcript: Cheney Defends Hard Line Tactics
In Exclusive Interview With ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney Opens Up
About His Hard Line Tactics
Dec. 15, 2008—
JONATHAN KARL: So, when do you think we’ll be at a point where Guantanamo could be responsibly shut down?
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, I think that that would come with the end of the war on terror.
KARL: When’s that going to be?
CHENEY: Well, nobody knows. Nobody can specify that. Now, in previous wars, we’ve always exercised the right to capture the enemy and then hold them till the end of the conflict. That’s what we did in World War II with, you know, thousands, hundreds of thousands of German prisoners.
The same basic principle ought to apply here in terms of our right to capture the enemy and hold them. As I say, the other option is to turn them over to somebody else. A lot of them, nobody wants. I mean, there’s a great resistance sometimes in the home countries to taking these people back into their own territory.
KARL: But basically, it sounds like you’re talking about Guantanamo being a — it sounds like you’re saying Guantanamo Bay will be open indefinitely.
CHENEY: Well, a lot of people, including the president, expressed the view that they’d like to close Guantanamo. I think everybody can say we wished there were no necessity for Guantanamo.
But you have to be able to answer these other questions before you can do that responsibly. And that includes, what are you going to do with the prisoners held in Guantanamo? And nobody yet has solved that problem.
KARL: What’s the danger in doing this too soon, you know, just make this symbolic gesture to shut the place down?
CHENEY: Well, if you release people that shouldn’t have been released — and that’s happened in some cases already — you end up with them back on the battlefield.
And we’ve had, as I recall now — and these are rough numbers, I’d want to check them — but, say, approximately 30 of these folks have been held in Guantanamo, then released, and ended up back on the battlefield again, and we’ve encountered them a second time around. But they’ve either been killed or captured in further conflicts with our forces.
KARL: Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
CHENEY: I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency, in effect, came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.
KARL: In hindsight, do you think any of those tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others went too far?
CHENEY: I don’t.
KARL: And on KSM, one of those tactics, of course, widely reported was waterboarding. And that seems to be a tactic we no longer use. Even that you think was appropriate?
CHENEY: I do.