Former Vice President Dick Cheney has saluted Barack Obama over the drone attacks that killed two American citizens on Friday, but at the same time is asking the current commander-in-chief to say he’s sorry to the Bush administration.
Speaking on the CNN program State of the Union this week, Cheney offered his support for the drone strike that killed al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen last week, but said that Obama owes him and George W Bush some explaining over comments he made in Egypt more than two years ago.
Speaking in Cairo in 2009, President Barack Obama condemned the Bush administration for “overreacting to the events of 9/11” and at the time called for a ban on torture, particularly signaling out the conditions at Guantanamo Bay. Two years after the fact, Cheney tells CNN, “We were never torturing anyone in the first place,” and that he expects Obama to say he’s sorry.
On the contrary, a statement from White House deputy spokesman Tony Fratto back in 2008 acknowledged that the Bush administration did in fact encourage counterterrorism agents to use waterboarding in order to gain intelligence following September 11. At the time Fratto said that the issue of waterboarding “was brought before the Department of Justice and they made a determination that its use under specific circumstances and with safeguards was lawful.”
Earlier this year, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense under President George W Bush, said that waterboarding did not help obtain information used in the capture and assassination of Osama bin Laden, arguably the greatest hallmark so far of the War on Terror.
“The thing I’m waiting for is for the administration to go back and correct something they said two years ago when they criticized us for ‘overreacting’ to the events of 9/11,” Cheney tells CNN. “They, in effect, said that we had walked away from our ideals, or taken policies contrary to our ideals when we had enhanced interrogation techniques.”
In regards to Friday’s drone strike that killed al-Qaeda affiliated (and American born) Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, Cheney said that Obama has “moved in the direction of taking robust action when they feel it is justified,” but suggested that the president think about what he said about Bush’s “overreacting” in the aftermath of September 11. “I think they need to go back and reconsider what the president said when he was in Cairo,” added Cheney.
“I agree with the attacks. But don’t get wrapped up in your underwear then trying to go back and validate the foolish things said in their campaign,” adds the former VP.
“If you’ve got the president of the United States out there saying we overreacted to 9/11 on our watch, that’s not good,” said Cheney.
When CNN host Candy Crowley asked Cheney if he expected an apology from the president, he responded, “Well, I would. I think that would be not for me, but I think for the Bush administration, and that he misspoke when he gave that speech in Cairo two years ago.”
Similarly, Cheney’s daughter Liz has the same expectations, and adds that Obama “did tremendous damage.”
“I think he slandered the nation and I think he owes an apology to the American people,” adds his daughter.