'This Week' Transcript: Former Vice President Dick Cheney

KARL: Well -- well...

CHENEY: And what the administration was slow to do was to come to that -- that recognition that we are at war, not dealing with criminal acts. And as I say, my response there dealt specifically to the fact the president called it an isolated extremist. It was not.

KARL: Well, I want to get to that notion of treating this as a law enforcement action, but what the administration will say is, look at what they have done, 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, doubling, tripling, and maybe even more the drone attacks on the tribal areas in Pakistan on Al Qaida targets. They say that they are actually dedicating more resources to the fight against Al Qaida than you were.

CHENEY: Well, I -- you know, I'm a complete supporter of what they're doing in Afghanistan. I think the president made the right decision to send troops into Afghanistan. I thought it took him a while to get there.

Having Stan McChrystal now in charge in Afghanistan I think is an excellent choice. General McChrystal's one of the most able officers I know. I'm glad they're doing what they're doing in Afghanistan. I'm not a critic of what they're doing, in terms of how they're dealing with that situation.

But I do see repeatedly examples that there are key members in the administration, like Eric Holder, for example, the attorney general, who still insists on thinking of terror attacks against the United States as criminal acts as opposed to acts of war, and that's a -- that's a huge distinction.

KARL: OK, before we get to Eric Holder, a couple more things from the vice president. He's been out responding preemptively to you. One thing he said we heard in the open, that he believes Iraq may ultimately prove to be one of the greatest achievements of the Obama administration.

CHENEY: Well, I -- I guess I shouldn't be surprised by my friend, Joe Biden. I'm glad he now believes Iraq is a success. Of course, Obiden and -- Obama and Biden campaigned from one end of the country to the other for two years criticizing our Iraq policy.

CHENEY: They opposed the surge that was absolutely crucial to our getting to the point we're at now with respect to Iraq. And for them to try to take credit for what's happened in Iraq strikes me as a little strange. I think if -- if they had had their way, if we'd followed the policies they'd pursued from the outset or advocated from the outset, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad today.

So if they're going to take credit for it, fair enough, for what they've done while they're there, but it ought to go with a healthy dose of "Thank you, George Bush" up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations, with respect to prosecuting that war, we're just dead wrong.

KARL: Well, in fact, Vice President Biden says that he believes that the war in Iraq was not worth it. What do you say to that? I mean, given the resources that were drawn away from the -- what you could argue is the central front in Afghanistan, Pakistan, is he right about that?

CHENEY: No. I -- I believe very deeply in the proposition that what we did in Iraq was the right thing to do. It was hard to do. It took a long time. There were significant costs involved.

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