FULL INTERVIEW: Vice President Dick Cheney

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't know how long it's going to take. I do know we have to get it done. And if it takes a long time, that doesn't make it any less worthwhile. This has been a hard-fought, difficult, challenging thing for us to do, when you think about what we've done here. We've gone in and toppled one of the world's worst dictators, liberated 25 million people, helped them hold three national elections and write a constitution. They've been through some very difficult times themselves, but we kept at it, because it's the right thing to do. And when we needed to make a major decision, as the President did a year ago January, he made that decision and committed more troops. When we needed to modify our strategy to win on the ground from a security standpoint, we did it. And General Petraeus, his forces performed magnificently with a new counterinsurgency doctrine. He could have quit two years ago, and today Iraq would be chaos; al Qaeda would control large swaths of the country; it probably would be a safe haven for terrorists; certainly it would have been a much worse situation from the standpoint of the Iraqi people.

It's hard to go into a country that has never experienced democracy and expect to be able to flip a switch and have it turn overnight. But it is turning. They do have a democracy today. They have basic --

RADDATZ: Two-thirds of Americans say it was not worth fighting.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: They ought to go spend time, like you and I have, Martha. You know what's been happening in Iraq. You've been there as much as anybody. There has, in fact, been fundamental change and transformation, and improvement for the better. I think even you would admit that.

RADDATZ: Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.


RADDATZ: So -- you don't care what the American people think?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there. And this President has been very courageous, very consistent, very determined to continue down the course we were on and to achieve our objective. And that's victory in Iraq, that's the establishment of a democracy where there's never been a democracy, it's the establishment of a regime that respects the rights and liberties of their people, as an ally for the United States in the war against terror, and as a positive force for change in the Middle East. That's a huge accomplishment.

RADDATZ: Are you certain of victory?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You can't, say -- get up some morning and say, gee, the polls are critical of what we're doing, and quit. It doesn't work that way.

RADDATZ: Are you certain of victory?


RADDATZ: And what makes you so certain?

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