FULL INTERVIEW: Vice President Dick Cheney

RADDATZ: What about something, when you look back, about shutting down a production line for two weeks and getting those armored vehicles more quickly -- that type of sacrifice, putting the country behind it, and saying, look, we've got to get armored vehicles, and we've got to get them over there fast. I mean, we were building, what, a ship a day in World War II, and yet it took so long for armored vehicles?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not familiar with the details of the armored vehicle process. We've only got so many companies that can build that sort of thing. And I think they moved rapidly to develop them once they decided that's what they needed.

RADDATZ: Tell me whether you imagined at this point five years later whether there would be 4,000 lives lost; whether it would last this long?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't have any way five years ago -- we didn't have any way five years ago to estimate what the final cost would be. We knew it would be difficult. I think it's gone on -- insurgency lasted longer than I would have anticipated.

RADDATZ: And certainly you predicted.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Anyone predicted. I think that's true of most of our people who looked at it. One of the areas that I think where we underestimated the difficulty was the extent to which the Iraqi population had been hammered by Saddam Hussein, and by the aftermath of the Gulf War in '91. He came back in and reasserted control, especially over the Shia areas. I think he ruled with such a heavy hand that it's taken the Iraqis themselves longer to recover from that experience. Everybody who had been willing to stand up and be counted had seen their lives put at risk in earlier times, and recovering from that period of intense and brutal rule I think has taken longer, in terms of getting the political system up and running and functional.

So there are things like that. That's always true, though, in any major enterprise or conflict like this; once it starts, you cannot predict with precision exactly what course it's going to follow. You can talk about the end objective, and have a high degree of confidence you're going to get there.

RADDATZ: Do you think we could have predicted a little better?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not sure how. I think, certainly there were intelligence problems. Look at the WMD report out of the intelligence community on weapons of mass destruction.

RADDATZ: We'd better switch to Iran then, quickly. You're in the region. Iran is a major focus. I want to first ask you about Admiral Fallon resigning. Did he still have the President's confidence when he resigned?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: He made the decision to resign, and he's explained it, as has Bob Gates.

RADDATZ: He said, I believe, that it wasn't helpful in facing Iran to have comments about military action. You've certainly ratcheted up the rhetoric about Iran.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I've been pretty consistent over time about Iran. I don't think I've ratcheted up the rhetoric. I felt strongly for a long time, and a lot of us have, that Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

RADDATZ: Were Admiral Fallon's comments helpful or hurtful?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to get into it. The Admiral had many years of distinguished service in the United States Navy, a number of American commands at very important posts around the world. I think he deserves our thanks for his service, and our best wishes now that he moves on to private life.

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