'This Week': Dick Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks with ABC News' Jonathan Karl on the crisis in Iraq.
9:43 | 06/22/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Dick Cheney
Thank you, Martha. To join us to talk about this, former vice president dick Cheney. With his daughter Liz, launched a new group, the alliance for a strong America. Thank you for joining us. Good morning, Jon. You made a big splash this week with an op ed in "The wall Street journal." Harsh criticism of the president. What I didn't read in the op ed is your solution, your plan right now for Iraq? What would you be doing? Well, first of all, Jon, I would recognize that Iraq is not the whole problem. We have a much bigger problem than just the current crisis in Iraq. The Rand corporation out there last week with a report that showed that there's been a 58% increase in the number of groups like Al Qaeda. Jihadists. It stretches from west Africa, across north Africa. East Africa. Through the middle east. All the way around Indonesia. A doubling of the number of terrorists out there. We have to recognize we have a hell of a problem. I worry about Pakistan. A couple of weeks ago, the Taliban, the same group that we just released five of the leaders of from guantanamo, they raided karachi airport. Why do I care about that? Well, Pakistan is unique in that it has a significant inventory of nuclear weapons. We have evidence that the man that built the Pakistani program, khan, offered recently that officials were bribed for technology in enriching uranium. That the north Koreans now have some,000 centrifuges operating. We had North Korea try to provide Syria with a nuclear reactor. The difficulty -- the spread of the terrorist groups are not recognized by the administration. The proliferation of nuclear capability and the possibility that it could fall in the hands of thrifts is nerrorists is not having addressed. I think we need a broad strategy that lets us address the full range of the issues. Let me ask you specifically on Iraq. That's the crisis confronting us at this moment. Would you take air strikes? Would you move special forces in? What would you do in Iraq? Well, what we should have done in Iraq was leave -- No, no, what would you do now? What I would do now, Jon, is among other things, be realistic about the nature of the threat. We're arguing over 300 advisers when the request had been for 20,000 in order to do the job right, I'm not sure we have addressed the problem. I would definitely be helping the resistance in Syria. In Isis' backyard with training and weapons in order to be able to do a more effective job on that end of the party. At this point, there are no good, easy answers. I think it is important to emphasize. The problem we're faced with is a much broader one. We need an administration to recognize the fact that we have got this huge problem. Quit peddling the notion that they got core Al Qaeda and therefore there's though problem out there. We have to build trust in the relationship with the friends in the region. It's important to take a broad gauge approach to it. You wrote, rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. A lot of your critics, left and right, say you're the one that has over and over again been wrong on Iraq and they point to statements like these. Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of changes. We will be greeted as liberators. I think they're in the last throws of the insurgency. Rand Paul pointed to things like that in the Wall Street journal, many of those clamoring for military action now are the same people who made every false assumption imaginable to -- about the cost, the challenge, and purpose of the Iraq war. They have been so wrong for so long. Why should we listen to them again? With all due respect, Jon, I was a strong supporter then of going into Iraq. I'm a strong supporter now. Everybody knows my position. We spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we're going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face. Rand Paul, with all due respect, is an isolationist. He doesn't believe we should be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential. One of the things I worried about 12 years ago and that I worry about today, there will be another 9/11 attack. And that the next time, it will be with weapons far deadlier than airplane tickets and box cutters. We have a situation in Pakistan, where there are nuclear weapons, where that technology was supposedly sold to the north Koreans. The same time the president announces the complete withdrawal from Pakistan, right next door, that we're missing the boat. We don't understand the nature of the threat. We're not willing to deal with it. You have a broader critique that you're making now of the president's foreign policy. You write president Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch. In this op ed, you suggest the president is a fool. That is the word you used. Only a fool would take the approach he's taking in Iraq right now. It almost seems like you're accusing the president of treason, that he's intentionally bringing America down a notch. My reference didn't refer just to Iraq. It referred to the fact that we have left a big vacuum in the middle east by our withdrawal from Iraq with no stay-behind agreement. By the commitment he made juts a couple of weeks ago, that we're going completely withdraw from afghanist Afghanistan, with no stay-behind agreement. We create a vacuum. It's been filled by sisi from Syria. By their attempt to take over all of Iraq. It's being filled by places like Pakistan where the Taliban have just launched major attack on the karachi airport. The scope of the problem is based upon, in part, an unwillingness by the president to recognize we have a problem. They're still living back in the day with they claim, we got bin laden. Terrorism solved. That was not true then, it is not true today. The problem is bigger than it's ever been. We need to dramatically reverse course on our defense budget. We're decimating the defense budget. Not Al Qaeda. We need to go back to a two-war strategy. Not the one-war strategy he has in place. We have 40 brigades in the United States army. Only four are combat ready. He's dramatically limited the capability of future presidents to deal with crises by virtue of the policies he's taking. I don't intend disrespect to the president. I disagree with him fundamentally. I think he's dead wrong. I think we're in for big trouble in the years ahead because of his refusal to recognize reality and because of his emphasis on getting the U.S. Basically to withdraw from that part of the world. On virtually everything you just mentioned, you seem to have a debate within your own party. Rand Paul, many see as the front-runner for the nomination. In 2016 for the republicans. Given where he stands, could you support a republican nominee, Rand Paul, for president? I haven't picked a nominee yet. One of the things that is right at the top of my list is whether or not the individual we nominate believes in a strong America, believes in a situation where the United States is able to provide the leadership in the world basically to maintain the peace and to take on the Al Qaeda types, wherever they show up. Rand Paul, and by my standards, as I look at his philosophy, is basically an isolationist. That didn't work in the 1930s. It sure as heck won't work in the aftermath of 9/11 when 19 guys with airline tickets and box cutters came all the way from Afghanistan and killed,000 of our citizens. We're just about out of time. I want to ask you about something you told me in 2008. Just after president-elect Obama said he would make mcmchhillary Clinton his secretary of state. I think it's a pretty good team. While I would not have hired senator Clinton, I think she's tough. She's smart. She works very hard. And she may turn out to be just what -- president Obama needs. So, my question, were you right or were you wrong? Did Hillary Clinton turn out to be just what president Obama needed? Well, I was impressed with secretary Clinton in terms of her potential going in. The problem was, was working for a president that has a fundamentally different philosophy. We believed, had a national consensus, the world works best when America is strong and is prepared to use that strength when necessary. She has not operated in that environment. I think she's been a disappointment with respect to things like benghazi and other problems that have arisen while she was secretary. Vice president dick Cheney, former vice president. Joining us from Jackson hole, Wyoming, thank you very much. You bet, Jon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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