- Nov 22, 2003
Cheney slams Iraq plan advocated by Dems
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent 49 minutes ago
Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday harshly criticized Democrats' attempts to thwart President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, saying their approach would "validate the al-Qaida strategy." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) fired back that Cheney was questioning critics' patriotism.
"I hope the president will repudiate and distance himself from the vice president's remarks," Pelosi said. She said she tried to complain about Cheney to President Bush but could not reach him.
"You cannot say as the president of the United States, 'I welcome disagreement in a time of war,' and then have the vice president of the United States go out of the country and mischaracterize a position of the speaker of the House and in a manner that says that person in that position of authority is acting against the national security of our country," the speaker said.
The quarrel began in Tokyo, where Cheney used an interview to criticize Pelosi and Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., over their plan to place restrictions on Bush's request for an additional $93 billion for the Iraq war to make it difficult or impossible to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq.
"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we will do is validate the al-Qaida strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The al-Qaida strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."
In the interview, Cheney also said Britain's plans to withdraw about 1,600 troops from Iraq while the United States adds more troops was a positive step. "I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well," the vice president said.
Pelosi, at a news conference in San Francisco, said Cheney's criticism of Democrats was "beneath the dignity of the debate we're engaged in and a disservice to our men and women in uniform, whom we all support."