Dick Cheney was on Fox News Sunday this morning. As usual, he had much to say that was of interest. You can imagine what he thinks of Eric Holder’s decision to re-investigate the CIA. What was most newsworthy, however, was this exchange in which Cheney seems to make clear that he advocated taking out Iran’s nuclear capability:
WALLACE: There’s a question I’ve wanted to ask you for some period of time. Why didn’t your administration take out the Iranian nuclear program?
Given what a threat I know you believe it was, given the fact that you knew that Barack Obama favored not only diplomatic engagement, but actually sitting down with the Iranians, why would you leave it to him to make this decision?
CHENEY: It wasn’t my decision to make.
WALLACE: Would you have favored military action?
CHENEY: I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues.
WALLACE: Do you think that it was a mistake while you were in power, while your administration was in power, not to go after the nuclear infrastructure of Iran?
CHENEY: I can’t say that yet. We don’t know how it’s ultimately going to come out. WALLACE: But you don’t…
CHENEY: At the time…
WALLACE: You don’t get the choice to make it 20/20 hindsight. In 2007-2008, was it a mistake not to take out their program?
CHENEY: I think it was very important that the military option be on the table. I thought that negotiations couldn’t possibly succeed unless the Iranians really believed we were prepared to use military force.
And to date, of course, they’re still proceeding with their nuclear program and the matter has not yet been resolved. We can speculate about what might have happened if we’d followed a different course of action.
As I say, I was an advocate of a more robust policy than any of my colleagues. But I didn’t make the decision.
WALLACE: Including the president.
CHENEY: The president made the decision, and obviously we pursued the diplomatic avenues.
WALLACE: Do you think it was a mistake to let the opportunity, when you guys were in power, go, knowing that here was Barack Obama and he was going to take a much different…
CHENEY: I’m going to — if I address that, I’ll address it in my book, Chris.
WALLACE: It’s going to be a hell of a book.
CHENEY: It’s going to be a great book.
It is, indeed.
At the time, it seemed to me that we had our hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan and military conflict with Iran was not a serious possibility. It will be interesting to see how Cheney rebuts that premise.