Supporting War but Opposing Troop Surge Is Inconsistent, Cheney Says

By Kevin Mooney | July 7, 2008 | 8:32pm EDT

( - Lawmakers who claim to support the war on terror but oppose the troop "surge" in Baghdad must come to terms with the "inconvenient truth" that America's enemies are using Iraq as the "primary front" in their campaign, Vice President Richard Cheney said Thursday night

An enemy victory in Iraq would result in greater violence and instability throughout the region, Cheney told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday evening.

It is therefore vitally important, he said, for members of Congress in both houses to support legislation that will provide troops with emergency funding.

"If you support the war on terror then it only makes sense to support it where terrorists are fighting us," Cheney argued.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are currently engaged in joint operations in nine areas of Baghdad targeting terrorists, criminals and "roaming death squads," he said.

Securing Baghdad is a necessary prerequisite for the emergence of a democratic Iraq, one that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its citizens, and is an ally in the war against terrorism, he said.

Cheney also criticized lawmakers in both houses who supported resolutions opposing President Bush's troop surge plan.

He was particularly critical of senators who he said appeared to be trying to have it both ways - on the one hand voting to confirm General David Petraeus, but then voting against the reinforcements that the new head of the Multinational Force Iraq says are necessary for success. Petraeus was confirmed by an 81-0 Senate vote in January.

"Every statement we make has multiple audiences," Cheney said. "Our troops, the American people, the enemy, the Iraqi people, friendly and hostile governments - all wonder about America's commitment."

The vice president urged future congressional debates to focus on "winning in Iraq" as opposed to "posturing on Capitol Hill."

The vice president also spoke about the economy, saying that despite inheriting a recession, enduring terrorist attacks and corporate scandals, the Bush administration recharged the economy by securing "historic pro-growth legislation" in the form of across the board tax cuts.

Over the last five years the U.S. has benefited from uninterrupted economic growth of low inflation and low unemployment, he said.

"We've disproved the biggest, most persistent fallacy in Washington, D.C.," Cheney told the gathering. "That's the idea that pro-growth tax cuts are inconsistent with fiscal responsibility. The fact is that pro-growth tax cuts have helped drive expansion and generated higher than projected revenues."

Cheney also invoked the late Milton Friedman, a noted economist who made the point that most economic fallacies stem from the idea of a fixed pie.

"We've shown the pie can be a lot bigger and the gains widely shared, Cheney said.

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

MRC Store