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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 10:09 GMT
Excerpts: Cheney on Iraq critics
The following are excerpts from a speech made by US Vice-President Dick Cheney in which he attacked critics of the Bush administration's Iraq war policy.

US Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney has accused Iraq war critics of political expediency

In Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate.

But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

And the suggestion that's been made by some US senators that the president of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favour of authorising force against Saddam Hussein.

These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.

They arrived at the same judgement about Iraq's capabilities and intentions that was made by this administration and by the previous administration.

There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat... that he had violated UN Security Council resolutions... and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn't afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programmes, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror and who had committed mass murder.

The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out.

Those are facts. What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war.

American soldiers and marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures - conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers - and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The president and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone - but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we're going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.

We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us.

They and their families can be certain: that this cause is right... and the performance of our military has been brave and honourable... and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.



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