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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 04:27 GMT 05:27 UK
Cheney bullish over Iraq war
By Ian Pannell
BBC correspondent in Washington

Dick Cheney
Cheney was cheerleader general for the war
US Vice President Dick Cheney has launched a fierce defence of the decision to go to war in Iraq.

Mr Cheney said it would have been extremely irresponsible to ignore the threat the country posed.

He and the Bush administration are facing growing criticism over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.

Their critics accuse them of overstating the case for war.

Dropped letters

Mr Cheney was the cheerleader general in the months leading up to war.

In countless speeches and interviews he was also the most emphatic about the imminent threat from chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons.

The difficulties faced in administering post-war Iraq have led to growing questions about how the US got into this position.

Opposition politicians accuse the vice president and the administration of exaggerating the case for war and knowingly using false information to support their case.

Now Mr Cheney has launched a typically defiant response, saying the intelligence assessment of the threat from Iraq left no other choice.

Despite the staunch defense, there has been a noticeable change of language in Washington.

With no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the administration now points to mass graves as justification for the war and President George W Bush has also dropped the letters WMD from his speeches.

He talks instead of illegal weapons.




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