Cheney: Iraq Withdrawal Would Lead to Future Return Engagement

Vice President Dick Cheney warned that a Democrat-led troop withdrawal could condemn a future generation of American soldiers to return to the Iraqi battlefield.

In a Thursday evening speech in Manhattan that touched on tax cuts, energy, U.S. security and the conflict in Iraq, Cheney told more than 700 Republican donors that it was critical for Republicans to win Congress and retain the White House on Nov. 4.

"The stakes are very high," Cheney said at the New York Republican State Committee's annual dinner-fundraiser. "Whether the issue is the economy or energy or the federal courts or national security, the right answers for our nation are not coming from Democrats but from Republicans."

Alluding to those who support setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, Cheney said he told several thousand troops in Iraq two months ago that "We are going to get this job done right so that another generation of Americans doesn't have to go back and do it again."

Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama has said he would remove U.S. combat troops within 16 months of taking office. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she would begin a pullout within 60 days after becoming president. The Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, supports continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

The Democratic National Committee, asked to comment on Cheney's speech, said: "The Bush-Cheney-McCain propaganda machine was hard at work again tonight as Dick Cheney promised McCain's 100 years in Iraq and not the change of course Americans are looking for."

The upcoming election, Cheney told the crowd, presented fundamental questions about national security, particularly which party was "serious about fighting and winning the war on terror."

"Now that we've gone more than six and a half years without another 9/11 is no accident," he said, crediting law enforcement, the military, federal laws and President Bush.

Regarding energy, Cheney said more oil and gas should be produced in the country.

"The plain truth is we can get a lot more energy here in America and we can do it in an environmentally sound and friendly way," he said to applause during his nearly 20-minute speech. "Republicans believe more of the refining ought to be done right here in the United States by American refineries by American workers."

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York Republican Party Chairman Joseph N. Mondello, and State Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno also attended the fundraiser.