Dick Cheney enters the 'No Spin Zone'

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 28, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight. The first appearance of former Vice President Dick Cheney in the No Spin Zone we have two segments with Mr. Cheney this evening. The second one will deal with his new book called "Heart: an American Medical Odyssey" about his stunning recovery from a heart transplant, a heart disease.

But our first segment deals with Iraq and Afghanistan and some facts. Iraq, Americans killed in that country, more than 4,000; wounded more than 30,000. Iraq war which lasted eight and a half years cost nearly a $1 trillion.

Afghanistan: Americans, KIA 1,782; U.S. troops wounded close to 20,000. Cost of the war about three quarters of a trillion dollars so far. It is expected most U.S. forces will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Here now one of the chief architects of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns is Dick Cheney. Let's take Iraq first.


O'REILLY: Big trouble there now.

CHENEY: Yes there is, unfortunately. And I'm very concerned about what I see it would appear the level of violence has escalated significantly. The surge that the President Bush put in place in '07 and '08 was very successful reducing the level of violence, getting the Sunnis to buy in the reawakening if you will in al Anbar province.

But here was never the follow-on agreement negotiated which was always the intent and which we thought we had set up at the end but the Obama administration didn't pursue it.

O'REILLY: And they didn't pursue it because the Iraq authorities wouldn't indemnify Americans. They wouldn't give them -- they wanted to try them themselves if any misbehavior or accusations I think that's what the deal fell apart.

CHENEY: Well but it's -- we have that debate in every country where we can negotiate at those agreements. And we've got them all over the world so it was a question of sovereignty. We always insist on retaining jurisdiction of our people.

O'REILLY: Absolutely as we should.

CHENEY: As we should and that's exactly what we did in this case. It takes some persistence, you have got to stick with it but they never stuck with it. They just walked away from it.

O'REILLY: All right so you feel that they could have gotten a deal about the indemnification.

CHENEY: I believe indeed they could have and the stay-behind force isn't a combat force similar to what we had before but it's there for training and it's there to provide capability they don't have -- logistics, intelligence, medical.

O'REILLY: All right so you think that the Obama administration wanted out of there and the hell with it.

CHENEY: Exactly.

O'REILLY: All right.

CHENEY: And we're paying the price now. The Iraqis are paying the price now.

O'REILLY: What -- what do we get out of Iraq though. I mean as Americans we're all in this together. We're all in this together it's easy to finger point. They finger pointed you and Bush and I don't want to do that. But we spent a $1 trillion on this with a lot of pain and suffering on the American military. What did we get out of it? Beside Saddam being out of there?

CHENEY: Yes but remember what we were faced with in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. We had a lot of evidence. They indicate that in fact al Qaeda was trying to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. We had in Saddam Hussein a guy who had produced and used weapons of mass destruction.

O'REILLY: Ok all of that and I supported -- I you know, and I don't - - I don't blame you, you, Vice President Cheney or President Bush for doing what you did. I mean, I'm not -- not Monday morning quarterbacking.

But what -- right now, what do we -- what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?

CHENEY: What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq.


O'REILLY: But they are back Al Qaeda and --

CHENEY: That's right. But they wouldn't be if they followed our policies that we laid out for them when we left.


CHENEY: But also let me finish.


CHENEY: In terms of what we got out of it we took down Saddam as a major source. Five days after we got Saddam, Muammar Gadhafi announced he was going to surrender his nuclear materials. And he had centrifuges, he had weapons, he had uranium stock. And after we took care of that we took down (inaudible) who is his major supplier. The father of the Pakistan program who was running the black market operation; we put him out of business. We got rid of three major sources of potential proliferators of nuclear weapons.

O'REILLY: Of weapons of mass destruction.

CHENEY: It's very important.

O'REILLY: Ok but right now Iraq looks to me and this is the headline of "The Washington Post" today nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal. Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless campaign of attacks.

So while you're correct in the bigger picture, I don't know if the suffering and blood was worth it?

CHENEY: Well, we've got a major problem in that part of the world, it's just not Iraq. It's also danger in Afghanistan.

O'REILLY: And let's get to Afghanistan.

CHENEY: And then Iran. The withdrawal of the United States from that part of the world has significantly diminished our capacity to influence those en masse.

O'REILLY: All right. In Afghanistan, you have a corrupt leader Karzai. Would you accede that -- corrupt?

CHENEY: Corrupt I supposed is in the eye of the beholder in Afghanistan.

O'REILLY: All right.

CHENEY: No, in Afghanistan nearly everybody has got.

O'REILLY: But in your eye Karzai corrupt?

CHENEY: In my eye Karzai was a guy who was there when we need him.

O'REILLY: All right. But is he corrupt. I understand you have got to deal with bad guys all the time.

CHENEY: No, I -- I don't -- I don't want to pass judgment and say he is corrupt.

O'REILLY: Is it ok if I do?

CHENEY: You can if you --

O'REILLY: All right. And you're not going to really come after me if say that are you?

CHENEY: Well I will give you a pass.

O'REILLY: Now, it looks to me, and correct me if I am wrong, that once the United States pulls most of our people out and we may pull them all out just like we did in Iraq because Karzai is not cooperating on a lot of different fronts, Taliban with al Qaeda's help is going to come in and make that country a chaotic mess.

CHENEY: Yes not just Afghanistan. The issue of "The Economists" two or three weeks had a cover on it and said the new face terrorism and inside it showed a map of ten different countries North Africa from Mali, Niger (ph), Nigeria all the way across that are now safe havens or sanctuaries if you will, places where terrorists al Qaeda and al Qaeda fellow travelers can find safe harbor sanctuary far bigger, part of the globe now that's vulnerable to that kind of thing, training facilities and so forth than we ever faced in the past.

The U.S. withdrawal from that part of the world has significantly diminished our capacity. So that whether we are trying to deal with the situation in Syria or the situation in Iran they don't pay any attention anymore.

O'REILLY: Ok so again, you have a policy difference with the Obama administration. You wouldn't withdraw. You would stay. But by staying, we are paying so much money and the suffering on military people so high. But again, we are all Americans and we're all in this together. It looks to me like the Taliban is going to reconstitute and cause so much trouble in Afghanistan it's going to become a chaotic mess.

CHENEY: But the last time the Taliban took control in Afghanistan. They had bases with 20,000 terrorists --

O'REILLY: And I think they are going to do that again. Don't you think they're going to do that again?

CHENEY: In addition -- in addition to 19 hijackers who came here with airline tickets and box cutters killed 3,000 Americans.

O'REILLY: I got it, I got it but aren't they do that again?

CHENEY: So what we'll just sit back and don't worry about it.

O'REILLY: No but I'm asking you if we're withdrawing and they're going to do it again as it seems likely they will.

CHENEY: Very real danger of that.

O'REILLY: So we get out of it.

CHENEY: Well what do you get out of it, if you withdraw and let that happen again, Bill, we don't have the choice anymore, if we ever did, since certainly since 9/11 crawling back behind our oceans and saying what goes over there doesn't matter to us. It matters a hell of a lot if there are a lot of terrorist bases, and there are more now more areas where they can be based than ever before. And if there is major proliferation problems nuclear weapons and that also is interesting.

O'REILLY: But that puts the strain on our U.S. military is unbelievable and on our treasury $17 trillion in debt.

CHENEY: That's right. But if we had a presence over there, if we had been able to continue the policies that we put in place, if we had been able to work to keep the governments established governments that are stable, willing to thin their own sovereign turf we would be better off than we are now. Now we are in a position where our adversaries no longer fear us and our allies no long trust us.

O'REILLY: Final question and real quick and then we'll get to your book. You are not optimistic that Afghanistan is going to be able to fight its own battles.

CHENEY: I hope they will be able to but I don't think they will unless there's a small group of Americans there to train --

O'REILLY: To stay and to settle there.

CHENEY: And Pakistan is next door. Where did we launch from to get Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan. Where did we base ourselves out of it in terms of keeping track of what's going on in Pakistan which we have to do.

O'REILLY: But you got the drones now that maybe able to inhibit them a little --

CHENEY: Based in Afghanistan.

O'REILLY: Right. All right we're going to have more with the Vice President in a moment. We'll talk about his stunning recovery from heart disease. You can see how feisty he is.

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