Dick Cheney, in probably his last interview as vice president, mounted a vigorous defense of the Bush administration and compared dangers America was facing in 2001 with those confronted by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. He insisted President Bush had not exerted any more executive power than previous presidents. Cheney defended the use of tough interrogation programs and wire tapping. He insisted Bush “was fully authorized in taking” and it was due to such actions that al-Qaeda was put on the run. The vice president was uncertain if Osama bin Laden was still alive, and he expressed disagreement with the Bush decision to fire Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, given the brilliant job he was doing.
Bush, and Republicans, often cite wartime actions by Lincoln and FDR to support their claims the president had to take strong steps against terrorism. Of course, Lincoln had a large Confederate army within sight of Washington D.C. and FDR was confronting the best army in the world in Nazi Germany, not a few thousand men who had no ability to inflict any serious damage to the United States. If Bush and Cheney policies defeated al-Qaeda, perhaps he could explain how today al-Qaeda has more members than ever before and is operating throughout the world?