The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people. I mean, these are terrorists for the most part. These are people that were captured in the battlefield of Afghanistan or rounded up as part of the Al Qaeda network. We've already screened the detainees there and released a number, sent them back to their home countries. But what's left is hard core.
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We now have irrefutable evidence that [Saddam] has once again set up and reconstituted his program to take uranium, to enrich it to sufficiently high grade, so that it will function as the base material as a nuclear weapon. And there's no doubt about the fact that the level of effort has escalated in recent months.
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To bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger... It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe... The terrorists see just what they were hoping for: our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.
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After 9/11, it became clear that we [the United States] had to do several things to have a successful strategy to win the global war on terror, specifically that we had to go after the terrorists wherever we might find them, that we also had to go after state sponsors of terror, those who might provide sanctuary or safe harbor for terror.
I got to be White House chief of staff, ten years of congressman, secretary of defense, vice-president. If you're a political junkie like I obviously am - that was - every one of those was just a tremendous experience. I'm very comfortable with what I did and why I did it and how I did it. And I'll let others judge whether they liked it or not.
President Bush gave me a tremendous opportunity to serve as the vice president. I enjoyed very much having the opportunity to be a part of his team. He told me at the outset, he wanted me to sign on to be a part of his team - and he was true to his word, kept it. He was tough. He was decisive. He was also a pretty good politician.
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I have argued in the past, and would again, if we had been able to pre-empt the attacks of 9/11 would we have done it? And I think absolutely. We have to be prepared now to take the kind of bold action that's being contemplated with respect to Iraq in order to ensure that we don't get hit with a devastating attack when the terrorists' organization gets married up with a rogue state that's willing to provide it with the kinds of deadly capabilities that Saddam Hussein has developed and used over the years.
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We're fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first, and hit us hard. ... Al Qaeda's leadership has said they have the right to kill four million Americans,... For nearly six years now, the United States has been able to defeat their attempts to attack us here at home. Nobody can guarantee that we won't be hit again. ...
"Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow."
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It's very important to go back and keep in mind the distinction between handling these events as criminal acts, which was the way we did before 9/11, and then looking at 9/11 and saying, 'This is not a criminal act,' not when you destroy 16 acres of Manhattan, kill 3,000 Americans, blow a big hole in the Pentagon. That's an act of war.
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I think, in fact, the situation with respect to Al Qaida to say that, you know, that was a big attack we had on 9/11, but it's not likely again, I just think that's dead wrong. I think the biggest strategic threat the United States faces today is the possibility of another 9/11 with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind, and I think Al Qaida is out there even as we meet trying to figure out how to do that.
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Saddam Hussein had a lengthy history of reckless and sudden aggression. He cultivated ties to terror -- hosting the Abu Nidal organization, supporting terrorists, and making payments to the families of suicide bombers. He also had an established relationship with Al Qaida -- providing training to Al Qaida members in areas of poisons, gases and conventional bombs. He built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction.
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We've gotten a long way on missile defense. We know how to do it. We know how to take down incoming warheads, but we need to do a lot more work in order to be - to deploy a system that'll defend the United States against those kinds of limited strikes that might be possible by a nuclear armed North Korea or Iran.
I was in end stage heart failure, liver and kidneys shutting down, and on an emergency basis they went in and planted a pump in my chest. It was battery operated. That kept me alive for 20 months and that got me to the transplant. And I wake up every morning now with a smile on my face, thankful for the gift of another day I never expected to see.
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It's not just Bin Laden or just those that are involved in the counterterrorism effort. We've gotta cast the net broader than that. But I think it's a - very special tribute that we all owe to the bravery and courage of the men and women in the intelligence and military business who performed so well to finally get it done.
We live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. We shouldn't be able to choose and say, 'You get to live free and you don't.' That means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. Like Joe (Lieberman), I'm also wrestling with the extent to which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.
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My own personal view is that people ought to have the right to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. With respect to how that's affected or regulated by the State, those are State decisions. Different States are likely to make different decisions based upon their own wishes and desire of the people of the State, and that's perfectly acceptable.
Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
...And while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war. And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many.
You really do think about it institutionally; this is your job, and to some extent you benefit from having a job to do at a moment like this. You have things that you have to make happen. And you don't have time for the emotional reaction that might otherwise occur if somebody was just sitting there watching these events unfold and had no responsibilities.
I reached a point towards the end on the old heart where I had trouble getting out of a chair. All I wanted to do was get out of bed in the morning and walk to my office and sit back down in the chair. Now I throw 50 pound bags of horse feed in the back of my pickup truck and I don't even think about it. I'm back doing those things.
We have to deal with this new type of threat in a way we haven't yet defined. . . . With a low-probability, high-impact event like this . . . If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.
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I mean, it's not just one day you get up, bang, and you got Osama bin Laden. It's the kind of thing where an awful lot of people over a long period of time - thousands have worked this case and these issues and followed on the leads and captured bad guys and interrogated them and so-forth.
We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies... That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.
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