Martin Bashir | February 12, 2013
>>> like a stubborn case of oriole thrush, former vice president dick cheney continues to leave a bad taste in the mouth. today this warmongering revisionist who once shot one of his best friends in the face, offered a remarkable judgment on the president's approach to foreign policy .
>> i think the administration's policies are terribly flawed. i think the president's performance by my standards in the international arena, the middle east and so forth, is worse than many of my friends and colleagues deem his domestic policies.
>> joining us now is dana milbank , a political columnist for "the washington post ." dana, dick cheney says by my standards in the international arena. by his standards we believe bogus intelligence about the existence of nuclear weapons , we invade iraq though that nation had nothing to do with 9/11 and sacrifice the lives of 5,000 lives. we sell this nonsense about bulldozing national governments and imposing democracy when all it produces are civil war and injure genesee. by his own standards he's a failure, isn't he?
>> by his own standards you can be taken away to some black site for gitmo for questioning vice president cheney in such a way. but, yes, actually the case is worse than you stated. he actually said that iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons . he was suggesting they were a nuclear power . he went further than anybody in the bush administration to implicate iraq in the 9/11 attacks. but another things that dick cheney did during his vice presidency was to question the patriotism of anybody who criticized president bush and that administration's policies. by his own standard he is now suggesting that he is not patriotic, but, of course, i would never suggest such a thing.
>> you wouldn't wish to be banished to a prison. mr. cheney refers to the president's nominations of chuck hagel and john brennan as, quote, dismal and second rate. and today explained what he meant. take a listen.
>> with respect to chuck hagel and brennan, defense and cia, just in the last week, their performance in front of the committees that have to confirm them has been pretty poor. the president has made choices in part based on people who won't argue with him.
>> dana, i apologize for addressing mr. cheney 's amnesia, but john brennan served as deputy director of the cia under bush and cheney as well as director of the national counterterrorism center . does this mean dick cheney agreed to appoint a dismal and second rate individual to these crucial positions when he was in power?
>> well, certainly vice president cheney would prefer if this administration were nominating people like scooter libby who was convicted and sentenced for things he did while serving as vice president cheney 's chief of staff. it's not perplexing that cheney would take issue with chuck hagel who was a big critic of the iraq war . a little more perplexing on brennan who not only has served in republican and democratic administrations alike but got good marks from the republicans who were questioning him.
>> okay. well, in that interview today, mr. cheney says he supports the president's approach to the use of drones, which i guess is hardly surprising, but if dick cheney recommends something, does it not behoove us to have second thoughts about it?
>> well, you know what? it behooves us to have second thoughts about how they're going about this. i compare this to the iraq war which was very popular in public opinion polls early on, as is the drone policy, but by not being forthright and open and honest with the public, the iraq war obviously became a real albatross and the drone program could become the same way. so it's an argument not to do this in utter secrecy as they have been doing it to actually shine the light of day on it.
>> in fact, you must be telepathic. as you know i read everything you write. this is what you say on the use of drones. the iraq war was initially popular before it took a disare a terous turn, and though a large majority of americans support the drone warfare program, it is far more skeptical of killings that target u.s. citizens . do you expect the use of drones to be perhaps scaled back if john brennan becomes director of the cia ?
>> i certainly don't think so, martin, because he's in many ways the architect of this program and has overseen the dramatic expansion --
>> so you don't think the more recent public scrutiny will actually affect the administration's use of drones?
>> i don't think it will affect the use of drones. what needs to be done is they actually have to be procedures and policies in place so congress or the courts can oversee it. at some point it may not be john brennan and barack obama overseeing it program. it may be something like dick cheney and the nation needs to have some standards in place for when that occurs.
>> lord forbid. dana milbank , thank you, sir.