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Cheney on Middle East: ‘We’ve got a hell of a problem’

- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2014

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that the Obama administration's foreign policy has led to crises beyond just the escalating conflict in Iraq, charging that the U.S. now has a "hell of a problem" across North Africa and the Middle East.

"Iraq is not the whole problem. We've got a much bigger problem that just the current crisis in Iraq," he said on ABC's "This Week" program. "The first thing we have to do is recognize we've got a hell of a problem, and it's not just Iraq."

The former vice president's comments come as Sunni militants have seized four Iraqi towns over just the past two days and as the U.S. sends 300 military advisers to assist the Iraqi government in holding its nation together.
While the problem of Islamist extremists is manifesting itself in Iraq right now, Mr. Cheney argues the administration doesn't have a handle on the larger issue.

"The spread of the terrorist organizations is not recognized by the administration. The proliferation of nuclear capability and the possibility that it could fall into the hands of terrorists is not really being addressed at all," he said. "I appreciate the problems we've got in Iraq right now, but what I think we need is a broad strategy that lets us address this whole range of issues, and that involves reversing a number of the policies of the Obama administration."

Mr. Cheney also took shots at Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, who argued Sunday that U.S. intervention in the region is a main contributing factor to the increasing violence.

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Mr. Paul said the Iraqis must stand up and fight for their own country, and that the U.S. should not send more of its young men and women to die there.

"I'm not willing to send my son into that mess," he said.

Mr. Cheney flatly dismissed that point of view.

"Rand Paul, with all due respect, is basically an isolationist. He doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential," he said.

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