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Cheney: Insurgents 'very sensitive' to upcoming election

Published: Monday October 30, 2006

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In an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Vice President Dick Cheney has said that an upswing in insurgent attacks is meant to swing the U.S. elections.

A transcript of the relevant exchange follows:


CAVUTO: Do you suspect that these insurgent attacks are timed to influence our midterm elections?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: That's my belief. I think they are, very, very cognizant of our schedule, if you will. They also -- you've got to remember what the strategy is of the terrorists. They specifically can't beat us in a stand-up fight. They never have. But whether it's al Qaeda or the other elements that are active in Iraq, they are betting on the proposition they can break the will of the American people. They think we won't have the stomach for the fight long-term. Osama bin Laden says as much. He talks about this.

And in fact, their belief is that the same thing will happen here that happened in Beirut in 1983, or Somalia in 1993, when after we lost a number of people, then we packed it in and came home. The thing that's different, of course, is 9/11. And there may have been a time when we'd be safe behind our oceans in the past, but that pretty well went by the boards on 9/11. And since then, we clearly have to be engaged. We've got to be active. We've got to prosecute the global war on terror.

We've been able to defend the country successfully for five years now, have not had other attacks against the U.S., although they've tried. But that's primarily because we've gone on offense. We've put in place some very robust measures here at home to protect the country, as well as taking the fight to the enemy overseas.

CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that the insurgents are better at these polls than even we are, that they are reading them and seeing frustration growing with the war, and regardless of the good economy, saying, let's keep up the attacks, let's keep up the pressure?

CHENEY: It's my belief that they're very sensitive of the fact that we've got an election scheduled, and they can get on the websites like anybody else. There isn't anything that's on the Internet that's not accessible to them. They're on it all the time. They're very sophisticated users of it. And I do believe that that's a part of it. I think we've also seen, of course, a higher level of violence because of Ramadan. Traditionally, there's a spike about this time of year in terms of level of activity.

But again, I come back to the proposition, they know that the way they win is if they can, in fact, force America to withdraw on the basis that we aren't going to stay and finish the job, their basic proposition that they can break the will of the American people. That's what they believe. And that's what they're trying to do.