Former Vice President Dick Cheney refuted accusations that he is a war criminal during his speech to students and members of the AU community in Bender Arena on March 28. The Kennedy Political Union hosted Cheney as part of a stream of speakers coming to campus.
“The accusations are not true,” Cheney said.
During his vice presidency, three people were waterboarded, Cheney said. Waterboarding refers to either pumping a stomach with water or inducing choking by filling a throat with a stream of water, according to a report by NPR.
“Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture,” Cheney said in an interview with ATV.
Students protested the event due to the accusations of war criminality against Cheney, The Eagle previously reported.
According to Cheney, the enhanced interrogation tactics used do not fall under the scope of the 1949 United Nations Geneva Convention, which outlaws cruel, inhuman or any degrading treatment or punishment because the Geneva Convention does not apply to unlawful combatants.
The Bush administration considered terrorists as unlawful combatants and considered those undergoing enhanced interrogation tactics as terrorists.
“If I would have to do it all over again, I would,” Cheney said. “The results speak for themselves.”
Cheney: ‘Weak’ response on Syria, Crimea
Cheney told The Eagle that Obama’s response regarding Syria and Crimea has been weak dating back to the Syrian conflict.
“The president indicated that if the Syrians used chemical weapons there would be consequence,” he said. “They used chemical weapons and there were no consequences. That conveyed a sense of weakness; that you don’t have to pay attention to what he [the president] says because he won’t follow through.”
A lack of U.S. leadership created a vacuum for extremist Islamist groups to sweep through Syria, Cheney said.
Obama is again showing weak leadership in Crimea, according to Cheney.
“Putin has gotten away with Crimea,” Cheney said regarding the recent annexation of Crimea to Russia.
Cheney said he advises Ukrainian officer training and military exercises with Poland in order to combat Russian influence in the Ukraine.
Snowden’s whistleblowing is ‘devastating’
Cheney said he fully supports National Security Agency surveillance and phone tapping.
“I don’t have any problems with our people doing that,” Cheney said about NSA surveillance.
The U.S. needs to take advantage of technology in the face of constant threat of cyberwarfare because the country needs to protect itself, according to Cheney.
Cheney also discussed his opinions on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, calling him a traitor. However, he considered the possibility that there are undiscovered NSA internal leaks.
“I’ve always wondered, although I haven’t been able to prove one way or another, if he [Snowden] had more help from the inside,” Cheney told the audience at the KPU event. “What he’s done to the U.S., it is devastating.”