By Dan Froomkin
12:13 PM ET, 04/22/2009
Former vice president Dick Cheney and former Bush political guru Karl Rove could both be found on Fox News last night, preaching doom and spreading bile.
Fox last night aired the second half of an interview Cheney conducted with Sean Hannity.
Hannity asked if the Obama administration is "naive, that maybe they don't understand the nature of the war on terror?"
Cheney replied: "Yes, basically. I think there's -- the assumption seems to predominate on the other side that the reason there's been problems in the world is because of U.S. activity, U.S. conduct.
"We're the bad guys. We're the ones that lead people to become terrorists. We're the ones that generate the kind of criticism that has given al Qaeda an excuse to come attack the United States.
"I don't think that's true. I don't think they needed any excuse when they came here on 9/11, killed 3,000 of us. I don't think as we strip ourselves of important capabilities in terms of our interrogation program for detainees. I don't think there are members of al Qaeda out there around the world this morning that say, 'Oh, gee whiz, isn't that great? Barack Obama and his administration are no longer going to ask our guys tough questions when they are captured. Now, maybe we won't behead their people when they capture them.' I mean, it's just -- it says something about a mindset that I worry about very much...."
Hannity: He just doesn't have the courage to say it's a war on terror?... Does that seem like a weakness? Is that telegraphing weakness?"
Cheney: "I think it does. And I think it says to -- well, to the world out there that this is no longer a war, this is law enforcement. And our most important obligation responsibility is to read their rights to the people we capture, that we're going to treat them -- we're going to Mirandize them before we do anything else."
Cheney also said the release of last week's torture memos was "being done essentially to appease a certain element of the Democratic Party, or because of campaign commitments that were made in last year's campaign."
"What the Obama administration has done in the last several days is very dangerous," he told Hannity. "What they've essentially said is if we have policy disagreements with our predecessors, what we're going to do is we're going to turn ourselves into the moral equivalent of a Latin American country run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses, and we're going to do is prosecute systematically the previous administration or threaten prosecution against the previous administration based on policy differences.
"Is that what we've come to in this country, that if we have a change of administration from one party to another that we then use the tools of the government to go systemically after the policy disagreements we have with the previous administration?
"Now that may be fine in some little Latin American country that's run by -- the latest junta? It may be the way that they do things in Chicago, but that's not the way we do things here in America."