By Sandy Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 02 Sep 2015 10:25 AM
The Bush administration left Iraq “in pretty good shape,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday, but President Barack Obama’s decision to pull troops out of the country has created a vacuum that allowed ISIS to “come onto the map.”
“The situation in Iraq was stable when we left,” Cheney told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “Even Barack Obama admitted that.”
The coalition government that was left behind at that time included a Sunni vice president and Sunni officers in the military ranks, Cheney said, claiming that Obama’s decision to not leave a “stay behind force” was what created the vacuum in the country, and he thinks “that was a significant problem.”
Further, Cheney said he believes the Bush administration “got it right with respect to Iraq; when we left, Iraq was in pretty good shape as a result of the surge President [George W. Bush] made.”
The former vice president also said that the world was not more stable while late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was in power, as Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi then gave up his nuclear program.
But he does not believe the United States should have worked to keep Qaddafi in power.
“The most important thing was he get rid of the nuclear materials,” said Cheney.
“Imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t done that and ISIS moved in and took over in Libya … we came very close to having a radical group acquiring nuclear capability. The fact that it didn’t, especially with respect to Libya [was] because we took down Saddam.”
Cheney was on the morning show with daughter Liz, a Fox News correspondent, as part of a media push for their new book, “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America.”