Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Cheney: No artificial date for ending terror war
By Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writer
WILMINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney vowed Monday that if he and President Bush are re-elected, they will continue the fight against terror as long as necessary.
"If you put an artificial date on it, you end up with the terrorists just waiting until that day arrives for withdrawal from Iraq to resurface, and that's not acceptable," Cheney said. "They're not going to be able to win, no matter what they attempt to try. ... We don't want to stay any longer than necessary. But we do want to stay long enough to make certain it doesn't revert back to the situation it was before. The best way I can think of to honor the sacrifices of those who sacrificed so much is to complete the mission."
Cheney and his wife, Lynne, spoke to about 700 Republican supporters at a town-hall style meeting at the Roberts Conference Center just off Interstate 71, about 50 miles north of Cincinnati. It's Cheney's third southwest Ohio visit in a month, after visits to Price Hill and Clermont County, as the Nov. 2 election nears in this crucial state.
"Given the nature of the threat ... we can't afford to fail," Cheney said about fighting the war on terror. "We can be successful 999 times out of 1,000, but the one time they get through with that kind of capability will be devastating."
Cheney did not address Monday's news that several hundred tons of explosives are missing from a former military base in Iraq. Earlier in the day, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had blasted the Bush administration for "incredible incompetence."
But several of those attending the Cheney event in this Clinton County community said they didn't buy the Massachusetts senator's arguments on the war.
"We have to protect freedom," said Jacque Kirk of Wilmington, whose daughter Erynn Kirk served in the Navy in Iraq. "To say it's the wrong war at the wrong time is the wrong thinking. The people want us there. A mass serial killer is now behind bars. I don't understand how you could think this is not the right time."
Cheney also said Kerry's been "on the wrong side of national security issues" and argued Kerry is trying to put a "gloss" on his record.
And as he did in Clermont County's Batavia Township earlier this month, Cheney critiqued Kerry's recent comment: "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."
The vice president responded: "When was terrorism ever just a nuisance? ... I don't think our objective can be to manage terror at some appropriate, acceptable level. I think our objective has got to be to defeat terror and that's what we'll do."
The people who had the opportunity to ask unscripted questions during the nearly hour-long event were local campaign volunteers and Republican supporters, according to event organizers. They had expected about 1,000 people on Monday, though before the event started, rows of empty chairs were removed from the room.
Outside, about two dozen protesters gathered across the street.
The Cheneys' visit comes on the heels of two Ohio stops by Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards. The North Carolina senator on Sunday rallied 1,200 supporters in West Dayton and spoke from the pulpit of Bond Hill's Allen Temple A.M.E. Church.
The most recent polls show Kerry has a slight lead in Ohio. But with just a week to go before Election Day, Bush has plans to visit four Ohio cities, and Kerry is expected to visit the state again.
The Associated Press contributed.
Cheney: No artificial date for ending terror war
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