Since he took office two years ago, President Barack Obama has "learned from experience" that some of the Bush administration's decisions in the war on terror were necessary, former Vice President Dick Cheney told NBC News Monday. (h/t The Hill)
In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last summer, the former veep suggested that President Obama has had to rethink some of his past national security positions now that he is the nation's leading decision-maker. "I think he's learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he's learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election."
In addition, despite his promise to close the U.S detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cheney predicted that Obama has had to rethink his position when faced with the serious ramifications of such a decision. "I think he's learned that he's not going to be able to close Guantanamo," Cheney said. "That it's — if you didn't have it, you'd have to create one like that. You've got to have some place to put terrorists who are combatants who are bound and determined to try to kill Americans."
The Obama's expanded use of predator drones also signaled a change in mentality, the former vice president suggested. "They've gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world."
In addition to his political observations on the Obama presidency so far, Cheney also spoke candidly about his own health as his recent weight loss was visibly apparent. Last July, doctors implanted a device into his heart to help blood flow.
In light of the recent Tucson shootings that left six people dead and injured 13 others, Cheney warned against blaming heated political rhetoric, placing blame squarely on the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner.
"I think the event was caused by a deranged individual. And — that's where we ought to look in terms of trying to assess guilt," Cheney said.
"I don't think we should anticipate that we can somehow take a system that was designed for political combat, if you will, between the parties, between ideas, between principles and set that aside. I wouldn't want to do that," he said. "That's the heart and soul of our political system. And that's basically a good thing."