Terrorist Threat Not Just a U.S. Problem, Cheney Says
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., June 13, 2005 The United States is far from alone in facing the threat posed by terrorists, Vice President Richard B. Cheney said here June 10.
In an interview with Air Force Master Sgt. Sean Lehman of the Pentagon Channel, Cheney emphasized the worldwide toll terrorism has taken since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
"The global terrorist threat really is a worldwide problem; it's not just a U.S. problem," he said. "Since we were attacked on 9/11, obviously, there have been attacks in Madrid, Casablanca, Mombassa, Istanbul, Bali (and) Jakarta. So our ability to deal with this threat requires really an international effort." Those targeted cities represent the countries of Spain, Morocco, Kenya, Turkey and Indonesia, respectively.
Cheney cited the need to share intelligence and conduct bilateral and multinational training, exercises and operations as being key to that effort for the United States.
The vice president was here to present awards for valor to special operations servicemembers and to close out the first International Special Forces Week observance in Tampa. He said the chance to pin medals on the chests of some of the nation's heroes is one of the best aspects of his job.
"It's remarkable when you get to recognize that kind of service," he said. "And today I awarded ... at the direction of the president ... a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, a couple of Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Distinguished Service Cross." He noted that the Distinguished Service Cross, which he presented to Army Master Sgt. Donald Hollenbaugh for his actions in an April 2004 firefight in Fallujah, Iraq, is second only to the Medal of Honor for valor in combat.
Cheney is no stranger to the military world, having served as secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush. He told Lehman his time in the Pentagon has served him well as vice president.
"It was good preparation to be vice president, in the sense that I spend a lot of time now on national security matters," he said.
The vice president added, however, that his current position differs because he doesn't "run anything."
"It's not like the good old days when I was in charge of the Defense Department," Cheney said with a chuckle, noting that his good friend Donald H. Rumsfeld now has that responsibility. "But in terms of (my ability) to make a contribution to the president as he wrestles with the big issues of the day, and as we try to put together effective strategies to deal with the threats to the United States, clearly the time I spent as secretary of defense is a valuable resource for me in helping to think about those problems."