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Cheney said he urged Bush to bomb Syria: report
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2011

Dick Cheney said he urged then-president George W. Bush in June 2007 to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria, the former vice president wrote in his memoirs, the New York Times reported Thursday.

"I again made the case for U.S. military action against the reactor," Cheney wrote about a meeting on the issue according to the newspaper, which received an advance copy of the book.

"But I was a lone voice. After I finished, the president asked, Does anyone here agree with the vice president? Not a single hand went up around the room," he wrote.

Cheney wrote in the book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," that other top Bush advisers were still cautious, smarting over "the bad intelligence we had received about Iraqs stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction."

Instead the Israelis bombed the mysterious site in September 2007.

Cheney also kept a secret resignation letter in a safe while he was vice president in case his shaky health suddenly deteriorated, he said in a television interview released Wednesday.

Cheney, who has a long history of heart problems, said that he signed the letter two months after entering office in 2001. It was always in a safe and only one staff member knew about it, he said.

"I did it because I was concerned... for a couple of reasons," Cheney told NBC television in an excerpt of an interview that will air on Monday.

"One was my own health situation. The possibility that I might have a heart attack or a stroke that would be incapacitating. And there is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice president who can't function," Cheney said.

The US Constitution's 25th Amendment allows for the removal of the president if the vice president and the majority of the cabinet agree that the head of state is incapacitated. It does not mention a scenario of an ill vice president.

Cheney, who suffered his first heart attack in 1978 at age 37, remains a prominent Republican -- and unrepentant about his beliefs and actions during the Bush years.

"There are gonna be heads exploding all over Washington," Cheney said of the book.

In the NBC interview, Cheney stood firm in his support for waterboarding of terrorism suspects. President Barack Obama on taking over in 2009 declared an end to techniques considered torture.

"I would strongly support using it again if we had a high value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk," Cheney said.

Cheney, often portrayed as a hawk and Washington insider who encouraged the younger Bush to pursue the war in Iraq, said that his book would not upset the former president.

"I didn't set out to embarrass the president or not embarrass the president," Cheney said. "If you look at the book, there are many places in it where I say some very fine things about George Bush. And believe every word of it."

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