TIM RUSSERT: Mr. Vice President, welcome to “Meet the Press.”
VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Good morning, Tim.
RUSSERT: How close are we to war with Iran?
CHENEY: Well, I think we are in the final stages of diplomacy, obviously. We have done virtually everything we can with respect to carrots, if you will. It’s time for squash. Not to mention mushrooms, clouds of them.
RUSSERT: But you squashed Iraq and that didn’t work out so well.
CHENEY: Iraq will be fine, Tim. It just needs a firmer hand. We learned that lesson. We’re not going to get hung up on democracy this time. (Expletive) purple thumbs.
RUSSERT: Isn’t Secretary Rice still pushing carrots for Iran?
CHENEY: The more carrots Condi feeds ’em, the better they’ll be able to see the bombs coming.
RUSSERT: First you threatened to take action if Iran built a nuclear weapon. Now you’re threatening to take action if Iran knows how to build a nuclear weapon. What’s next? You threaten to take action if Ahmadinejad dresses up as a nuclear weapon for Halloween?
CHENEY: Well, the difficulty here is, each time he has rejected what he was called upon to do by the international community. I’m not sure now, no matter what he says, that anyone would believe him. He’s pretending he doesn’t have W.M.D., just like Saddam.
CHENEY: He did, Tim.
RUSSERT: He did?
CHENEY: Ever wonder what happened to them?
RUSSERT: What happened to them?
CHENEY: Think about it, Tim.
RUSSERT: The New York Times reported yesterday that the suspected nuclear reactor in Syria bombed by Israeli jets was well under construction in 2003, the same year we went to war with Syria’s neighbor Iraq. Did we go after the wrong country?
CHENEY: Syria is not a country, Tim. It’s a way station run by an eye doctor.
RUSSERT: Conservatives are tossing around some lock-and-load language. The president is talking about Iran sparking a “nuclear holocaust” and World War III. Giuliani adviser Norman Podhoretz thinks we’re in World War IV. Shouldn’t you at least give the new sanctions against Iran a chance to work?
CHENEY: Oh, we have, Tim. The sanctions were announced Thursday. It’s now Sunday. I think things have gotten so bad inside Iran, from the standpoint of the Iranian people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
RUSSERT: But what if your analysis is not correct — again? Let’s put up on the screen part of an interview The New York Times’s Thom Shanker did with the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen: “With America at war in two Muslim countries, he said, attacking a third Islamic nation in the region ‘has extraordinary challenges and risks associated with it.’ The military option, he said, should be a last resort.” Your own chairman of the Joint Chiefs does not think the military can handle a third war.
CHENEY: If Admiral Mullen wants to be Admiral Sullen, that’s his business. I’m not going to be a defeatist or question the courage of our fighting men.
RUSSERT: Critics say that if you attack Iran, there will be riots in every Muslim capital, the Iranians will flood Iraq with more explosives and money for the Shiite militias. They say you’ll only end up making more enemies for America, and our troops.
CHENEY: Why don’t we just give the Islamofascists Sudetenland, Tim? Peace in our time.
RUSSERT: The Europeans are upset that you might start another war in their backyard.
CHENEY: (Rolling his eyes and muttering under his breath) Eurappeasers.
RUSSERT: An Iranian spokesman dismissed the new U.S. sanctions as “worthless and ineffective” and said they were “doomed to fail as before.” And Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards — a group you have accused of proliferating weapons of mass destruction — also warned that his forces would respond with an “even more decisive” strike if attacked.
CHENEY: Don’t worry about General Ali Baba, Tim. We gave the Israelis his home address.
RUSSERT: How will you even know where to bomb, given that all the experts say the Iranians have hidden their real nuclear facilities underground?
CHENEY: Can you say magic carpet bombing, Tim? We didn’t build those bunker busters just to stack ’em up in a warehouse in North Dakota.
RUSSERT: It’s so close to the next election, Mr. Vice President, shouldn’t you just keep on the diplomatic track and let the next president make this decision?
CHENEY: You really want Rudy Giuliani playing with the nuclear button, Tim? Now, that’s insane.