Mike Pence, Donald Trump's U.S. vice presidential running mate, said he considers Dick Cheney—former vice president under George W. Bush and main force behind the Iraq invasion, who maintains his views in favor of CIA and military torture—a “role model."
"I frankly hold Dick Cheney in really high regard in his role as vice president and as an American," Pence said in an interview on ABC's "This Week," that aired Sunday.
"Vice President Cheney had experience in congress as I do and he was very active in working with members of the house and the senate."
Cheney, who said he supports Trump in the Nov. 8 election against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, was known for wielding strong influence in the administration, particularly in Bush's first term.
Cheney was and remains one of the biggest champions of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has maintained that the Iraq war was a success despite the suffering and destruction it inflicted on Iraq and the region as well as the massive financial burden it placed on U.S. taxpayers.
When far-right Pence was picked as Trump’s running mate, many suggested that in case the real estate billionaire wins, it was likely Pence would run the White House behind the scenes.
Thus considering this is what he sees as an example to follow for being a vice president then history might just repeat itself and the U.S. would have a second Cheney in command.
Critics say that for Cheney the U.S. invasion of Iraq was nothing but a financial decision that would significantly benefit and enrich the oil and gas giant Halliburton, the company where Cheney served as chief executive from 1995 until he left in 2000 to run for vice president.
“Halliburton's business with the military has grown substantially since Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney took office. The company rose to the seventh largest military contractor in 2003 from 22nd largest in 2000,” a report by the New York Times in 2004 said amid the controversy over Cheney’s links to the company.
While running for president against Bush in 2004, John Kerry, the current secretary of state and former senator, argued, "Dick Cheney's old company Halliburton has profited from the mess in Iraq at the expense of American troops and taxpayers.”
He further warned, “While Halliburton has been engaging in massive overcharging and wasteful practices under this no-bid contract, Dick Cheney has continued to receive compensation from his former company."
The company provided a range of services for the U.S. government in Iraq at the time and was awarded several contracts worth more than US$12 billion, according to the New York Times.
When asked about the Iraq war in 2015, Cheney said he believed it was a success and fulfilled its objective of removing Saddam Hussein. Bush ordered the invasion on the pretext of the Iraqi government possessing weapons of mass destruction.
In October 2004, however, a CIA report revealed that Hussein did not have any active WMD program at the time of the invasion. "It was the right thing to do then. I believed it then and I believe it now," Cheney said in an interview with CNN.
Commenting on the release of a report showing CIA torture against those suspected of terrorism, Cheney defended torture by the agency and said it was what needed to be done.
During an interview with Fox News in 2014, Cheney commented on the practice of “rectal feeding," force-feeding detainees through their anuses, "I guess the question is what are you prepared to do in order to get the truth about future attacks against the United States,” he said.
“We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and prevent a further attack … We were successful on both parts.”