The vice president spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's 2007 Policy Conference this morning. Here are some notable excerpts from Cheney's speech. You can read the full text here (pdf).
The most common myth is that Iraq has nothing to do with the global war on terror. Opponents of our military action there have called Iraq a diversion from the real conflict, a distraction from the business of fighting and defeating bin Laden and the al Qaeda network. We hear this over and over again, not as an argument but as an assertion meant to close off argument.
Yet the critics conveniently disregard the words of bin Laden himself. The most serious issue today for the whole world, he has said, is this third world war that is raging in Iraq. He calls it a destiny between infidelity and Islam. He said the whole world is watching this war and that it will end in victory and glory or misery and humiliation. And in words directed at the American people, bin Laden declares, "The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever."
This leader of al Qaeda has referred to Baghdad as the capital of the Caliphate. He has also said, and I quote, "Success in Baghdad will be success for the United States. Failure in Iraq is the failure of the United States. Their defeat in Iraq will mean defeat in all their wars."
Obviously, the terrorists have no illusion about the importance of the struggle in Iraq. They have not called it a distraction or a diversion from their war against the United States. They know it is a central front in that war and it's where they've chosen to make a stand. Our Marines are fighting al Qaeda terrorists today in Anbar province. U.S. and Iraqi forces recently killed al Qaeda terrorists in Baghdad who were responsible for numerous car bomb attacks. Iraq's relevance to the war on terror simply could not be more plain.
We are the prime targets of a terror movement that is global in nature and, yes, global in its ambitions. The leaders of this movement speak openly and specifically of building a totalitarian empire covering the Middle East, extending into Europe and reaching across to the islands of Indonesia, one that would impose a narrow, radical vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, suppresses dissent, brutalizes women and has one of its foremost objectives the destruction of Israel. Their creed is extreme and backward looking, yet their methods are modern and sophisticated. The terrorists use the Internet to spread propaganda, to find new recruits, and they're employing every other tool of communication and finance to carry out their plans.
And on the prospects for deterrence:
And not even the instinct of self-preservation is a restraint. The terrorists value death the same way you and I value life. Civilized, decent societies will never fully understand the kind of mindset that drives men to strap on bombs or fly airplanes into buildings, all for the purpose of killing unsuspecting men, women and children who they have never met and who have done them no wrong. But that is the very kind of blind, prideful hatred we're up against.
And their aim, ultimately, is to acquire the means to match that hatred and to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to impose their will by unspeakable violence or blackmail.