Cheney Defends Terror Policies

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Policies initiated by the Bush administration are the reason the United States hasn't been attacked since the Sept. 11th strikes five years ago, Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday in Reno.

Speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Reno, the vice president defended the war in Iraq as necessary in the overall battle against terrorism and reiterated the administration's position that U.S. troops would not withdraw until Iraqi forces were able to maintain order and stability.

Though he touched on Iraq, most of his 30-minute address focused on homeland security and the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

"To have come this far without another attack is no accident," Cheney said, who credited "sound policies by the president" for protecting the country.

Speaking to about 6,000 delegates, Cheney also criticized as "just dead wrong" a federal court ruling that struck down the president's warrant-less, domestic wiretapping program as unconstitutional. "We're confident it will be reversed on appeal," he said.

Cheney's appearance was closed to the public.

He was to attend a private fundraiser at an undisclosed residence before leaving Reno later in the day.

About three dozen anti-war protesters demonstrated outside the convention center where Cheney spoke.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was to address delegates at a banquet Monday night.