By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
American troops will remain in Iraq until all enemies of the United States are eliminated, Vice President Dick Cheney said during a brief political visit Monday to downtown Cincinnati.
Cheney's comments, made during an early afternoon campaign fund-raiser for Kentucky GOP gubernatorial candidate Ernie Fletcher, indicate a sustained United States military presence in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.
"The war on terror continues. It is a war being fought all over the globe," Cheney said during an 18-minute speech. "The war will continue perhaps as long as we're in office, perhaps longer.
"We will stay in Afghanistan and Iraq to make absolutely certain the job is done," he said. "We will stay until we've wrapped up all the weapons of mass destruction and we've eliminated all of those who are enemies of the United States."
Cheney made no mention of the TV speech that President George Bush delivered to the nation Sunday night, but he did continue on the administration's path of linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks of two years ago this week.
"The Bush Doctrine makes it clear that those states that support terrorists or provide sanctuary for terrorists are just as guilty as the terrorist themselves," Cheney said. "Our enemies are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear weapons - and we have every reason to believe that if they succeed they will use them to launch attacks."
Cheney's visit raised $150,000 for Fletcher - a congressman from Lexington running against Democrat Ben Chandler - and about $70,000 for the Kentucky Republican Party.
The fund-raiser at the Aronoff Center drew about 30 protesters downtown, mainly members of organized labor and Kentucky Democratic Party staffers and volunteers.
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