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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cheney Wants Pullout in Iraq to Be Honorable

TOKYO -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that the United States wanted to finish its mission in Iraq and "return with honor," despite the war's growing unpopularity at home and doubts among U.S. allies.

Cheney, whose visit to Tokyo comes just weeks after Japan's defense minister said starting the Iraq war was a mistake, also insisted Americans would not back a "policy of retreat."

The defense minister's remarks forced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to scurry to reassure Washington that Tokyo's backing for U.S. policy in Iraq was unchanged.

But a survey released on Tuesday showed most Japanese voters agreed with Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma when he said U.S. President George W. Bush was wrong to start the war.

"We know that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness," Cheney said in a speech aboard the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier at Yokosuka Navy Base near Tokyo.

"We know that if we leave Iraq before the mission is completed, the enemy is going to come after us. And I want you to know that the American people will not support a policy of retreat," he added, as U.S. military personnel applauded.

"We want to complete the mission, we want to get it done right, and we want to return with honor," said Cheney, who heads on Thursday for Australia to meet Prime Minister John Howard, another staunch supporter of Bush's Iraq policy.

In talks earlier with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Cheney thanked Japan for the roughly 550 noncombat troops it sent to southern Iraq in 2004 as part of Tokyo's largest and riskiest overseas mission since the end of World War II.

The soldiers returned home last July, but about 200 Japanese air force personnel based in Kuwait are still transporting supplies to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

A former aide to Cheney lied to the FBI because he was worried he might face criminal charges for blowing a CIA employee's cover, prosecutors said Tuesday as his perjury trial drew to a close.

But Lewis "Scooter" Libby's defense team told the jury that the government had failed to prove that he lied on purpose, and defense lawyer Theodore Wells asked jurors to set aside politics as they weighed Libby's fate.

Libby is on trial for lying to investigators as they sought to determine who leaked a CIA analyst's identity after her husband accused the White House of twisting intelligence to bolster the case for invading Iraq.