Vice President Dick Cheney swiped at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for his 2007 remark that the Iraq war had been "lost."

Cheney, in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, said that remarks by Reid and other war critics in 2007 helped President Bush commit to the "surge" strategy of sending more troops to Iraq.

"The President sat down in, as I recall, about the middle of '06, and ordered a strategic review of what we were doing in Iraq," Cheney said. "And one of the things that happened, frankly, I think -- I think the debate here in the United States about leaving and the active and aggressive commitments of people like Harry Reid, the Democratic leader of the Senate, saying we lost in Iraq.

"If you look at it today, it doesn't look like we lost in Iraq," Cheney added. "Harry was wrong. But those kinds of statements, I think, had a big impact on the Iraqis. I think there was a belief in many quarters in Iraq that the United States wouldn't stay the course, that we were going to bail out."

Reid, earlier this month, stood by his statements that the war was lost and that the surge wasn't working earlier this month. The Democrat noted that even Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. general during the surge, didn't believe the war could be won through only military means.

Cheney, in the AP interview, went on to say that Bush's decision to increase U.S. troops in Iraq was "a very strong signal" to Iraqis, who later turned on the insurgents.

The vice president also cautioned the Obama administration not to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq too quickly, saying that there's still much work to be done.

"I hear a lot of people among our critics who keep saying, Iraq's a mess, pull out. Well, that's not true. It's not a mess," Cheney said. "We have had major progress. We have come close to achieving a significant portion of our objectives. And an irresponsible withdrawal now is exactly the wrong medicine."

He said that President-elect Obama's decision to retain Defense Secretary Robert Gates made him "cautiously optimistic" that the new administration would be "reasoned and responsible" in its Iraq policy.