June 18th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
4 months ago

Cheney rips Obama over foreign policy in op-ed

Washington (CNN) –Former Vice President Dick Cheney and daughter Liz Cheney penned a scathing op-ed in which they offered a blistering critique of President Barack Obama’s handling of the escalating violence in Iraq.

"Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," wrote Cheney and his daughter, a conservative pundit and former State Department official in the Bush administration, in an opinion piece  for the Wall Street Journal. "Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

That line by the Cheneys spurred many on social media to accuse the former vice president of hypocrisy, because of his role as a major advocate for the Iraq war during the George W. Bush administration.

And Wednesday morning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the chamber to criticize Cheney.

"If there is one thing this country does not need is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars. Being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is being on the right side of history," Reid said.

Latest CNN reporting on fighting in Iraq

The Cheneys join a growing chorus of high profile Republicans who have criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Islamic militants who have cut a bloody swath across northern and central Iraq, regions American troops and Iraqi government forces had previously worked to secure. A number of Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a war veteran and strident critic of Obama’s policy toward Iraq, have blasted the President’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops out of the country at the end of 2011, and say that move left a security vacuum.

McCain, Obama's opponent in the 2008 presidential election, has asserted that some U.S. troops should have remained in Iraq to provide stability.

Republican critics say that void – coupled with the administration’s refusal to commit additional U.S. military support to opposition forces in neighboring Syria's civil war – has been exploited by the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, to attack in Iraq.

Foreign policy helps push Obama to new low

The Cheneys agreed.

"Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change," the Cheneys wrote in the op-ed. "Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America."

The President has indicated that, while violence in Syria has been seeping over into Iraq, he doesn’t want to get pulled into another protracted war on foreign soil after ending the near decade long conflict begun under his predecessor.

The United States "will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," Obama said on Friday as he read from a statement delivered from the White House South Lawn. The President also said he would be studying a number of alternative options.

The Cheneys feel the President should act with greater haste and force.

"It is time the president and his allies faced some hard truths: America remains at war, and withdrawing troops from the field of battle while our enemies stay in the fight does not "end" wars," the Cheneys wrote in the op-ed. "Weakness and retreat are provocative. U.S. withdrawal from the world is disastrous and puts our own security at risk."

The latest critique from Dick Cheney is especially salient since, as secretary of defense under former President George H.W. Bush, Cheney was deeply involved in the 1991 decision to mount a large-scale U.S. military operation in Iraq following that nation’s invasion of the small oil-rich nation of Kuwait. He would later become vice president in former President George W. Bush’s administration and helped craft the “War on Terror” in response to the September 11th attacks.

Cheney played a key role in urging the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction-a hunt that ultimately proved fruitless. Cheney has remained a supporter of the war in Iraq.

In the op-ed, the Cheneys accused Obama of undoing the hard-fought gains of troops serving under the previous administration.

"When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge," the Cheneys wrote. "Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

The Democratic National Committee Wednesday blasted an email out to reporters that was critical of the op-ed, saying that the "only rhetoric that needs a dose of reality is Mr. Cheney's."

The op-ed from the former vice president and his daughter Liz came as the two announced the launch of "The Alliance for a Strong America," a non-profit advocacy organization that they say will "advocate for a restoration of American strength and power."

The former vice president will serve as chairman of the new group, with daughter Liz serving as president.

Related: Hoyer: Obama administration 'should be considering' Iraq airstrikes

Former U.S. envoy to Iraq: U.S. needs special forces on ground in Iraq


Filed under: Dick Cheney • Iraq • Liz Cheney • President Obama
soundoff (1,079 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Isn't anyone remotely seeing the truth? Obama enabled the invasion of Iraq. He is a criminal.

    June 18, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. You Got It

    Hey Obama – where's all this government transparency you promised during the election cycle??

    The largest issue appears to be the administration’s handling of Freedom of Information Act requests, according to the report.
    The administration last year cited “national security” to withhold information under the Act 8,496 times - a 57 percent increase from a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year in office, The Associated Press reported.

    The wire service report also found the administration was “more than ever” denying FOIA requests: 36 percent of requests made in 2013 were censored or fully denied. On 196,034 other occasions the government couldn’t find records, the requesting party wouldn’t pay to print copies or the government determined the request was “unreasonable or improper,” the wire service found.

    “I'm concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public's right to know,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

    June 18, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"

    Sorry, but I got this far and ... well, HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA qickly came to mind. Dick Cheney is going to warsplain foreign policy to Barack Obama?

    Yeah. Dick Cheney. Liz Cheney. John McCain. Lindsey Graham. Kelly Ayotte. And so on and so forth. They've all been making oodles of dollars off their little "op eds". Apparently Dick and Liz have a new PAC up and running: An Alliance for a Stronger America.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    June 18, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. texan

    If Iraq was left alone ISIS would not be around?

    June 18, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Republicans only play the blame game because they can't handle the truth.

    June 18, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. bobo

    Obama has simply made the World a more dangerous place....... His Fake Red lines, non-action, non-treats and crazy thinking that these bad people in other countries would actually back off when the U.S. backed down is putting the whole World in jeopardy. Everything going on today could lead to WWIII.

    June 18, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. yeahright

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"

    Wow, it really takes some chutzpah to make a statement like that with a straight face. From the poster child of getting it so wrong at the expense of so many. Why are these media outlets trotting out so many people who got it so completely wrong? Eleven years later and now they're considered experts?

    June 18, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. salty dog

    Never been so wrong, and at the expense of others, if your not insulted, you should be, it takes a certain kind to put a mic in this guys hands. This, the man who sent 4500 patriotic young men and women to their deaths for personal gain, if you listen to anything out of his mouth, its a tragedy, truly is. He has warrants for crimes against humanity, and he has the gull to even open his mouth, speaks volumes, disgraceful CNN, pathetic .

    June 18, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. salty dog

    Didn't his company loose billions in u.s. cash, with no investigation, yet he's more than willing to feed you more BS, no problem, if your dumb enough to listen, he's evil enough to con you.

    June 18, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. MaryM

    Hahahahaha, Cheney ripping Obama on foreign policy, Mr WMD himself. Such fools these journalist are for interviewing the WMD officials

    June 18, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Gotta Be Kidding

    So I thought what was going on in Iraq was fighting between the Sunni and the Shiite for control of the country?!??!? Where does al Qaeda fit into this? The Cheneys are trying to remain relevant when what they should really do is crawl back under their respective rocks! We have no business going back to Iraq. We should have never been there in the first place. All of the previous architects of the Iraq war really have no business on any television, writing any op-eds, or voicing any opinions because they were wrong the first time. How many more American lives should be lost in a fight that has been going on since biblical times! Exactly how long were we supposed to stay in a country that didn't want us there? How do all the "liberated" Iraqis really feel about America? Maybe we should send Dick and Liz over there to ask them?

    June 18, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. enuff

    First, Dick Cheney is not part of the intelligence briefings the President receives any more. Get over it. Second, he never put his own boots on the ground, so throwing a tantrum and demanding it happen again is hypocritical on his part.
    Third, bully tactics only work so long. Cheney's op ed is irrelevant. Has Halliburton's stock gone down?

    June 18, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. Gotta Be Kidding

    texan
    If Iraq was left alone ISIS would not be around?
    _______________________________________________
    EXACTLY!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Drake

    The truth really hurts. Cheney is right and we should have left residual troops. It is going to come back to haunt us. The Islamic call to worship is the prettiest sound Obama ever heard..

    June 18, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. David

    Where do logical thinking citizens believe Asad got all his WMDs from? A Sear's catalogue? In case you couldn't figure this one out.... His fellow Sunni dictator who had no choice but to stash them in the Becca Valley when the sheet hit the fan in Iraq.... Libs are such useful idiots...

    June 18, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Richp14

    cheney complaining about situation in Iraq is like the arsonist complaining about the fire departments response !!

    June 18, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    Isn't anyone remotely seeing the truth? Obama enabled the invasion of Iraq. He is a criminal.
    _____________________
    take your meds, Rick. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush invaded Iraq. Short of making Iraq Texas East as the 51st state, it was inevitable that things would turn out this way. Shoot- Cheney even predicted it back in the Bush the first years.

    Meanwhile- lets play a game- one called REALITY. The Iraqis asked us to leave. We left. Mr. Bush started that in motion.
    Go back to bed.

    June 18, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Ice2424

    "And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" Cheney said then in response to a question.

    "And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq." Dick Cheney (1992).....apparently the man has amnesia....and it's hereditary.

    June 18, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. salty dog

    Oh and don't forget when asked of his weakness, he said it was not being able to find a weakness in himself. 52$ a piece for paper plate, cup and spork, plastic, nice contract dick, how many more like that you holding? Oh, and despite the fact that there were never any WMD, he was proud to say he'd do it all over again, he knows he lied, many gave their lives to this war, based on known lies, and he would do it all over again, how can anyone with SN ounce of compassion put this group in charge again, we can't get our allies to join us in any foreign policy move we want help with, fool me twice, George burnt that bridge too. You have yo have serious mental problems to vote gop, they you your social security and Medicaid is next, so you've been warned.

    June 18, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. yeahright

    Richp14
    cheney complaining about situation in Iraq is like the arsonist complaining about the fire departments response !!

    ------

    That pretty much sums up the GOP on any issue.

    June 18, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Winston Smith

    Not since World War Two, has there been an individual more deserving of being tried for war crimes than Dick Cheney. It's remarkable that so many people have the idea that invasion of a sovereign nation, the killing of many people including American Military personnel and unprecedented torture techniques being used by a civilized nation is a show of leadership. There must be some form of mass delusion taking over the nation, when the likes of people like this are elected to positions of authority. If you voted for and believe in this cretin's style of governance, you are no better than he is. Maybe even worse, since you only have the stomach to have someone else do the dirty work as you calmly watch from the safety of your homes. The next time you look in the mirror, think about this for a second or two.

    June 18, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Such fools these journalist are for interviewing the WMD officials"

    Kinda of brings that transparency thingy to the forefront, doesn't it? The media fawned over these people during the lead up to (and eventual boots on the ground) the war. They fawned over them during the war, giving each of them a soapbox topped spectacular BS flinging extravaganza year after year after year.

    And here they are again, popping up out of the woodwork as ever before jumping up and down with their "chose me, chose me" camera loving get their face on TV war dance.

    Transparency in GOPerville is starting to drag out the truth as never before. I say let each and every one of them talk. There are enough good people who will understand the hypocrisy (and even a few great journalists who will expose that hypocrisy for what it is).

    June 18, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. rs

    Speaking of transparency. Here it is folks- complete proof that no matter what happens, the GOP's brilliant plan is to blame the President of the United States- and threaten impeachment. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush invade Iraq- on a pile of lies (WMDs; "the war will pay for itself"; "it will be over in 6 weeks"; "Mission Impossible"; etc.). They have the blood of 125,000 Iraqi citizens on their hands; they created 2 million Iraqi refugees (that have sewn their dissatisfaction with the U.S. and the war all across the Middle East); they are responsible for the deaths of almost 5,000 of our troops and the maiming of tens of thousands more. All with no plan for paying for the war, finishing the war, or providing for a stable Iraq.

    And for this they blame Obama? Utter insanity!

    The GOP does not care about leadership, patriotism, or any level of morality- just snark. How sad.

    June 18, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Be Sane

    Why isn't this man in jail?

    June 18, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. rs

    David

    Where do logical thinking citizens believe Asad got all his WMDs from? A Sear's catalogue? In case you couldn't figure this one out.... His fellow Sunni dictator who had no choice but to stash them in the Becca Valley when the sheet hit the fan in Iraq.... Libs are such useful idiots...
    _____________________
    And what senile old GOP President sold Mr. Hussein those weapon, genius?

    Answer me this: If the GOP has such a handle on foreign affairs, why are we continually cleaning up the same mess?

    June 18, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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