June 18th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
1 month 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. stan lightner

    I'm no fan of McCain, but he was not responsible for the fire on board the Forestall. There is an excellent video of the fire available on YouTube and you should watch it.

    BTW, I first saw it while I was attending a Navy fire fighting school when I served on the carrier USS Coral Sea CV-43.

    June 18, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. cynthia

    It doesn't matter whether we agree or disagree with Cheney.. if you look at what is happening there is clearly a problem. There are people out there who will die to see others dead first.. the ONLY way to stop them is to kill them. Historically the human race has always had people with no souls.. who are dangerous to the peaceful people of the world. We joke that Politicians and Lawyers are in that group, but really, SERIOUSLY it is a legitimate group that we have no choice but to destroy. You would euthanize a rabid pit bull, but you let a soul-less militant live? I hate killing under any circumstances but there is no denying that there are evil people out there who do need to be removed from this world by military means. Let them play in the next world instead of our world!

    June 18, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh Gundy, Gundy, Gundy. How wrong can you be to assume that the people on here were not around when we used an entire generation of Iraqis to kill off Iranians. I remember it very well, and the cynical response of the GOP, neocon establishment was that it served as a means to an end. Clearly you don't remember the realpolitik being followed by Reagan, where we propped up murderous dictatorships because they served as useful bulworks against whomever we had a problem with. You casual glossing over of the long-term consequences of the Neocons is indicative of your ignorance or your twisted ideology, an ideology that excuses millions of deaths provided it gets you what you want in the short term. Please keep babbling, though, its amusing to watch how delusional and out of your depth you really are.

    June 18, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. yerkiddinright

    Good idea. Let's ask the man with the least credibility on the subject of Iraq in the entire world what he thinks. What did you expect?

    June 18, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Contrary to what the reds think, we've NEVER had a cohesive foreign policy. We prop up the Shia in Iraq and a few other nations at the expense of the Sunnis, yet we prop up the Sunnis in Bahrain and other nations at the expense of the Shia. Best policy is to get America's alternative energy infrastructure up and running, tell them to eat their oil, then pull out of the mid-east and let them continue their race back to the stone age.

    June 18, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Jed

    The chaos happening in Iraq was predicted when 41 was president. He was told that if Saddam was removed the country would break up into different factions thus providing further chaos. Cheney was SecDef at that time and heard the same briefing. Now if 41 had enough sense to not attack it is beyond imagination as to why VP Cheyney and 43 would do so.

    June 18, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. garymac

    Agreed Calamity Jane...This is one guy who should have rejected his own heart

    June 18, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. TinFLA

    I guess this one is about to be censored out but why would anyone listen, care, believe anything this dumb ass has to say. He along with Bush were clue less. From 9-11 – end of their term. They got everything WRONG!

    June 18, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. MacNCheese

    "Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

    What " Jaws" of victory is he talking about?

    The only administration with victory on their hands is Obama since Bin ladin is dead and he hasn't caused another great recession with help from more rethuglicans trying to fool him into de-regulating things that need to be regulated for a reason!

    June 18, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Bobby Love

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

    Wow! What a short memory Cheney has!

    June 18, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. TONE

    The Words of terrorist, and war criminal that hurt Americans is being published by CNN what a joke.

    June 18, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. mcklapp

    I don't know what is more surprising/disappointing. Is it that Dick Cheney thinks he has something to say about the worst foreign policy President in history, or the fact that the so-called liberal media is not laughing this loser off the stage.

    After lying to start a war and bungling every single step along the way (disbanding the Iraqi military really just starts the list), this doddering old dinosaur still feels his failed vision of strategy has any relevance. What's worse is that so few are able or willing to call him yet again on his lies and delusions.

    June 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Marcus

    Thats like the pot calling the kettle black. If it wasn't for Cheney and Baby Bush, we wouldn't have been there in the first place. A total exercise in futility. Like those expenseive Washington think tanks couldn't have foreseen this?

    June 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. JLR

    I see a potential compromise. We can carpet bomb Iraq with the Cheney's.

    June 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Tony Z

    And Iraq is our problem??? Why? Should we continue to waste millions/billions on foreign land. Things will settle down and be okay. We are foolish to think America can solve everyone's problems. Thanks to Cheney over VA is no overrun. Many Americans have lost their lives for what?

    Stop playing checkers people this is a chess match.

    June 18, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. windycitywind

    this coming from the guy who fabricated the lies that brought us into war......this man really is a despicable waste of a human being

    June 18, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. yerkiddinright

    I remember a chorus of Republicans claiming that Obama deserved no credit for ending the war in Iraq in 2011 claiming that it was part of the Bush administration's plan all along. Now it's Obama's fault for abandoning Iraq. So many conservatives seem to have earned a PhD (which stands for "piled higher and deeper") in revisionist history.

    June 18, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Bill

    I suppose if the Cheney's had ANY credibility on ANYTHING this would be relevant, but they don't so it isn't. I really hope the next time I see a headline with the word 'Cheney' with it, it's the war criminal's obituary.

    June 18, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. hayden

    So, the man that planned the Iraq invasions BEFORE Bush was even elected as President, the man who LIED to the American people and the Congress about terrorists in Iraq, the man who LIED to the American people and Congress about weapons of mass destruction now blames all the current problems on Obama? WOW what chutzpah!!!! Will Neocons never learn from their mistakes? They are all over Fox "news" blaming everyone but themselves. They should have known going into Iraq was a huge mistake. But the goal was to kill the guy who threatened Bush's daddy and to get access to Iraq's oil. Most experts predicted that the country would eventually end up in a civil war, but NEOCONs wouldn't listen. Oh all another mess for someone else to clean up.

    June 18, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. 21st Century Patriot

    Cheney was wrong, lying, or delusional about the premise for starting the disastrous war, and about connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda. He is wrong, lying, or delusional that its outcome was a "victory". My pet hamster has a better grasp of the world than this war criminal. They Cheneys should just crawl into a hole and shut up.

    June 18, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. Leede

    Its more like French Foreign policy.
    Q: Why did the French plant trees along the Champs Elysees?
    A: So the Germans could march in the shade.

    June 18, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. gale

    Bush started this fire and left this mess. If you could impeach a past president...we should. He was a disaster to our country and to the Middle East. Cheney is not credible .

    June 18, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Rarely? I thought it was just last President?

    June 18, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Gretchen

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." Oh, was he talking about Bush? Take a little credit here Mr. Cheney for your part of the initial reason we were & are in this quagmire. You and your cronies made off big time there, buckeroo.

    Who even validates this war criminal's opinion anyway?

    June 18, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Harvey Paul

    What a pathetic attempt to blame others for your screw ups! There were PLENTY of people (including Sec. Powell) that told you that if you break it you own it....How conveniently we rewrite the history. The court at Neuremburg would have hanged Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Franks and Perlmen. I'd keep a low profile if I were them!

    June 18, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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