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. BC

    He's a hawk. He wants to use military force in every situation, and commit us to wars without end. I'm sure if he was in charge we would be in a full scale war in Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eastern Ukraine, Cuba, Venezuela, China and Russia. Let's attack all the bad guys in the world and show them America is #1! We're the good guys and we are here to save the world!

    June 18, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Molly

    Advice from Dick Cheney? Give me a break!!! Without him neither the U.S. nor the poor Iraqis would be in this mess. Short Memory.... is it is age???

    June 18, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Hawk760

    You have got to be kidding me! CNN, why in the world would anyone allow this to be on your pages...

    "A war criminal and his daughter:

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." -Liz and Dick Cheney

    That's Obama they're talking about. Seriously

    Is there anything more telling that the mainstream media has lost it's collective mind?!!??!!!?

    Wolfowitz/Brennen/Cheney/Feith/ all over the "news media" giving us their ideas on Iraq?!?!?!??!!!

    It's insane!!!!

    June 18, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. John Paul

    Cheney is lucky that big money and lifetime security persuaded Scooter Libby to fall on his sword for then VP Cheney after the Valerie Plane(?) debacle. And Bush commuted Libby's sentence after his conviction. Everything Cheney has done, is doing, and will do is so decidedly against everything America stands that it defies belief. But he was always like this going all the way back to his draft dodging days during the Vietnam War.

    June 18, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. DH

    "Gertrude of Arabia" created this problem in 1911 due to oil in Babylon.
    She installed a puppet government and rigged the election.

    She re-drew the regions tribal boundries and named it Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Gunderson

    Wow,' Confused Pain and MNclownfactory, Sorry but facts are hard to dispute, Eh? Now Pain I can stand most of your guff but when you say I need to get rid of my coloring books you are stepping into dangerous territory !!! And to be sure old Gunderson don't make the news, old Gunderson just report News. Poll maybe not exactly correct. More like negative 37 percent. But lead on, you might strike gold yet!

    June 18, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Ruth

    I don't know what he's standing on because it can't be a leg.

    June 18, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    War criminals who escape generally give a sigh of twisted relief and go into hiding.
    Why does the US glorify them as twisted experts of some sort?
    I guess this goes along with criminal rancher heroes and Tea Party enthusiast police shooters in Las Vegas.
    The conservative movement in this country speaks for itself very clearly.

    June 18, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. avlisk

    Talk about fish in a barrel. Isn't it about time we started to look for things that Obama has done to help the US? Every time he rolls out of bed, the Nation is in more peril due to his anti-American policies. I think it's about time we cut him some slack, gave him a break, and pointed out the good that he does. Yes, I am funny..

    June 18, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. John Paul

    Cheney is fortunate that Scooter Libby fell on his sword for him after the Valerie Plane(?) debacle. Bush then commuted Libby's sentence. Everything Cheney has done, is doing, and will do go against everything being an American stands for. He was always like this going back to when he dodged the draft during the Vietnam conflict.

    June 18, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Ace

    Cheneys will always fight to the last drop of YOUR blood.

    June 18, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Ken in MO

    Cheney is a criminal and needs to keep his mouth shut. He is an embarrassement to our country. He is the single biggest reason that the world no longer trusts the US. He took from us the one thing we had...we do what is right and moral. We do not torture or lie to go into war. We do not have secret prisons. We do not detain people without trial or representation. He should be ashamed of himself. He should be tried as a war criminal.

    June 18, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Tony

    I suspect but cannot confirm that certain parties including Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rove recommended that the then U.S. Commander in Chief disband and disarm the Iraqi Armed Forces in 2003. I also suspect others including General Powell and Ms. Rice may have advised strongly against that strategic decision. The terrible result was a nearly identical repeat of Viet Nam. Senior civilian leaders completely ignored/disregarded the lessons of the past that were well documented and those same persons should acknowledge responsibility for the terrible consequences continuing from 2003 to present.

    June 18, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Luc

    Got to love this guy he is ripping Obama on Iraq meanwhile we shouldn't of been there in the first place. If Bush and Cheney wouldn't of lied about weapons of mass destruction the USA would still be at home plus 4000 troops that wouldn't of died. Got to love this guy.

    June 18, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Dave

    Iraq was stable until these nut jobs messed it up.

    June 18, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. a

    Neither political party offers a competent leader. But Cheney's invasion of Iraq created the vacuum that allows for all the problems today. How many deaths (US military and Iraqi civilians) are attributable to his lies and greed? How many US service men and women suffer physical and psychology injuries because of Cheney? We are a nation of uneducated people who follow blindly.

    June 18, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. cleareye1

    A well publicized Cheney reminding us of the severe incompetence of his administration is a Godsend to the Democrats. He must be some kind of mole? Consider this, he's draft dodger that has only served himself his entire career and he has the gall to criticize a man that has rescued this country from the Cheney/Bush debacle. He cannot be sane.

    June 18, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Pandamonius

    So, the GOtP has been ripping Obama forever about not getting out of Iraq sooner, and now they rip him for getting out too soon.

    I pity the GOtP. They used to stand for something, they had a solid platform built on their beliefs and convictions. Now they don't stand for anything at all. They've abandoned their own beliefs and principles to simply stand against whatever Obama is for.

    June 18, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. JJ

    He never risked his own life, but was eager to send thousands of others to their death.

    Nobody needs to listen to this demented old man anymore.

    June 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. mmm

    Sometimes I think that they are worried that they will be hunted down, tortured and murdered by al-queda. I would
    be worried about the same thing if I were them. Karma is known to be harsh on those who deserve it. Or, maybe we
    are hearing from an old man who suddenly worries about his afterlife...the Iraq war could not be his selfish, money making pursuit in which many thousands died and suffered...that may be considered a discretion against Gods will. Oh no...where will he wind up after he dies? I cannot imagine the horror he faces. Probably why he keep getting replacement hearts. He must be absolutely terrified to die.

    June 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. MJW

    Expected no less from them.She turned on her own sister just to get elected what do you you expect? Father has no choice but to remind us of why we dislike him. He would like to be relevant since he knows history has condemmed him as the worst vice president in American history and it will always be that way.

    Between Cheney and McCain I don't know which one is like the boy who cries wolf too much. Most people with common sense have tuned them out. If the President was as vindictive and hateful as they are Cheney and the gang who got us in Iraq under false pretence would be in jail right now. At Cheney's age he should be praying for peace so he could end his later years peacefully but he seems to be tormented.

    June 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." It could have just as easily been, "I was so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." Cheney has no credibility!

    June 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "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."
    It never could have happened without you, Dick. When did al Qaeda strike the US? On your watch. When did al Qaeda gain a foothold in Iraq? After YOUR invasion. NONE of this would be happening this way without your war, Dick.

    June 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Joann Redmond

    "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." I don't know....didn't President Bush just sit quietly in his little kindergarten chair AFTER his aide said the US was under attack??? Just sat there! I really think the kids all would have understood if Bush leapt up and ran out of there with some sort of excuse to not cause too much alarm to little ones. But geez! Just sit there and enjoy the story, George. We'll take care of it.

    June 18, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"
    --------------------------------–
    TRANSLATION:
    "I'm really ticked off over the fact that Pres. Obama has shut down money siphon to Haliburton. He's literally shut us out of Afghanistan. Our gravy train has been completely derailed under Obama."

    June 18, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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