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. drake mallard

    is this the same Dick Cheney that said "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." when asked about his deferments

    Dick Cheney had a different view of invading Iraq in 1994, as evident in this discussion of the first Iraq war, a war where he was the Secretary
    of Defense.

    After you take down Saddam Hussain's government, he asks, "then what are you gonna put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government in Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off... it's a quagmire ... if you try to take over Iraq... How many additional American causalities was Saddam worth? Our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right."

    “President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq…

    On at least 532 separate occasions, Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both.”

    On July 2004, the Republican majority led Senate Select Committee released the Intelligence Senate Report on Iraqi WMD Intelligence, which identified numerous failures in intelligence gathering and “analysis” (i.e., interpretation). However, Republicans defended the Bush administration’s statements on Iraq.

    An investigation into the administration’s use of the intelligence was delayed for three years due to Republicans claiming it wasn’t as important (Senator Roberts, R-KS) as other pending items. Phase two of the investigation was released in 2007, but not all of the report was released. It determined, “our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”

    Cheney's Halliburton Made $39.5 Billion on Iraq War

    According to the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the level of corruption by defense contractors may be as high as $60 billion. Disciplined soldiers that would traditionally do many of the tasks are commissioned by private and publicly listed companies.

    Even without the graft, the costs of paying for these services are higher than paying governement employees or soldiers to do them because of the profit motive involved. No-bid contracting – when companies get to name their price with no competing bid – didn't lower legitimate expenses. (Despite promises by President Barack Obama to reel in this habit, the trend toward granting favored companies federal contracts without considering competing bids continued to grow, by 9 percent last year, according to the Washington Post.)

    Even though the military has largely pulled out of Iraq, private contractors remain on the ground and continue to reap U.S. government contracts. For example, the U.S. State Department estimates that taxpayers will dole out $3 billion to private guards for the government's sprawling embassy in JIN Baghdad.

    The costs of paying private and publicly listed war profiteers seem miniscule in light of the total bill for the war.

    June 18, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. rs

    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.
    ________________________
    Hear, hear. The greatest gift of cooperation Mr. Obama gave the GOP after the election was not arresting Bush and Cheney as international war criminals. This is how they repay him. These are sick and evil individuals.

    June 18, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Gunderson

    Huh?,
    Foreign Policy? I think that is at the Texas Arizona Border. Or maybe it is in the Obama Care Web Site. Smile folks, your Fearless Leader is in charge! What could go wrong? And if all else fails, take an illegal to lunch!

    June 18, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. 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 talking points 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 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. drake mallard

    bush calls Saddam 'the guy who tried to kill my dad'

    Is Bush's Iraq Stance Rooted in Revenge Just one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — and only
    five days after the war in Afghanistan had begun — President Bush
    signaled his determination to confront Saddam Hussein next.

    The study’s conclusions were further reinforced when former Bush White House press secretary Scott McClellan wrote, “top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war… In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage.”

    According to the study, then President George W Bush made 232 false statements about Iraq and former leader Saddam Hussein’s possessing weapons of mass destruction, and 28 false statements about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda.

    “President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq…

    On at least 532 separate occasions, Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both.”

    On July 2004, the Republican majority led Senate Select Committee released the Intelligence Senate Report on Iraqi WMD Intelligence, which identified numerous failures in intelligence gathering and “analysis” (i.e., interpretation). However, Republicans defended the Bush administration’s statements on Iraq.

    An investigation into the administration’s use of the intelligence was delayed for three years due to Republicans claiming it wasn’t as important (Senator Roberts, R-KS) as other pending items. Phase two of the investigation was released in 2007, but not all of the report was released. It determined, “our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence.”

    June 18, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Bill

    These two clowns join the gaggle of other neo-cons, who in these last few days, are blasting the president, calling for bombing and troops on the ground. They must think the American peope are as stupid as the shrinking base that listens to this drivel. Their policies are garbage and people do not listen to you anymore Dicky. Nor you Ms. failed senatorial candidate. Go away – go hunting, go fishing, get e valve replacement; just go away.

    June 18, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Malory Archer

    rs

    Hear, hear. The greatest gift of cooperation Mr. Obama gave the GOP after the election was not arresting Bush and Cheney as international war criminals. This is how they repay him. These are sick and evil individuals.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He didn't acquit them either, and there's no statute of limitations on war crimes (ask the former Nazis who are STILL being arrested), so it's not too late!

    June 18, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Jojola

    Who cares what Satan and his daughter thinks. I agree with Rachel Maddow, why on earth is the media turning to those who were complete failures in decision making concerning "Weapons of Mass Destruction" fraud and the Iraq war? Satan and his emps are clearly responsible for what's happening in Iraq and they know this (media included). So, why all of a sudden the media is displaying them as "experts" in critiquing President Obama’s decision? All President Obama is doing (and has been doing throughout his entire presidency) is cleaning up after the astronomical mess Bush/Cheney administration has put this entire country in and now they (media included) expect us to believe what they say? Really?????????

    June 18, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. rs

    Gunderson

    Huh?,
    Foreign Policy? I think that is at the Texas Arizona Border. Or maybe it is in the Obama Care Web Site. Smile folks, your Fearless Leader is in charge! What could go wrong? And if all else fails, take an illegal to lunch!
    __________________________
    Look at a map- Texas doesn't touch Arizona. As far as border security goes- Texas is where the majority of illegals enter (so, like it's really Perry's and Cruz's fault perhaps).
    Gundy- you should drop the faux accent- it only makes you already stupid statements more stupid.

    June 18, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Chris-E...al

    Admittingly no doubt most all these ppl in the mideast are quacks right no news here ? And repubs have been crying from the mountain tops for years to get our energy needs in order but the quacks on the left have fought it tooth an nail at ever turn the gains we have made we had to fight in court to get ? Dems seem to be worried about rich oil men and minnows more than our sucurity . Insane ? Yes .

    June 18, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. drake mallard

    hey dick i f you don't remember when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague.”

    As is widely reported, Hussein used these chemical weapons against Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war.

    After the 1991 Gulf War, U.N. inspectors “compiled long lists of chemicals, missile components, and computers from American suppliers, including such household names as Union Carbide and Honeywell, which were being used for military purposes” in Iraq.

    There was no al Qaeda in Iraq before your invasion. Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were mortal enemies.

    In 2006, while Bush was still president, a National Intelligence Estimate found that the war in Iraq increased Islamic radicalism and worsened the terror threat to the United States. Last March, the New York Times looked back on the 10 years in Iraq since Bush invaded with promises of fighting terrorism and bringing a model of democracy that would serve as a beacon for the rest of the Middle East. The paper reported, “The most depressing measure of the failure may lie in the voices of ordinary Iraqis who tell reporters that they wish Iraq could return to the way it was under Saddam, for all its miseries.”

    How about in 2007, when the U.S. negotiated with Sunni insurgent leaders in Iraq to get them to stop bombing U.S. troops and join the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq? We bribed them. We paid them off. And if you Google the statements of various U.S. officials back in 2005-2006, they were insulted when the U.S. media referred to the Sunnis as insurgents. No, those officials insisted, they’re terrorists!

    June 18, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory"? Why wasn't Cheney uttering those words in 1975 as the Viet Cong/North Vietnamese overran Saigon? Oh, yeah, he was the White House Chief of Staff at the time. Hypocrite...

    June 18, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Rockymtnhi

    Cheney needs to be prosecuted along with his vice Bush for all the people they killed. This man is a bad example for teh United States and never served a moment from all his waivers to military service. It is no surprise the republican party stands behind this man cause they all stand for the same: White 1% men ruling the world for oil and profits in their pockets. This man is shameful.

    June 18, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. charles

    If anyone knows how to screw-up Iraq, Dick Cheney would be the one. Along with his side kick, GWB, they screwed the pooch royally in Iraq. Those poor people don't deserve the fate consigned them by the Bush/Cheney administration.

    June 18, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. JohnRJohnson

    There are actually people in this country who listen to these two.

    June 18, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. longtimer

    Chris-E...al

    Admittingly no doubt most all these ppl in the mideast are quacks right no news here ? And repubs have been crying from the mountain tops for years to get our energy needs in order but the quacks on the left have fought it tooth an nail at ever turn the gains we have made we had to fight in court to get ? Dems seem to be worried about rich oil men and minnows more than our sucurity . Insane ? Yes .
    _______________________
    The first step to security from the Middle East is to stop exporting oil from the United States to ensure OUR energy needs are met.

    June 18, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Jojola
    Who cares what Satan and his daughter thinks. I agree with Rachel Maddow, why on earth is the media turning to those who were complete failures in decision making concerning "Weapons of Mass Destruction" fraud and the Iraq war?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I'm glad they're doing it so close to the mid-terms and hope they do it again in 2016. Their presence will remind ALL thinking Americans of the damage their ilk did to America's sons & daughters, and the economic damage they inflicted on the nation as a whole (President Obama's '$7-trillion increase in debt' lies squarely on the reds' backs, as THEY and THEY ONLY kept TWO WARS and Medicare Part-D off the books, and HE included them so America could get the REAL picture, yet somehow that $7-trillion debt that incurred before he was even a Senator is his fault). Some intrepid Dem campaign managers should play these clips then remind Americans that these same people don't think we should rescue soldiers in the hands for foreign enemies.

    June 18, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. rs

    Malory Archer

    rs

    Hear, hear. The greatest gift of cooperation Mr. Obama gave the GOP after the election was not arresting Bush and Cheney as international war criminals. This is how they repay him. These are sick and evil individuals.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He didn't acquit them either, and there's no statute of limitations on war crimes (ask the former Nazis who are STILL being arrested), so it's not too late!
    ____________________
    Hmmmm. So perhaps using one of their favorite tools (rendition) in reverse- say flying B & C to the Hague....?

    June 18, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. iknowzeroaboutsports

    Haha. That administration takes a giant dump on the middle east and then criticizes the guy sent in to clean it up. "You missed a spot." Lolz.

    June 18, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. GatorDude

    Considering that one of the first major victories in the Global War on Terror was in Tours, France, in 732 A.D., I think we need to adopt a long view of the conflict. I expect that the west will be fighting against Islamic Terror for the next 2500 years–unless an Islamic nuclear bomb is detonated–in which case the war could be over in an hour or less. We do have a strategic and humanitarian interest in preventing the establishment of a radical Sunni Caliphate that even Al Queda condemns for brutality. Economy of forces suggests that we use a minimum of our own forces, but we should try to prevent ISIS from taking over Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Susan

    I'm sorry, I must have missed it. Does Mr Obama have a foreign policy?

    June 18, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Let's prosecute W

    This coming from someone who never donned the uniform. Did we really have to prolong this waste of human life with a new heart?!

    June 18, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. danishdude

    "Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory"? Why didn't Dick Cheney utter those words in 1975 as the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese overran Saigon? Oh, yeah... His party was in power and he was the Deputy White House Chief of Staff, then the WH Chief of Staff. Hypocrite...

    June 18, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Rich

    Dick Cheney believes that killing thousands of people and spending trillions of dollars on a devastating war is good foreign policy. He is much of the reason Iraq is having so much turmoil now. He should be tried for treason. Criticism from the vile Cheneys is the best complement Obama could get. Dick and his despicable daughter should have stayed under the rock they slithered out from under.

    June 18, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. vic , nashville ,tn

    First I have to thanks to Mr. Dick giving some materials to late nigh show and daily show with Jon Stewart

    we will welcomes his ideas but not for war ( Not from war criminal)

    June 18, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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