June 18th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
6 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. Larry in CO

    Cheney should be thrown down on the floor then cuffed and shipped to Gitmo to await trial for treason. I don't understand why this piece of garbage is allowed to speak about anything. I do understand that only a complete idiot would listen to anything he or the shrub (Bush) say.The ONLY thing the US needs to do in Iraq is get out and stay out. The US and to a great extent, the UK have totally screwed up everything in the entire middle east. People need to learn what the CIA did in Iran in August of 1953.( Google 1953 Iran coup). Once you understand that, then it's easy to connect the dots that led to the present regime. American ignorance and British arrogance created the present day problems.

    June 18, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. CryBabies

    Just me......America!

    June 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Doug J.

    This guy should have been impeached. At this point he should be charged for war crimes.

    June 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Glennis

    What!!! Wow! How does Mr. Cheney dare to open his mouth to criticize President Obama when he and Mr. Bush have blood on their hands up to their shoulders? We are only there in the first place because they invaded a country which never attacked us under false pretenses. They created a place for terrorist in Iraq. The blood of every single person who has died in Iraq since 2003 is on their hands. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are truly the worst thing that ever happened to the United States. We broke Iraq, but unfortunately we will never be able to fix it and we can't stay there forever. Eventually, the Iraqi people will have to sort it out. Iraq is Bush and Cheney's Vietnam and they should be ashamed and not have so much audacity.

    June 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. ritmocojo

    When did 'The Penquin' leave the Batman set?

    June 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. mindstorms1

    Did Cheney actually criticize the President with a straight face? I guess he thinks the American public doesn't remember he was one of the chief architects of the blunder to get into Iraq in the first place. It will go down as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders in the history of the United States. Perhaps Cheney and his daughter should go over to Iraq and continue looking for those imaginary WMDs.

    June 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. EPAB

    Crawl back into your swamp, Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Water Faery

    The Cheneys need to go away. Dick Cheney is directly responsible, along with Pres. Bush and others, for the thousands of American dead and the even more thousands wounded in Iraq thru 10 years of war. It is also true that President Bush signed the agreement to reduce our forces in Iraq by 2011, NOT President Obama. It is also true that the Bush Administration lost trillions of dollars in Iraq that could have been used for Americans. If Mr. Cheney is so gung ho on sending US troops, perhaps he needs to go stand a post in Baghdad himself.

    June 18, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. qckslvr

    Dick Cheney is a draft dodging chicken hawk who has no standing in this country.He is the main reason for this disaster in Iraq!

    June 18, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Bubba whitefish

    I thought he was dead

    June 18, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. thinchliff

    It is so weird that there are people that will defend this guy. I suppose it's the same reason why some people could care less about the truth. In fact, they make up their own truth up according to how it suits them.

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. kit76kat

    No surprise here, Dick Cheney lives up to his name! Vultures like him are the reason USA is losing so many great sons and daughters for a lost cause. Let Iraqi sort their things themselves. Choice presented to us are either to support Al Queda or support Iran's puppet. As a tax payer, I would say stay away from the Iraq mess and save our brave sons and daughters. If Dick wants to sell weapons from his company, let his sons and daughters go to war.

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. Michael Carr

    I'm not sure when CNN slipped so far right. In the past I came to this site just to read news, not get an opinion piece buried in every article. Where is ant semblance of parity in this store by offering Jay Carney's response in his last press briefing as White House Press Secretary? Where is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's response on the Senate floor? I have to say, over the past few weeks I feel like I on Fox Lite when I come here. May be asking too much, but I'm looking for plain, unvarnished news without a political slant. Michael Carr

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. VG

    It was Bush and Cheney who created to mess at the cost of the American people. Thosands of American lost their lives and become disabled due to arrogance and miscalculations of Republicans. Now the nerve they have to talk non-sense.

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. mike

    Bush and Cheney won Irag, Obama has now lost it!

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Nik

    Mr. Cheney,

    Maybe if you didn't go in there and create the power vacuum in the first place, and then negotiated to a deadline for troop withdrawal this wouldn't have happened. We weren't welcome anymore. Iraq made that clear and now they are reaping the consequences of that decision.

    June 18, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Big Ben

    This man needs to be turned over to Iraq and put on trial for war crimes! This family is the most evil family in America. This is the man that made up the lies to trick the American people into war.

    June 18, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Dean

    Apparently, Dick Cheney forgot that it was George Bush who signed the agreement to get all of the U.S. troops out of Iraq.
    Cheney is an idiot. It was his lies that got the U.S. into the Iraq war in the first place. In that war, we lost 5,000 troops, and spent over a Trillion Dollars.
    Anything that Cheney says is to be dismissed, as he is a proven moron.

    June 18, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. lucian samual

    Five deferments during the Viet Nam war, a war that he support, but he "had more important things to due". One of the architect's of the incompetent Iraq occupation.
    What happened to those "five" that took his place in the draft?

    June 18, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Wes Stevens

    So Cheney got us into this mess, and instead of being put to death as a one of the worst war criminals and a disgusting traitor to boot is gloating and getting airtime telling someone else what to do? Am I the only one that sees the irony?

    June 18, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Lew

    With this op-ed Dick Cheney has achieved the absolute pinnacle of irrelevance. If his object in this was the offical sanctioning of a name change to Dick Who, he has indeed retired from the radar screen with one last (or is it first?)victory.

    June 18, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Stan

    "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." Dick Cheney commenting on the Iraqi insurgency, June 20, 2005

    June 18, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. reldra

    The Alliance for a Strong America= Cheney whining he and his cronies will make less money in Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. mike

    Because Reid and Pelosi refused to support our government (whether they were right or wrong), over 4,000 of our troops lost their lives. That's right, they are more to blame than Bush or Cheney. Had they supported the president the war would have been over, our troops would have been home years ago.

    June 18, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Namejjj

    He got rich off the Iraq war. Halliburton, ring a bell?

    June 18, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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