June 18th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
2 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. Rudy NYC

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," the 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."
    ---------------------–
    You know, I am not one to openly criticize the media, but enough is enough. Republicans and right wing are pretending that the SOFA treaty signed by Pres. Bush in 2008 never existed, and the media is an active and willing participant in this historical rewrite. Pres. Bush signed the treaty calling for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011.

    Malaki wanted us out of the country, and refused to sign a new SOFA. At the time, Republicans had argued that we should stay, anyway. Had we stayed without a signed SOFA treaty, we would have been an occupying army in a foreign country.

    June 18, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. fewre34

    When Clinton makes a foreign policy mistake on her 2nd term in office, Democrats will still try to change the subject to Bush & Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. mike v

    shares of haliburton must be falling...this guy should be tortured & hung for what he has done to this country. EVIL EVIL GREEDYMAN RIGHT HERE

    June 18, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. SW

    Can someone explain to me how Dick Cheney or anyone in the Bush Administration has any credibility on what should be done in Iraq? Why are these chickenhawks even getting airtime, they've got as much credibility on this issue (maybe even less) than if we were to ask Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton about it.

    June 18, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Sweets Willie

    Iraq was stable under Saddam Hussein. The US created the hell that is going on. There were NO terrorist in Iraq under Saddam and no bombings, ever. Syria and Lybia will look like Iraq also because the US overthrew Kaddafi and is overthrowing Assad. Russia has it right, supporting Assad because Syria was stable before the US started funding the rebel groups overthrowing Assad. The US is so stupid, 18 trillion in debt and doing the same thing to get even more in debt!!

    June 18, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. LouAZ

    "The statesmen who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer a master of policy, but a slave to unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” – Winston Churchill

    June 18, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. cal usa

    I'll accept (reluctantly) that Dick Cheney will not be indicted and tried for his role in creating the war that cost so many American and Iraqui lives and that introduced Al Quaida to Iraq. Can we at least have the news media ignore him and his evil spawn when they decide they did not do enough damage? What value can any advice from these two have for the country?

    June 18, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. crabman1

    if cheney had a real thought we might not be in this mess now

    June 18, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Than Tran

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

    Is he talking about GWB or himself?

    June 18, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. rafterman11

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

    Like Bush was so wrong at the expense of so many (3000 US soldiers dead, thousands more maimed and thousands of Iraqi civilians dead and wounded)?

    June 18, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Susan
    I'm sorry, I must have missed it. Does Mr Obama have a foreign policy?
    ----------–
    You mean the policy that has brought terrorists to justice or seen them dead unlike Bush?
    You mean the policy that has stopped domestic terrorist attacks (except form the Tea Party) unlike Bush?
    You mean the policy that brought soldiers home form a previous War that Bush caused?
    Yes he does – it is called Diplomacy. As opposed to the NeoCon policy of "bomb stuff".

    June 18, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "Clearly Cheney is not big on irony."

    That allele is entirely absent from the conservative genome. They can't detect irony if you shoved it up their nostrils.

    June 18, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Ski

    " "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 Cheneys, and most Republicans, are now trying to re-write history: It was the Bush administration who brought Nouri al-Maliki (a Shiite triumphalist with very strong ties to Iran) to power in Iraq. Under al-Maliki's rule, Sunnis have been continually repressed and disenfranchised in Iraq. Al-Malaki's actions have played directly into ISIS' strategy and encouraged the sectarian violence we're now seeing. Secondly, it was Bush, not Obama, who signed the Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq in 2008. That Agreement called for the withdrawal of all US forces by the end of 2011. So, Bush made that call before Obama was even in office in 2009.

    June 18, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. judith

    That this old viper is criticizing Obama is simply beyond the pale. He and his neo-cons wanted the Iraq war and it had nothing to do with WMD's, only about their lust for power and desire to reorder the Middle East. They destroyed it and created all of the chaos and death that has occurred.

    June 18, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Lamanzo

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," – Seriously? What about the President who sent us into that place to begin with?

    June 18, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Sniffit

    Anyhoo...my Who-Gives-A-Crap-O-Meter just went into the red. Darth Cheney criticizing anyone on foreign policy is like Jeffrey Dahmer criticizing someone's eating habits. Enough already.

    June 18, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. carlos

    Mr Dick should be try for lying to the American people and having much blood in his hands. I can't believed he as the guts to bring his own daughter who is nothing besides to talk about Iraq. Obama as been dealing with 2 wars and with the almost dead economy when the Bush's walk away from power.I would like to know Mr. Dick bank accounts in foreign Banks?
    This men makes money in blood and should be try for that.

    June 18, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Paul

    I am surprised that Cheney was never prosecuted for misleading the US into going to war in Iraq. He was the real brains behind this fiasco.Now he has the gall to criticize Obama for trying to deal with his mess. How much money did his company Haliburton make off the blood of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens? Now there's an investigation the American public would like to see.

    June 18, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. nuffSaid

    Gosh, what were the Cheneys saying a year ago ?
    Opportunistic kibbitzing to cover for the tide of criticism of Cheney and Bush for going there in the first place.
    Nothing here.

    June 18, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  20. Tom l

    Lux,
    That's all the hardcore right and the gang will do, unfortunately. They are only about their team (dems and repubs) and scoring political points. It's just that simple.

    June 18, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. Silence DoGood

    Why are we listening to one of the authors of one the worst foreign policy moves in US history?
    Maybe we can all up the Enron execs to school us on business ethics next.

    June 18, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  22. Qi

    How can people support this psycho. He sold out his own country for profit and has blood on his hands...

    June 18, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Skeptic

    The guy responsible for the FUBAR in Iraq is attacking Obama? That would be funny, if it weren't so absurd.

    June 18, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. drake mallard

    If you all would recall, it was the Republicans who cut the security budget for overseas Embassies. So really who is to blame?. I personally blame them all for being so callous and uncaring for those who serve this country in foreign lands.

    The administration's harshest critics from across the aisle are being dishonest with the way the have been rewriting the history of the War in Iraq. Critics blame Pres. Obama for withdrawing forces from Iraq in 2011. What they are not telling you is that Pres. Obama was complying with the 2008 SOFA agreement signed by Pres. Bush, which was an agreement to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq by 2011.

    At the time of the withdrawal, critics howled that we should not be leaving. Unfortunately, the agreement that Bush had signed required us to do so, and the Iraqis were pretty resistant to extending our stay. Critics at the time said that the SOFA agreement didn't matter, and that we should stay anyway. These are the same critics who are rewriting history by blaming Pres. Obama for our withdrawal from Iraq, which I am glad we did. That religious civil war is not our fight.

    June 18, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "Republicans and right wing are pretending that the SOFA treaty signed by Pres. Bush in 2008 never existed"

    And yet, when we pulled most of our troops out and ended our occupation, they ran around screaming and yelling that Dubya deserved all the credit and Obama did nothing.

    June 18, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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