June 18th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
9 years 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."

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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. scarf

    I want to hear McCain, Cheney, et al openly say that they are comfortable leaving American military personnel subject to Iraqi courts. It was Baghdad's insistence on that condition that torpedoed any chance that American forces would remain in Iraq. I suspect that, if Obama had accepted that condition, and one American soldier had been prosecuted by Iraq and thrown into an Iraqi prison, they would all be screaming about how stupid Obama was to accept such a condition.

    June 18, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. salty dog

    So, killing nearly 5,000 Americans, maiming tens of thousands more, killing even more Iraq citizens, all for personal gain is a victory, that's some real critical thinking alright, no wonder you vote gop, your clueless .

    June 18, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Mike Hunt

    Henry Kissinger is looking pretty good right now.

    June 18, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Bananas

    Wow, just wow! What a charming pair they make, the Iron pussycat and the Joker. What a morbidly sickening duet.

    June 18, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Hughiewis

    Do you think Dick's parents knew what kind of person he would become when they named him?

    June 18, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Maggie Moo

    I agree that Cheny and Bush should be tried as war criminals at The Hague. One would think he would quietly disappear like his puppet Bush has. He is the one who needs to answer for the thousands of deaths in Iraq, as well as destabilizing the entire country. Cheney is evil incarnate..

    June 18, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. boB

    President Bush signed a bill, into law, requiring that all troops be removed from Iraq by 2011. All Obama did was comply and is now being vilified by the dysfunctional right wing for complying. Talk about ignoring the truth. Of course, Cheney never cared about integrity or honesty, stealing billions from our government, as Haliburton stole government contracts, by acquiring non competitive contracts from the government.

    June 18, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. mike cassidy

    It is hard to express the absolute hypocrisy in any foreign policy comments Cheney makes. Without a doubt , he was the single most "evil" VP we have ever had. He listened and heard only what he wanted to hear, either from Defense industry suppliers or like minded neo's. The truth about Iraq, was that EVRYTHING Bush and Cheney said at the outset was either a lie or wrong. History is proving that as we speak. The actions taken by those 2 have cost this country trillions, will continue to do so to assist the ten's of thousand injured, and maimed soldiers, not to mention their families, and the lives lost. Let's not forget the absolute contempt with which the US is held as a result of Iraq.
    His solution, more troops into combat is beyond stupid. This is a civil war disguised as a religious war, and it should be no surprise given the history of Malaki. They want us there, only to continue to steal our dollars.

    June 18, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. John

    Republicans won't fix our crumbling infrastructure but they'll put up our tax dollars to fight fruitless wars.

    June 18, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. UMMMMM

    Of Course the former CEO of Halliburton would want endless war.

    June 18, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Tom l

    Rudy said:

    "Pres. Bush signed the treaty calling for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011."

    Rudy is clearly a bigot and a racist and can't stand giving credit for the withdrawal from Iraq as the Obama success that everyone on here keeps telling everyone. Weird. So Rudy, are you saying that this withdrawal was already set and Obama really had nothing to do with us getting out of there because that's exactly what you just said
    Yes, tom, that's exactly what I said. Pres. Bush signed the treaty for the complete withdrawal from Iraq. Back in 2011, Republicans were running around yelling that Bush should get the credit for ending the Iraq War, not Pres. Obama, for that very exact reason.

    Your continued lack of respect, morals, and class is noted. Do you really think that making unmitigated, offensive remarks out of the clear blue like that actually helps you make your argument more convincing? Clearly, you do.

    June 18, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Hogan's Goat

    "Hey Mr. Cheney how are those WMD's in Iraq working out for ya? "

    They made him incredibly wealthy. Every cent the USA lost over there went into Halliburton's pockets. He has no regrets except that he wasn't able to con YOUR children into dying over there too. He got plenty of other people's kids. Heck, Nixon used to draft his enemies' children and send them to die in VietNam. Cheney enlisted his own supporters' children as volunteers and sent them to die. Nixon was the less evil of the two.

    June 18, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. ken

    If anyone knows about mission failure it's the Republicans. When they disarmed the Iraq military the war became an American War. George W. is the only one who's Daddy led the invasion of Iraq and George W. is the only one that said mission accomplished. George W. is the only one that looked for wmd's and Bin Laden and found neither.

    June 18, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. marc

    As horrible a leader as he was, I will give W Bush one compliment....he has had the class to refrain from criticizing his successor. Cheney got even filthy richer after the Iraq invasion, lying at every turn to ensure the invasion happened. Now, he and his not so bright daughters think their entitled to an opinion. He's a vulture of the worst kind....kills millions, then wants to pick at the bones.

    June 18, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Victor

    This is the same subservient dog that conjured up all kinds of lies and manipulated this country into going to war against Iraq. Why people listen to him is beyond me! Mr. Cheney, shut up and go away!!!! You are one of the major reasons we are where we are in Iraq!

    June 18, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Martha in CF

    Sorry--Cheney should be in jail for war crimes and take Rumsfeld with him.......Iraq is always going to have turmoil. Maybe, and this is sad to say, they should just kill each other off and move on.....No more US troops on the ground.

    June 18, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Madtown

    "...been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many"
    Blatant hypocrisy. How many lives lost, how much money wasted, because of the "wrong" decisions by Cheney and the administration at that time. Unreal...

    June 18, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Vince

    Dick Cheney's opinion on pretty much anything should be considered laughable. Fool me once shame on you...fool me twice shame on you. Fade into irrelevance Dick.

    June 18, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. RINO

    This war criminal is an embarrassment to humanity, nothing he says has any value.

    June 18, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Rich

    Bush signed the Iraq withdrawl agreement in 2008. Many times the guy pointing the finger and talking the loudest is attempting to deflect criticism.

    June 18, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. okiamsmall

    When this war first broke out after the UN inspectors had found no weapons of mass destruction, my heart sank to see our young people being thrown into the middle of a war. An unnecessary war. A war with tribes that love to hate each other beginning at the break of dawn each and every day. Look at their land. They don't know what beauty there is on Earth. All They have is that Black Gold under their feet and we want it. We want it real bad. I was listening to a conservative talk show some time ago (it was the only station in the middle of nowhere) and this guy says "if you want to piss off a liberal go and buy the a big truck". As Americans' we have set a very poor example of grace and goodness. Our lives have changed since 9/11 which was on the Cheney Bush watch. We will have to live with it. We have no intentions of changing our ways, like driving our automobiles less.

    June 18, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. jnpa

    Cheney, go away, JUST GO AWAY!

    June 18, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. john g

    So let me get this straight...Cheney, who was instrumental in getting us into the Iraq mess, is criticizing Obama for not cleaning it up to his satisfaction. Pure arrogance!

    June 18, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Ol' Yeller

    I will chip in $100 to buy Mr. cheney a one way plane ticket to Spain, if anyone wants to match me.... Spain has made it known they have international warrants for war crimes issued for this criminal and they have vowed to take him into custody should he ever set foot in their country.
    P.S. these aren't 'fake' warrants from 'fake' investigations to do 'fake' impeachments... this is serious, 'if we get our hands on this perpetrator, we will try him in a court of law and sentence him' warrants.
    $100... anyone else?

    June 18, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. twmcn

    Why don't we get Mr. Chaney some BDUs and a gun – and drop him on Iraq
    They'll have democracy quicker than you can say Jack Robinson!

    June 18, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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