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. Malory Archer

    bico bielich
    ... except for McCain and he lost us a plane...


    Actually, he lost THREE – and in one of those instances, torched an aircraft carrier, resulting in the deaths of 134 sailors, and the maiming of hundreds more. He should have had his pilot's license pulled after the FIRST incident like any other Navy pilot would have, but because his daddy was an Admiral he got special treatment.

    June 18, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. ComeOn2013

    Cheney is absolutely correct. The chaos in Iraq was predicted by many at the beginning of the Obama years when it became obvious that his intention was to pull US troops out. What is happening now is no surprise and was anticipated for years. There was a power vacuum and a security vacuum and it was just a matter of time before the terrorists organized themselves (a lot easier after US pressure was completely gone) enough to take over the country. Baghdad will fall soon enough and the entire country will be transformed into a haven for Islamic terrorism…training camps, headquarters, etc. We will see them begin to use Iraq as a base for global operations…in other words, we have another 9/11 coming, folks. And it's our fault.

    June 18, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Bush are all war criminals they belong in jail for what they did to this country. And Republicans in general should be embarrassed at the mess they made of things the last time they were in charge. They also criticize the current President for doing nothing, when they are the ones blocking anything meaningful legislation from going through. Ridiculous.

    June 18, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Manuel

    WOW!. It is the height of exotica for the former Vice-President to open his mouth on this matter, after he played a pivotal role in the Iraq fiasco. What a delusional character Mr. Cheney is.

    June 18, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Gunderson

    I see the "Real Confused Pain" is at it again. If memory serves me correctly, Iraq wasn't exactly a bed of roses before we invaded. There was a war between Iraq and Iran for several years. Saddam had gassed his own people. He was trying to build an atomic bomb. We were attacked on what is now known as 911. Have you cookies forgot so quickly? More than one country was involved in the decision to invade Iraq. Bad Idea, Good Idea, maybe still to be determined. Now I know most of you here were still in diapers back then so you really don't have a good picture of what happened.Sometimes you have to do something, even if it's wrong. But you cookies expect everything to be perfect. So does your leader. Maybe you need to look up Murphy's Law. Then get back to me.

    June 18, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Robert N. constant

    Cheney was charged by Nigeria with bribery. Halliburton "settled". Cheney took us into Iraq for oil rights. . He cut his deal with the Shiites who are now under attack. Cheney is all about oil and money.

    June 18, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. calamity jane

    It would be so nice for someone to pull the plug on his heart. If it didn't come from a fatally wounded Iraqi serviceman who deserved a life over this bozo, I would volunteer for the job.

    June 18, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. tinykhan

    Haliburton must be hurting without all those no-bid billion dollar govt contracts Cheney got for his old company.

    June 18, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. T

    Cyg – McCain was a POW in Veitam, not NK...But good thinking.

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

    No need, we all knew Obama would be a nothing re foreign policy.

    June 18, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Harry Widdifield

    That takes balls. If I were a war criminal who'd gotten away with it, I'd keep my mouth shut. Cheney clearly isn't of the same opinion.

    June 18, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. jez oh peete

    Cheney has never been correct on anything. He's a war criminal.

    June 18, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Rob

    Cheney is just pissed he didn't make more money.

    June 18, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. stan lightner

    The Cheneys have to be some of the most arrogant and ignorant pundits in the history of the world. For the life of me I cannot understand the gall, especially Dick Cheney's, to even think about speaking on this subject matter. Dick Cheney & The Shrub (AKA Bush 43) along with others from their evil empire should have been tried and convicted for war crimes at the World Court. Their sentence should then be carried out at Gitmo.

    June 18, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Skeeve

    Dear Mr. Cheney if you stayed out of Iraq in the first place there would be NO radical Islamic terror groups in there. So, we have you and your boss personally to thank for those.

    June 18, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. nik green

    This is pretty rich, coming from Cheney. He was the man who made sure that the US air defenses on the Eastern side of the nation were incapacitated on the morning of 9/11, in the critical hours.
    (1) He was in overall command of the 12+ military exercises, simulations, drills and war games which envisaged the exact same happenings as were playing out in real time. These exercises insured that fighter jet normally based at the appropriate air bases were unavailable to scramble and intercept – instead, they were out over the Atlantic or sent far North over Alaska and Canada. And this entire 2 hour exercise scenario completely coincided with the 2 hour attack sequence of hijackings and crashes.
    (2) On June 1, 2001, a Joint Chiefs Instruction CJCSI3610.01A altering the standard NORAD-FAA-USAF scramble intercept protocols was put into effect. For decades, the scramble-intercept protocol was under the authority of the base commanders of Air Force bases, and when contacted by NORAD in an emergency, it was the base commanders' responsibility to issue scramble-intercept orders. New rules were enacted on June 1, 2001 – in a 'Chairman Of the Joint Chiefs Instruction' CJCSI3610.01A which included amongst the document's 20 pages, the requirement of the PERSONAL AUTHORITY of the Defense Secretary (Donald Rumsfeld), specifically, to grant permission to scramble and intercept, and on the morning of 9/11, the Defense Secretary was "unavailable" during the critical hour, doing his normal briefing while 100% aware that two planes had already hit the World Trade Center. When planes were finally scrambled from Otis AFB, they were placed in a holding pattern over the Western Atlantic until after the Pentagon was hit.
    The original scramble-intercept protocol was restored on 9/12/2001, re-transferring authority back to the base commanders.

    June 18, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. JAB

    The draft dodging 3 DWI VP has no clout. He and his puppet Bush created this mess and now he has the nut to blame Obama? Screw.

    June 18, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Dick and Liz need to have a reality TV show called " Father Knows Best " ?

    June 18, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Daniel

    "If we had gone to Baghdad, we would have been all alone. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq."
    "Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place?"

    "That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off."

    "It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq." – Dick Chenney 1994 (a few years before he sold his soul to the devil)

    200,000 dead Iraqis and the Republicans still say they care about life? See, the Bush Republicans thought some war spending would be good for our country, it wasn't. Why I will never vote for a Republican as Commander in Chief. After two decades of watching Republicans it clear to me that they truly don’t care about the welfare of our nation. They only care about lining the pockets of the already rich industrialists. Republicans priorities are a total mess. The money we wasted invading Iraq could have funded Social Security for 75 years! Just think about that.

    The USA really messed things up in Iraq. It looks like a three state solution is the only way forward in Iraq. Just like in Europe centuries ago, the three groups of people in Iraq all want their own state. I say let’s work toward that goal and hopefully everything settles down. Also, it is imperative that we rid our country from the burdens of blood oil.

    June 18, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    Cheney is absolutely correct. The chaos in Iraq was predicted by many at the beginning of the Obama years when it became obvious that his intention was to pull US troops out.


    Yeah, except dead eye dick's sock puppet signed the order pulling troops out of Iraq in 2011 PRIOR TO (that means "before") the 2008 election. President Obama tried to get dead eye dick's hand-picked Iraqi "President" to sign a Status of Forces Agreement, but he refused. Leaving troops behind would have subjected them to the Iraqi criminal justice system should they be accused of a crime, and that's far too high a price to pay. Why do you and your ilk hate American soldiers so much that you salivate at the thought of them rotting away in a mid-eastern prison? Oh, that's right – you could use those soldiers as a cudgel to beat the President. Good thing he's smarter than you and your ilk!

    June 18, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Brian

    Where does this guy get off talking about what's wrong?

    After lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction and that we'd be welcomed in Iraq as "liberators", plus the pointless deaths of 4000+ servicemen and billions of dollars wasted in that quagmire, Cheney has no room to criticize.

    Why hasn't this waste of life been waterboarded?

    June 18, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "If memory serves me correctly, Iraq wasn't exactly a bed of roses before we invaded. There was a war between Iraq and Iran for several years."

    Yeah, several several years prior to our invasion.

    "Saddam had gassed his own people."

    Not our business.

    "He was trying to build an atomic bomb."

    Really? Show us the yellow cake.

    "We were attacked on what is now known as 911."


    June 18, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. SG

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

    Much more apropos of Bush's decision to go into Iraq in the first place.

    June 18, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. humtake

    So, these are apparantly the ideals of the Democratic party:

    1. Everyone should be free to decide their leaders...only if they are in America.
    2. Everyone should have religious freedom...only in America.
    3. Everyone should be able to wear what they want...only in America.
    4. And on and on and on...

    Liberals want to make sure all of their pansy feewings are catered to, but when other people in the world are persecuted for the same freedoms Liberals love to "protect", then they would rather America stay out of it. Yes, I know America has its problems. But there isn't any reason why we can't help other people in the world be as free as us. I really am ashamed to live in a country where one half doesn't care about anyone but Americans; what makes it worse is that there is no end to Liberalism in sight...

    June 18, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Peter

    What the hell is Cheney talking about?

    All American military forces were mandated to withdraw from Iraqi territory by 31 December 2011 under the terms of a bilateral agreement signed in 2008 by Ambassador Ryan Crocker

    June 18, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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