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. 15Vortex

    What Cheney is advocating is US imperialism bought with the blood of our young people and taxes paid by the poor and middle class.

    For what? For money siphoned to him and his circle.

    How? Make a scary story about threats to our women and children to get young people inspired and willing to sacrifice their lives. It helps to get the press involved, which is no big challenge.

    Get politicians to go along. Not a problem.


    Trash the abilities of our own armed forces to deal with the "war."


    Levy monies paid into the treasury by the poor and middle class.

    Write huge government checks to large corporations charged with prosecuting the war because our military isn't up to the job.


    June 18, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. doh

    Ole Dickey is trying to drum up more business for his company, Halliburton! Hey Dick & Liz, shut up, nobody whats to hear what you have to say.

    June 18, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. bil

    Here is a man that wishes he could me president for life. He and business associates made millions off the war in Iraq, war was really good for Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. SeattleReign

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." These words should be directly applied to Bush and Darth Vader. Ironic that he would even have the gall to say this, but then he never HAS seen the big picture. He and Bush destroyed the whole infrastructure of that country, failed to realize the history and culture of the region, and apparently thought it would be just fine for the USA to be occupying that country at the expense of our citizens for eternity. This from a man who have never seen a day of action on any war front himself. Nothing was solved there; it was only made worse, and there was NO link to 9/11 or al quaeda before we invaded at all. Now there is, as a direct result. Yea, us.

    June 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. JNOLA

    Republicans never saw a war that they didn't like.

    June 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. proud hippie

    So the hate mongers are back in business. Cheney and his dysfunctional family, Rove and his loud mouth and empty head, etc. The really sad thing is that the 2-digit-IQ bible-thumping 52-per centers will listen to them. Does anyone care that we, the tax payers, will be supporting Cheney for the rest of his existence? Do they care that we, the tax payers, bought a heart transplant for this fabulously wealthy old man who should never have been on the recipient list? Try finding a heart for your own 5-heart-attack granpa. This is nauseating. So is the stupidity of the American people.

    June 18, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Guy Fawkes

    Cheney and Bush need to be arrested, tried, convicted and then given the proper punishment for a) international war crimes and b) putting our armed forces and the US national security at risk. Apparently it is improper to be specific about said punishment, so you can draw your own conclusions.

    June 18, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Mancee Graice

    Really? Incredible blather from the least credible individual from the least credible administration in history? What's up next CNN, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck talk about Obama's failure to resurrect Christ?
    And the worst part? Darth Cheney will be lionized upon his passing.

    June 18, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. mpa2000

    Who cares?

    June 18, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. MorganSRQ

    Everytime that man opens his mouth, I shudder – almost every day that Cheny and that "Didn't Have a Clue Bush" were in office, I shuddered to think what they would screw up next. Wasn't it "W" who swooped down onto some aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished" and declared the "conflict" (which he and Darth created) over? We had no business invading that country in the first place. To now read that Darth and his banshee daughter second guessing President Obama (they can't quite bring themselves to address him as "President" can they, it's "Mr. Obama" to them). There comes a time when a person's time is passed – Cheny and his inglorious offspring should realize their time has long passed. And I agree with an earlier writer, Cheny should be tried for war crimes – it may set a precedent and it may cause future leaders to think carefully before they wrought the calamities this man has.

    June 18, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. midwest2

    From what he said, it sounds like this crook thinks we should still be in Iraq waging a full-scale offensive. He condemns Obama for working to move out of Iraq. I guess we weren't there long enough to suit Cheney. How many other soldiers needed to die or be maimed over there before it would have been okay for Obama to plan a withdrawal of troops?

    June 18, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Let us not forget it was Bush who signed the agreement to have all US Troops withdrawn from Iraq by 2009. Not Obama. Obama just followed through on a signed agreement with Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Hogan's Goat

    Seriously, how come he is above the law? Too rich? Why isn't he in prison? Say, I'd consider voting for a Repug who would actually dare to oppose Lord Cheney by bringing charges. Never happen though, because they all stick together.

    June 18, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. realist512

    Cheney giving advice on Iraq? The Iraq war is one of the biggest disasters in our history and he was an architect!

    He should shut up and just go away. BTW, Bush signed the treaty that said we would go. Do we just ignore that? If Iraq had used sunnis in military and government from the get go, then there is a chance that the power brokers would all be happy now. Now there seem no will to maintain what many Iraqi's seem to believe is an illegitimate government.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. bigbendjc

    ComeOn2013: spoken like a true Neocon.......rewrite history to accentuate the hate! You do know that Bush signed the agreement with Maliki to redraw the US troops by the end of 2011. You do know that "Mission Accomplished" preceded 10 years of war and drew Al Qaeda into Iraq to fight the US (wasn't in Iraq during Sadam's rule). You do know that Maliki was the pick of the US to run the country (Bush admin). You do know that Maliki wanted the US soldiers to be judged under Iragi laws if they were to stay in Iraq. You do know that this is a sectarian war that has been going on since the 7th century between the Sunni's and Shiite's.

    Maybe you don't...too much Fox News.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Jack M

    Republicans are people who can't sit down and enjoy their dinner unless they know that someone, somewhere, is going hungry.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. thatdragondude

    Rich, coming from the guy who pressed the lies to get us there, then gave no-bid contracts to his friends and even one of his former companies (Halliburton) to work on the war effort. Everyone spouts off about Obama being arrested, when THIS man right here, and the rest of his cohorts in the Bush administration are the ones who need to be in Leavenworth...

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. hummersaging

    Absolutely. Don't like everything I see from the Cheneys, but I totally agree with them on Obama's total failure as President.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Bill Davis

    Why is this war criminal still free. Eric Holder it's time you arrest Cheney for perjury, fraud, treason and conduct unAmerican

    June 18, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Rockymtnhi

    "The Alliance for a Strong Haliburton" Send this man to jail. !!

    June 18, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. thatdragondude

    This is a slap in the face to all the Americans who have died in Iraq fighting a war based on lies and slight-of-hand tricks perpetrated by the Bush administration. Then Cheney and his cronies gave no-bid contracts to their friends, even one of his former companies (Halliburton) so they could all profit from those deaths. Everyone is always harping about Obama needing to be impeached, tried for treason and locked away, well if he ever is, Cheney and the rest of the warmongers from Bush's administration should be right there with him in Leavenworth....

    June 18, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. mikes605

    C'mon, write a big check to Halliburton!

    June 18, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Wiley hegone

    During the last Republican nominee stated that they would send your sons and daughters to protect Iraq. After eight plus years of American money blood and tears, do you now think Cheney will send his family members to fight? No! That group still makes money on the oil rights. We have to let these groups take control of their own destiny. Our interference destabilized that region. Let us not repeat history. Another point, how much money did tax payers pay for this war? What have we gotten back in return? Please weigh those issues before saying yes to Dick Cheney...

    June 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Tim

    The best thing President Obama has going for him is for Dick Cheney to be leading the criticism. Why doesn't he take the cue from former presidents and keep his mouth shut? On the other hand, keep chirping Mr. Cheney. You are single handily shifting public opinion in the president's favor.

    June 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Larry

    There is a special place in hell for the Cheneys and Rumsfelds of this world. God Damn them both!

    June 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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