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. wwf

    Did the GOP raise a stink about what happened when we pulled out of Nam? Oh, I forgot. Nixon was President. Therefore it was the right thing to do.

    June 18, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Renee

    What a load of crap. Appalling coming from the mouth of the man who served as VP under the President who started this war based on manufactured lies...and a man who profited greatly from this war of corporate self-interest. "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?" I would say the President he is referring to is Bush, not Obama.

    June 18, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Raj

    Is there a law where we can deport an ex VP? If not we should seriously consider this. This guy is more venom and poison than a Cobra. A heartless person who still remains dangerous as there are people with low IQ who still listen to him. I know a place where he will fit perfectly, frozen tundra

    June 18, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Homey Almond

    This man killed more Americans than any terrorist, he needs to stand trial for War Crimes!

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. okiamsmall

    I can't stop the re-play in my little noggin when GWB crawled off his fighter jet and hopped onto the ship with the very large words "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED".

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. mlr45

    Um, weren't we effectively kicked out of the country when the Iraqi government refused to sign the Status of Forces Agreement and told the U.S. government that they had everything under control?

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    Arrogance & Incompetence, thy name is Liz & Sick Cheney.

    History will immortalize Dick for his role in LYING us into a war that killed thousands. He's supposed to be a good executive yet he had ZERO strategic plan for Iraq passed Day 3 of the invasion.

    The country was held together and in check by Saddam. For all their malice toward him, Bush & Cheney FAILED to have a mechanism to fill the void. This is management 101.

    The greed of Cheney trumped his duty to not place American sons & daughters in a meatgrinder war that was doomed to fail based on the 2000 year history of the multiple waring Shia / Sunni / Kurdish segments. The path to peace is to redraw the map from Syria thru Iraq and Iran and that I is not going to happen. That kind of nation building is not what is being sold to the American public.

    And every responsible American journalist needs to ask every warmongering politician what the duration, cost, and tax-increase funding mechanism is the go along with their peanut gallery, armchair General, strategies. The price of entry to these chickenhawks for spouting off in the media is an accountability POSITION. No more free rides. How do we pay for it is the adult part of the conversation and if that cools the war talk then Americans must not really be behind it or the people spewing it.

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. MNClownfactory

    You have all your gacts and time lines messed up. 1. Iraq and Iran had been at war over a decade but it had been over for 5+ yrs when we invaded. 2. Many countries supported our support of Kuwaitt in the first gulf war. only the UK supported us in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 3. No, 0, none Iraqi's were involved with 911 in any way.
    4. your "murphy's law" statement can more accurately be applied towards Cheney Bush who LIED to the American public and our representatives about WMD to get us in to Iraq in the first place. Cheney, Rumsfeld, wolfblitz, Bush all "broke" Iraq and opened the doors (borders) of Iraq for ISIS and other terrorists groups. I raq was no threat to us only to the Terrorsits. Do you remember 2 no fly zones over Iraq which still existed when we attacked? We did that after Saddam killed the 10K kurds! Cheney is a war monger and a war profiteer, he was the head of Halliburton who got a no-competition contract for logistics during the whole war!! Why listen to a man who profits from death and destruction when he critizes a man who worked to bring our solidiers home from a country HE broke!!

    June 18, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Rodger Dodger

    CNN ought to give Charles Manson a voice here. Not much difference. This reptile sold out his country and should be hanging from the Washington Monument, or in the Haig on trial.

    June 18, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Mark

    George Bush signed the agreement to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009. What say you Dick?

    June 18, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Paul J. Colonna

    Dick Cheney is like a house burglar who says the home owner lost his belongings because the home owner's insurance policy had a deductible. Bush, Cheney, and Tenet lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction for the sole purpose of getting Congressional approval to invade Iraq. Now that their fiasco has come to roost he blames President Obama for not fixing it. Classical dishonest corrupt politician.

    June 18, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Hex

    Dude this is really Ironic

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

    Really Cheney?! Because I can think of one and a certain VP that pushed war to boost Halliburton's business.

    June 18, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Fred Evil

    The galling hypocrisy of Cheney turns my stomach.

    June 18, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Gundy, it might serve you better to read a book that does not require coloring, or engage in wholesale gross distortions of history without any real proof, or even a provocative argument. As for your complaints about my comments, I'm not the one coming on here engaging in revisionist history, or accusing others of advocating a " nanny state" because I don't endorse throwing millions of my fellow citizens into poverty. That's your little theme that you squawk like a simple-minded parrot, one that does not advance your viewpoint but only serves to diminish it. You come across as an ideologically-driven fool who arrogantly posts an viewpoint that runs counter to every good and decent impulse in this country, and promotes greed and selfishness as ennobling. I'm not asking you for a handout, jackwagon, and neither is anyone else. Why are you so afraid of expanding opportunity to others?

    June 18, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Peter

    After the GOP re-takes the Senate in November the impeachment of Mr. Obama is what all of this foul mouthed, hate filled, left wing extremists who like to re-write history are so upset right now. It is impossible today, they know this and repeat the comforting thought very often. They also know that Obama's failures as an unqualified left wing wonk pretending he knew how to be a U.S. President is no longer something that is easily hidden by their media lapdogs simply looking the other way. For over 5 years they asked the questions to check the block of addressing the obvious, but they have not asked follow up question to answers coming from the White House, but looking the other way and pretending it's his predecessors fault is spiraling in one hellevua phoenix swan song dive to earth.

    The only mistake Bush made was that he failed to go to Congress with the intelligence available at that time to request their vote on a declaration of war against Iraq. Had he done that and then proceeded to eliminate the threat we should have eliminated, we would have had all our boys home in a few months. Iran would have finished what they started in 2 wars with Iraq spanning decades without a doubt, and with a military riding high in spirits after victoriously thrashing one nation of morons, both Iran and Syria would have acted as they did for the decades before... quietly minding their business, hard at work doing what Muslim nations do best and rule their cesspool like the thug and tyrant Saddam Hussein.

    Bush did finish what he started, and although I totally disagree with his stab at winning the War on Terror by fighting a "humane" war, what we have now calling the shots is a President that isn't qualified to run a Popsicle stand so it is best that he continues to party with the stars and ignoring the world until Congress flips back to the Republicans and once again we have adult leadership in America.

    June 18, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. smklein53@yahoo.com

    Did Cheney finally realize Iraq didn't greet us with open arms?! Cheney owns this disaster, but doesn't have what it takes to admit it. Guess his new heart didn't help his brain.

    June 18, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Arnold

    Mr. DICK Cheney's brain does not work so good because he has a very bad heart. There's more hardware in there than a Halliburton Oil rig. Dick forgets that he and baby Bush started the war in Iraq under false pretense and lies. Saddam had the region well contained. The ONLY reason the U.S. invaded Iraq was to kill Saddam. All else is/was window dressing. I quote "He tried to kill my daddy" Words spoken by baby Bush in response to Saddam's alleged assignation attempt on Pres. Bush Sr. It was probably Osama Bin Laden that tried to have the old man whacked. The fact that Iraq has all that oil and Halliburton could be given no bid contracts there was just icing on the non-yellow-cake. Long story short; what's happening in Iraq not is the responsibility of Dick n baby Bush, and not Obama....

    June 18, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Steve R

    Cheney should be giving interviews in an orange jump suit with bars between him and the interviewer.
    He created this mess and it was more than just a grand mistake. It was an out and out lie to the American people.

    June 18, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Server to Cheney: What would you like for lunch today sir?

    Cheney: Are you looking at me funny, why I ought to invade you.

    Server: No, just trying to take your lunch order sir.

    Cheney: OK, I'll have the war burger, hold the forethought, compassion, and logical reasoning, but go heavy on the hypocrisy, ignorance and cognitive dissonance.

    June 18, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Dave

    If only Republican hypocrisy were a commodity, they would finally have something to offer the country.

    June 18, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. jim

    Cheney is a disgrace. He prodded imbecile Bush to invade the WRONG country after 9/11. He should just be quiet and go away!

    June 18, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    Cheney " Cause I'm a Chicken Hawk."
    Going to this guy for foreign policy advice is like getting medical advice from Jeffrey Dahlmer.

    June 18, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. matt

    Hahahahahahaha.....oh god that title is hilarious.

    June 18, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. keven

    Cheney hasn't seen enough US soldiers die lately.
    He's going through withdrawal, give him a break

    June 18, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. S.B. Stein

    The problem is that there was no need or call for the US and others to go into Iraq at that time. It takes decades of work to make a country function properly after an old government is taken down. There was no direct threat from Saddam despite him being an evil man. He was actually doing us a favor by keeping Iran and terrorist groups in check. If these geniuses had looked at the country, they would have seen the Sunni-Shiite divide and backed away from anything having to do with invading Iraq a second time. Now we have to live with the consequences for decades. Cheney hasn't a clue as to what is going on.

    June 18, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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