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. Floyd Freedom

    Dick Cheney – "I was so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." He has no credibility!

    June 18, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Neocon13

    Why isn't this war criminal and traitor at Gitmo being waterboarded? Maybe then we would know the truth about why we invaded Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Jeff

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"
    Is he talking about Bush?

    June 18, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Alan

    I believe we've finally found those weapons of mass destruction.

    June 18, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. jojo

    @gg – You mean like the fund raiser Obama attended the day after Benghazi or the one he attended last night and Iraq in turmoil because of his policies.

    June 18, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. truth will out

    In 2007 Congress passed a bill extending funding for Iraqi deployment conditionally that set a deadline for withdrawal. Bush vetoed, then concluded an agreement in 2008 that said, out of Iraqi cities by 2009, out of Iraq by end of 2011. Cheney was Vice President then. Apparently the man suffers from memory loss.

    June 18, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Luc

    It was really safe for American's when Bush and Cheney were around. They made the bulls eye larger on American's for being idiots. All the GOP want to do is go to war and never ever win one and blame it on everyone else. That is the only way they can keep there rich buddies happy.

    June 18, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Trouble is, Cheney's right. Never before has a President been so wrong at the expense of so many.

    June 18, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Ladokguy

    Thanks you for those words of wisdom, Dick "We will be greeted as liberators" Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. shebamutz

    Dick Cheney and his daughter never cease to amaze with their hypocrisy. Remember this is a man with five draft deferments, the quintessential draft dodger who sent thousands of American men and women to needless deaths in Iraq (as well as countless Iraqis). Now he wants to blame President Obama for Cheney's mess. This is chutzpah at its finest. Having Cheney lecture us on what to do in Iraq would be like inviting Himmler to give a seminar in civil liberties. Wish he would go to Idaho and help Cliven round up his cattle.

    June 18, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Mary Ann

    The only people who would listen to Cheney and his buddy George would be the idiots who listen to Rush and watch Faux News!

    June 18, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Lookie there

    He is mad because his company won't be getting any more sweet deals now.

    June 18, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Ace


    Trouble is, Cheney's right. Never before has a President been so wrong at the expense of so many.

    If you add up the cash register tapes Bush's error now mount in the trillions of dollars. To every single American.

    June 18, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Dave

    Republicans, especially Dick Cheney, have NO CREDIBILITY when it comes to Iraq.

    None whatsoever.

    June 18, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Jeb Jebson

    Cheney and Bush lied us into a multi-trillion dollar disastrous war that will continue to bleed America for decades to come. He caused the senseless of deaths of thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. He also personally profited millions from his disastrous war.

    What does that make him? A war criminal? No. It makes him a right wing hero and a foreign policy expert. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

    June 18, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Bob Sagat

    This war criminal is responsible for illegally invading Iraq, and creating a power vacuum. Yes, Sadaam was a bad man, but he was also keep the extremists at bay. Ousting Sadaam from power was the best thing that America could do for terrorists. And cheney being the piece of garbage he is, had the temerity to even suggest that there was a link between Sadaam and Al Qaeda. BS. They were enemies, and Sadaam kept them at bay. Now they are running wild because of cheney. We will never know how many people died as a result of cheney's actions. He deserves to be brought to trial for innumerable war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    June 18, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Kevin Collins

    What Cheney conveniently leaves out is that it was his and W.'s illegal, unnecessary war that turned Iraq into a terrorist haven in the first place. Before that, al Qaeda was nowhere to be seen in Iraq being that bin Laden and Hussein were longtime enemies. Cheney wants "boots on the ground" once again so his Halliburton can line their greedy pockets in Iraq all over again. Pathetic.

    June 18, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Slam

    He does know the treaty that spelled out our withdrawal was signed by his administration right?

    June 18, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Bill, NY

    Wow. This crook has no shame whatsoever.

    June 18, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Steve

    Mr. Cheney should have considered the ethinic and religous problems in that region before he initiated a war! With over 4,000 US soldiers dead and another 30,000 wounded (none of them Cheney or his relatives), I find that hard to call a "victory". We removed one dictator, which could have been done with a special forces strike team. President George H.W. Bush (41) knew better then to venture into Iraq without a good exit plan. Unfortunately his son listened to his advisors and went in anyway. You'd think Mr. Cheney would have learned from Vietnam but obviously he didn't. History will judge him on the wrong side of this war too!

    June 18, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. TNPatriot

    Really?? Cheney of all people has the gall to criticize anybody in the world about the situation in Iraq?
    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"
    Seriously, that is the definition of the Bush/Cheney administration!

    June 18, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. david saint

    lmao the man who benefited personally from the wars is questioning Obamas foreign policy??!?!?!?! HAHAHA smh no shame in his game. Hey Darth Cheney, thanks for giving your defense contractor buddies billions of our dollars with no bid contracts!! Ironically, i bet Olie North has more to say about The Bergdahl swap too? lol

    June 18, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. MrRickinNH

    Anyone who would use our sons and daughters as pawns for political or monetary gain should be held criminally liable!

    June 18, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. H

    They absolutely destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq. They threw out every one who was a member of the Baath party who worked for the government. There was only one political party so what did they expect. They ripped the lid off ancient tensions between Shite and Sunni. Iraq was not even a country until 1920 when the British created it. They have the nerve to blame Obama for this. We never seem to learn.

    June 18, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Better off?

    Instead of blindly praising Obama and blaming Bush/Cheney, Obama fanatics should ask :

    a) Are Iraqis better off now in 2014 after 6 years of Obama policy OR in 2008 at the end of the Bush administration?
    b) Were Iraqis better off in 2008 OR under the regime of Saddam Hussein and Uday/Qusay?
    c) Is the US safer now than in 2008?

    The debate over whether Saddam Hussein had WMD's is irrelevant. And the prior costs of the Iraq war are a sunk cost.
    "What difference at this point does it make?"

    June 18, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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