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. Mike

    I guess Cheney forgot about how W signed an agreement in 2008 with Iraq to pull out in 2011. I have no idea where he thinks that changing 1000+ years of fighting between the Shiites and Sunnis could all be solved with 10 years of US involvement there.

    June 18, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. David Allen

    Let's make the role of president a 2-year term with possibility of a second two-year term, then give the job to someone else for a couple of years and the first guy can run again later.... 8 years in office in a row is far too long for anybody!!! Also, Congress ought not to have financial powers over the country beyond the end of their own term. None of the ten and fifteen years out to recoup projected savings blah blah blah. Current Congress has no real jurisdiction over future America (unless they're each re-elected ad nausium).

    June 18, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Ben Ghazi

    I may have to choose Dick Cheney as my 2016 running mate. Just imagine all the wars we can start.

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

    why are the news agencies listen to McCain and Romney if they wanted to be POTUS they should have won there elections. Then you have to listen to Cheney war monger extraordinaire who didn't know anything when he was VP. Better for other countries let them bicker over nothing while other countries walk by them economically.

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

    Only Dick Cheney can slaughter Iraqis and American troops by the thousands, then turn around and point fingers at others??

    June 18, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I'm so angry with this site right now that I can't even put my feelings into words. It's hard to believe so many don't remember anything prior to January 21, 2009....

    June 18, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Hawk760

    Say Dick, why won't you travel to other countries and make these accusations? Oh, yeah, that War criminal thingy that keeps you in Wyoming!!

    You'd have to be braindead to listen to Dick Cheney/Wolfowitz/Brennen/Feith on anything Iraq!

    And CNN, really?!?!???!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Are clicks worth dumping all pretense of actual News media?!!?!??!?!

    June 18, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. John Zeger

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," wrote Cheney and his daughter. Cheney is talking about Obama here, but it is far more descriptive of George W. Bush regarding the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Geoff Maguire

    Pure hypocrisy, The architect of the lie now ants to blame its consequences on someone else. But who is surprised? "Mission accomplished" anyone?

    June 18, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. chris

    Dick's op-ed was in the WSJ which is owned by Fox News. I don't believe any non-Fox media outlet would give Dick a voice. He is such an awful American.

    June 18, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. what1ever

    Cheney is the poster child of being wrong about everything. We could have stayed in Iraq for 100 years and this would be happening. You can't just go into a country with no previous experience with democracy and just impose it from above, especially when that country is a patch work of disparate groups that don't get along.

    June 18, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Joe P

    Can't help but chuckle over the audacity of Cheney! How embarrassing for him and his daughter.

    June 18, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Steven

    Sorry, Dick, but you never mentioned making Iraq a free and happy democracy as an excuse for war. You only mentioned WMD. You agreed in 1991 not to overthrow Saddam. So now please just shut your pie hole.

    June 18, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Hawk760

    Gee Dick, maybe if you caught OBL like you were supposed to instead of invading Iraq, none of this would even be happening!!!

    Who was it that killed OBL btw Dick????

    June 18, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. pkfops01

    "Pick Up Your Weapon an Follow Me"; Oh, I forgot Cheney is a coward.

    June 18, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. cheapster

    hello Iraq DIDNOT want us there in the beginning in the middle of and at the END

    June 18, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. george cook

    Never has ONE President "Known So Little" about Foreign Policy as our encumbent...BHO....our Foreign Policy is in SHAMBLES....if there is one

    June 18, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Lisa P


    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...

    June 18, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm

    Many of us predicted chaos well before that, back when President Bush invaded the country on what was clearly trumped up evidence, cherry-picked and promulgated by Vice President Cheney's hand-picked special intelligence unit that was accountable to no one - certainly not those State Department and CIA fuddy-duddies (one of Donald Rumsfeld's technical terms - we have to fight the "new war" not the "old war" dontchaknow?) who pointed out that Saddam Hussein was the only thing holding the darn country together. Surprise, surprise - the fuddy-duddies were right! Too late for the neo-cons to put Iraq back together now, new, old, or warspeak fantastocyberpropagandoridiculous. President Obama was right to get our troops the heck out of there asap and no going back. Let the foreign terrorists have the middle of nowhere; see how long their enthusiasm for their dumb cause lasts in the face of poverty, boredom and hostility from the natives. In the long run the desert always wins.

    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Mike Meier

    What is happening now in Iraq was going to happen as soon as the US left, regardless of who the president of the US was.
    Iraq should have been divided into 3 countries, it was the only chance of avoiding this violence.

    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Andrew

    So what i want to know is: Iraq president said he does not want us there...... and he wanted us out. so do you just go to war anyway?

    June 18, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Blandly

    Huh, I thought the Op-Ed was spot on.

    June 18, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. cheapster

    Hello The American People didn';t want to be there after ten years of stupidness , BRING t6he TROOPS HOME remember

    June 18, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    no matter how much you hate Obama... why would you believe this piece of crap cheney

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

    The biggest mistake we made was to trade 5 Gimo detainees for Bergdahl. Instead, we should have traded Cheney, Bush, Rummy, Brenner, Wolfowitz for a start. This team is single handedly responsible for the debacle in Iraq. NO ONE else Mr. War Criminal Cheney

    June 18, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Bush/Cheney policy led Iraq to this state. you can't blame Obama. We had to pull out ALL troops...that was settled before Bush left office. Iraq was an unnecessary war...and the country became less stable. Saddam doesn't look quite as bad in hindsight.

    June 18, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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