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. Chuck Duncan

    Someone remind me again why we're still giving this war criminal publicity. He should be in Guantanamo!

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

    The Wall Street Journal should be ashamed to ask the culprit for the war in Iraq anything. Dick Cheney is a draft dodger who does not mind sending others to die in an unnecessary war. Why would the WSJ want to give such a person a platform to say anything. Disgraceful!!

    June 18, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. cheapster

    shows how out of touch the OLD republicans are with reality

    June 18, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. IrishMcC

    Dick Cheney...multiple deferments and never saw COMBAT (let alone served in the Military)...and major screw-up for pursuing war in Iraq...I wish they would take him to GITMO for the rest of his life. It there really is a Hell, he will be waterboarded til Eternity.

    June 18, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. william

    no matter how much you love or hate Obama.. why would anyone believe the piece of crap cheney

    June 18, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. WhatsamattaU

    The guy is a war criminal and should have been tried in The Hague. Of course, it's Obama's fault, because nothing he did could have turned out quite this bad, right?

    June 18, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Citizen_123

    Look in the mirror Dick!

    June 18, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Sam Sponge

    Never in the history of the United States has a sitting Vice President ever been able to create as much death, destruction and debt. And, it took a President of the intellect and character of George Bush to let it happen. Can you imagine what might have happened to our Country if in the last months of George's Presidency he was unable to fulfill his office and Cheney became President. Much as I hate saying so, I think under same scenario Gov. Palin would be a less dangerous President.

    June 18, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Martay

    Blaming Obama is like blaming the last guy out to take the blame for losing the ball game. Bush/Cheney are the war criminals and belong in the World Court at the Hague.

    June 18, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. alex

    As history will prove its impossible to beat an enemy whose a religious fanatic unless you kill them all. The indian government did it killing off the the "thugs" in the 16th century.

    June 18, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. spa monster

    Notice how disrespectful cheney is. Regardless of how you feel about him or his race he is still President

    June 18, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Sidonna

    This Criminal should be shot. He made a BIG mess of things when he and Bush were in the White House. He is to
    stupid to keep his mouth shut.. He needs to be more like bush and disappear

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. CrashMan

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." Cheney's former boss comes to mind. He caused the loss of thousands of lives in Iraq for no good reason. All based entirely on lies.

    "Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory." What victory? What exactly did we win in Iraq? Nothing. What was there to win? Nothing.

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Jim M

    It must really be difficult for the Cheney's to first see Obama get Bin laden and now to see the mess they started in Iraq to come to fruition.

    Wan't it Cheny who said in 2005: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Dan

    We have been in Korea for over 50 years keeping the peace the only way the Iraq thing was going to work was for American troops to remain there as they do in Korea. Obama pulled out leaving it up to the Iraq people to fend for themselves. As Colin Powell once said "You break it you fix it" America was not willing to stay there for the long haul and this is the result. Bush broke it Obama put some glue on it but it was never fixed.

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Name james

    Cheney critizing Obama on Iraq is liken to the skillet calling the frying pan black. The man that lead a war on false information and cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

    June 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Jim Rome

    –If a doctor owns a share of a pharmaceutical company and he tells you to take a certain pill, do you take it?
    –If a broker gets on the TV and recommends that you buy shares in a certain company where his relatives work, do you do it?
    –When a despicable war profiteer and owner of a war company tells you to put troops on the ground, do you do it?

    Basic common sense.

    June 18, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. john steel

    Someone needs to tell this creepy old lawyer hunter to SHUT UP!!! Iraq is your mess Dick. You should be tried and executed for treason in this country. You sent thousands of American soldiers to their deaths so you could profit.

    All you really need to know about Cheney is that he doesn't dare leave the USA because he would be arrested and tried as a war criminal.

    June 18, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. amb

    When did we win the war in Iraq. Thousands of American soldiers dead, tens of thousands of American soldiers physically and/or psychologically handicapped for the rest of their lives, and trillions of dollars in debt does not sound like victory to me.

    June 18, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. wanda J. Brown

    No matter HOW you slice it Dick Cheney is a WAR CRIMINAL and should be in JAIL right next to George Bush. The
    Iraqi people HATE AMERICA because of Bush & Cheney invading and occupying their Country. These to meddlesom
    idiots are the reason WHY they HATE US and the entire Islamic Nation of over 1.5 BILLION now feel AMERICA is their
    Enemy. And nothing Israel or the Saudi's can do will change that. Let Iraq defend itself this time and let's stay the
    hell out of there. And by the way WHY doesn't somebody ask Cheney to try WATERBOARDING. See how he likes it!

    June 18, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. ScottC

    Time will validate Cheney's observation. Ultimately this will cost more American lives. Obama is weak.

    June 18, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Jack

    Yes, leaving does end wars. We left Vietnam. The war ended. Now, the war may continue if we leave Iraq but this is a tribal war Sunni vs. Shia. We have no business in this dogfight. We can always do pre-emptive, surgical strikes in the future as needed. These are not armies. These are terrorists. You can't just bring in 100,000 troops and stop them. We always fight wars in the old style. We did it in WWI and WWII & Vietnam until we got smart. Cheney is like the General in WWI who couldn't let go of his horse cavalry when the enemy was using tanks.

    June 18, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. irritated independant

    What's the matter Mr. Cheney? Is Halliburton's dividend in danger?

    June 18, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. LeftOfRightCenter

    Outside of staying in Iraq forever, this was GOING to happen. These factions have been warring for centuries. The notion that we could go in there, promote a sectarian leader that is hated by the other two factions, with a government structure no one there even vaguely understands, then somehow leave troops behind against the will of the occupied people and it's leader, is pure fantasy. It makes no sense whatsoever.. although not surprising coming from a Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    I dont support the Iraq war, US should not have started it ever. However, now that so much time money and most important of all lives of US soldiers have been lost, is it worth losing Iraq to militants? No matter whta the reasons were for the war to begin with, it happened, lives were lost in the name of achieving democracy and freedom. War was wrong then, but to go through with it and now to lose all that was achieved, makes me agree with John McCain that there should have been some troops left back to maintain civil order. Clearly the Iraq army is not compentent enough yet.
    The problem is the Democrats vote is influenced by public opinion and not by their own educated judgments. When the Iraq war happened the public opinion was for it and so they supported it and then when the public opinion turned against war, so did the democrats. I dont like republicans, but atleast they stand for what they believe in (no matter how wrong).

    June 18, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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