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. Rich

    Cheney is upset because his buddies are losing millions of petro-dollars a day. He could care less about the welfare of Iraq otherwise.

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

    Its interesting that Americans talk about the U.S. deaths and injured in Iraq but not the 100,000+ estimated casualties for Iragi citizens. Dick Cheney is still listened to because he is an example of the arrogance of the American people which if fed by snake oil salesmen like Dick Cheney. A former Defense Secretary that never served in the military. A vice president that never met a foreign policy problem that couldn't be solved by the military. Surely, the GOP has learned from Reagan's support of Osama bin Laden in the Afghanistan war
    against the old Soviet Union. Reagan provided funding to bin Laden and a decade later the dog turned on the master. War is a game of unintended consequences.

    June 18, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Regressive

    @ Phil Esteen very well put.

    June 18, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Cheney must be losing a lot of business interests and profits due to the current conflict.

    June 18, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. excuse me?

    Really Dick? you have the gall to criticize the person trying to end the catastrophe you created? There were no weapons of mass destruction. there was no Al Qaida in Iraq prior to the invasion. You brought extremest terrorism to Iraq. Go slink under your hole with the rest of your snakes. this politician makes me sick

    June 18, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Tuza Baap

    These neocons W, Cheney, Libby, Wolfowitz, and their cronies such as McCain, Cruz, and Graham should not be called by media on their expertise on Iraq. These are bunch of idiots who caused America a pain at the expense of blood and money. Instead of Bengazi they these Tea Party idiots should start a congressional enquiry on Iraq's illegal war. Thet should be tried and punished. How stupid these Tea Party followers are who listen and agree to their lies?

    June 18, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Dick Cheney has the nerve to say Obama has been wrong at the expense of so many on Iraq???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    June 18, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. mary

    I think we should send the Cheneys over there and see how long they last with their good friends the Sunnis, no wait the Shiites, uh, maybe the Sunnis, uh no, uh, wait uh, gee I can't figure out who they should be throwing away my tax money to. over there...Obama should not send another single one of my dimes or my fellow citizens over there SINCE WE ARE NOT INVITED!! Why do we have such hubris to think even for a minute we can figure out who should be in charge...O, I know-we want to buy oil at the lowest price. Anyone here want to go die for that? O, yeah the Cheney volunteers, what am I thinking!

    June 18, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. RG

    REALLY?? Cheney?? REALLY?? How dare this old Criminal gets the attention and the time to criticize President Obama on Iraq!! CNN please pull this info out of the air, don't give this criminal the time to talk about Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Smeagel4T

    Why is anybody even interested in Cheney's opinion about anything? The guy has proven himself a complete failure.

    June 18, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Kilometer77

    Five-time draft dodger is happy sending someone else to die when he was a congressman, Sec of Def and VP: Grenada, Panama, Gulf War 1, Afghanistan and Iraq, all the while he sat back and got all that free medical care for that cold, black heart he carries. If ANYBODY should be in Guantanamo, it is that traitor.
    Are any of the Republicans blamming Gerald Ford for when South Viet Nam collapsed in a matter of weeks?

    June 18, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. bilk7

    Wow! It's hard to believe that someone so involved in why were in Iraq, such as Cheney, can complain about it. It's like an arsonist complaining the firefighters aren't doing their job right.

    June 18, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. street smart

    Yeah right, now tell us the one about how the US would be looked upon as liberators & that the price of gasoline would go down to about $1.00 a gallon. Dick Cheney who wanted to decorate each day with paran0id yellow red & orange alerts.

    June 18, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Mike Meier wrote:

    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.
    Dividing the country in three only would have started a whole new set of disputes for them to fight over. The Kurds would have probably been satisfied with the northernmost areas. The disputes would have centered around who gets the oil rich areas, and who gets the areas where not so much oil has yet been discovered.

    June 18, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Daddy's little girl. He must be so proud. Why is anything Cheney says still relevent? I'll offer to pay for a plane ticket to visit The Hague.

    June 18, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Lily

    I find making investigation on Benghazi doesn't make any sense at all. How can anyone compare losing 4,000 in Iraq and 4 people in Benghazi? What is the ration? This man Cheney has to be held accountable. If he likes to live by having a new a heart from a different person, why didn't he think that lives will be lost in Iraq? He likes living, and those who lost their lives in Iraq because of his act, liked to live up to now as well. This man must be held accountable.

    June 18, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Rivirivi, Miami, FLorida

    Mr. Cheney made billions in his food company-no bidding-he just got the business- by selling 3 meal plates per day per soldier per month per year over year over year. I bet he and his other financial sociopaths friends would love to be in the food business more years! Shame on you Cheney!

    June 18, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Harvey Tabasky

    Alliance for a Strong America aka Alliance with the oil companies, the Koch Brothers, and the Saudi Arabian sheiks that have been Bush Family personal friends for decades. Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and Condoleeza Rice owe the American people a trillion dollars for their War in Iraq, and it's time to collect. This is the same fool who sent thousands to die and be maimed in Iraq but he was "too busy" when it was his turn to serve in Vietnam. If he thinks he can do a better job, install him as the President of Iraq and make McCain the Senior Commandant of their armed forces. See how long it takes before they run for cover, a la 9-11 when Cheney was nowhere to be found after the planes hit the towers.

    June 18, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. willy

    Iraq taught all the one to be tough guy dictators that you want to bluff about nukes and puff your chest out, be prepared to have your bluff called and end up in a body bag....President O has now showed them they can go back to making threats, buzzing our ships, invading countries, taking our citizens hostage and killing your citizens....no wories

    June 18, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. JimTheBoy

    Here is Cheney, a mass murderer, who should be in prison and the media is giving him attention. Only thing that he should be given is a prison cell.

    June 18, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Bridget

    Dick you are seriously out of touch..........we should NEVER have gone in there to begin with and now he wants to put more troops in there!

    June 18, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Obama deserves every bit of ripping as he rips off American daily

    June 18, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Ted

    If Cheney cares so much about the situation in Iraq he should move there with his daughter. This guy needs to shut up.

    June 18, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. dragnet767

    Bush/Cheney should be dropped in the middle of Iraq and left there.

    June 18, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. DB

    It's a lot easier to break something than it is to put it back together again.

    And when you're the guy that broke it, I guess it's easy to point your finger at the guy that tried to put it back together for you.

    June 18, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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