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. jimboe

    Cheney and Bush's war bankrupted the United States and made him rich. As long as we're at war, the Cheney's make money.

    June 18, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. cc

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," ......except George W Bush and
    Dick Cheney. You've done enough damage to this country Dick. Six years later we're still stuck with the mess you got us into. Please, go away.

    June 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. David Everett

    We didn't get the immunity agreement we need to protect our troops. Cheney would let our troop be persecuted under Iraqi law. Someone tazer him to screw up his pacemaker. Better him than our troops.

    June 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Jake Ames

    Cheney imagines he would have gone with MacArthur and marched all the way to Peking, as we called it then.

    Cheney imagines he would have joined the army as a colonel. No foot patrol for him.

    June 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Peach

    Obama has a foreign policy???? When you LACK leadership you are LEAD. This is what happens when you elect someone clearly more interested in golfing that being president.

    June 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. rs

    Mr. Cheney is proof positive the GOP has lost its mind and is no longer dealing with reality- at all!

    June 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    Let me be clear, you know, there comes a point when we have to realize we cant blame everything on Bush/Cheney.......That was six years ago folks.


    However, this ENTIRE Iraq debacle lies at THEIR feet, no matter how much time has passed.

    June 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. dannyCali

    Obama might be wrong now but in next 20 to 50 years Obama going to be the best President in history and he going to be right. Helping Iraq now is mean helping Iran in the future that's why Obama need to double check first.

    June 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. chiz3914

    Tough tacking Dick Cheney who did anything he could to avoid getting drafted. Hypocrite

    June 18, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. DC

    Let me see if I understand this. Dick Cheney is the same draft dodging military expert who got us into the Iraq war and now he is trying to blame President Obama for their problems? The source of all of Iraq's current turmoil goes back to when that nation was created after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The British and French, who drew up the new boundaries, did not take into account the sectarian and tribal tensions of the region. Once again, outsiders meddled in the Mideast and got it really wrong. Our best policy is to stay our of Iraq and let them fight it out. If they want democracy they will have to fight for it. So far, Iraqi soldiers have shed their uniforms and run. It does not look like they want democracy badly enough to fight for it, so why should we fight for them? Enough Americans have died as a result of the Bush-Cheney disaster of attacking Iraq. Cheney should hang his head in shame for the pain and suffering he brought to our troops.

    June 18, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Indigo Jingo

    time for a diaper change daddy...

    June 18, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. flidiot

    Tell you what, as soon as we find those wmd's, get greeted as liberators, see the last throes of al Queda, have the war pay for itself, then I will care what this literally heartless, draft-dodging warmonger and his doughnut eating sidekick have to say.

    June 18, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. boyscout

    chinny and rover are fair standup comics.................They began all the carnage in the middle east lest we forget................

    June 18, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Ted T.

    The fiasco in Iraq and throughout the middle east is the result of Bush/Cheney deception in getting us into a war causing untold misery to millions.

    June 18, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Bush Sr.

    Bush Sr. never invaded Bagdhad and left Saddam in power because, as unpleasant as it was, that was what was in America's national interests. His simplistic son W, listening to ultra conservatives, thought American exceptionalism could solve any problem. Yah right.

    June 18, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Ol' Yeller

    I think it is refreshing that an article on cheney is running about 99.7% posts against him with the majority of those recognizing his status as a war criminal. I do not see the regulars like tommy g, chris et, tom i, donna, and rick mcdaniel on here defending their guy (wise move on their part; tom I would see that 'the gang' had became a mob and his little victim game would not play well among this crowd- thank gawd for the momentary reprieve from that whiner!).
    Tom made his appearances here and there. On page 6(?) he called me a racist and a bigot in a juvenile attempt to bait me into another one of his manufactured arguments. What is really amazing about it is that I hadn't made a single post on the thread yet, or on the day for that matter.

    June 18, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Darth Vader

    Dick Chaney intentionally misled the world and sent our troops into an unnecessary war so his friends in the oil and weapon businesses could profit from American deaths. He is evil incarnate.

    June 18, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. rs


    I'm glad the pacfists on this blog were not around in 1945. A note to Harry Reid: Your in a battle of wits and are an unarmed opponent.........retire .
    You seriously aren't comparing George and Dick's "big adventure" in Iraq to fighting WW II I hope. You can't even explain how the debacle in Iraq occurred much less formulate a solution. Look, Al-Malaki wanted us out- and we're out. This is no longer even an issue for the United States. Bush and Cheney destroyed Iraq and the results are before you today. Grow-up!

    June 18, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. HomeSweet2012

    I hope the Democrats are happy. They should have put this man and Bush in jail for the mess they made.

    But not we wanted to bring the country together and move one.

    Look around Democrats it has been almost 6 years and we still have the Bush mess and now we get to see this very evil man and his daughter in the media.

    I will be so happy when the American People votes out every last Republican so we can move forward away for the memory of these people.

    June 18, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. chuckdubdubdub

    This man has so much negative credibility on this topic it boggles the mind.– and THAT should be the topic and certainly not the content of what he says.

    June 18, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. ResedaJohn

    Shame on CNN for giving any voice to these criminals who were not only wrong on Iraq the first time but lied about it. C'mon, CNN, you're better than that.

    June 18, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Rony

    Whose idea was it to invade Iraq?

    June 18, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. CShaffer

    The Cheney/Bush administration was a disastrous administration for the American people. To say they made mistakes is disingenuous. They did what they did deliberately. They knew they were lying every step of the way. From their point of view they accomplished what they set out to do. They moved enormous amounts of money into the hands of their cronies in the defense industry and arms industry. They created a huge national debt that "starved the beast" and made it nearly impossible for a democratic president to accomplish any socially beneficial goals. Through deregulation of the financial industry and lax enforcement of the remaining rules they engineered an economic collapse that allowed the national treasury to be raided one more time by their rich banker friends. This resulted in a bleak employment outlook that allowed their corporate cronies to keep wages depressed for the Americas worker and made it easy to find volunteers for their war machine. They knew what they were doing and did it deliberately. What is sad to me is to watch CNN devolve into a mini-Fox news wanna be and keep providing a platform for these criminals. CNN used to be an important news organization.

    June 18, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. R Leon

    If American Express can cancel your credit card, can't world media cancel the Cheney's credibility cards? I suspect this is more about Halliburton or big oil using their stooge to make a quick buck – again than about any intelligent foreign policy thought.

    June 18, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. rosethornne

    Uh huh.
    And we care what Darth "War Criminal" Cheney says about any subject because..... why?

    June 18, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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