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. DBob

    The same Cheney who cancelled a trip to Canada because he was afraid they'd turn him over to the international criminal court is giving advice again?

    I assume his advice is to ISIS on how to effectively torture?

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Kaz

    " a non-profit advocacy organization that they say will "advocate for a restoration of American strength and power.""

    Sooo.. they will push for more wars.

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Jim Rome

    Vietnam lasted 10 years and killed 58,000. Afghanistan lasted 12 years and killed 4,000. Hmm.

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Jim

    Hummm....it was Cheney and Bush 2 that invaded Iraq, de-Bathisized the government, eliminated it's trained military, and executed its government leadership all based on bogus garbage about WMD and ties to terrorist groups, most prominently Al Queda. All of the issues now facing Iraq are directly the result of the former Republican administrations actions. Obama ran on a platform that included getting US troops out of Iraq ASAP, something the American people wanted. He did that and he's to blame?

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Longtimer


    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.
    Did you forget about Mr. Bush a.k.a. the "vacation President" so soon? He's the guy that was on vacation for 3 years out of his 8 in office. That just has to make you PROUD!

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Ace

    Cheney and his boss made the Middle East an al Qaeda training ground, now he complains about the danger.

    June 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. katiepea

    eventually it will get so bad there that investigations will be had as to why we ever did this in the first place, very quickly history will reveal that it's the worst thing America has ever done. This will lead to public demand that Cheney and Bush be prosecuted for the war crimes that their own cabinet members admit they are guilty of. The only reason they haven't been prosecuted is the current administrations unwillingness to dwell on it. Whether they are guilty or not has already been determined, they are, they've been convicted in multiple countries already. They can't even freely travel the world for fear of being arrested. Their day is coming and expect to hear much more of this sort of rhetoric coming from them to attempt to quell the storm that will soon take over their lives. There is only one outcome possible, with Cheney behind bars.

    June 18, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. silyazzrethugs

    I find it hilariously ironic that this war-monger who is responsible for thousands of lives for no-good reason, wants to tell the President what he's doing wrong and that he's incompetent? Cheney is good at making millions off the back of wars and young men, (never mind that they aren't his own). I think before the mid-terms we all all need to put his evil mug on posters to remind everyone that he is a HUGE part of where we are with two-unfunded wars, with no exit stratedgy from day one, just a big old money making scheme for the good ole' boys. I can still remember GW, declaring, "mission accomplished" ...lol.

    June 18, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    'Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," < I guess that would be Bush/Cheny when they started a war in Iraq about non-existent WMD.

    "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," < What Cheny fails to understand is that war is politics by other means and Bush utterly failed to do anything to create a stable political situation in Iraq thus leading to the inevitable.

    June 18, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Wise1

    The Cheney's are right. After every disaster, what does Obama do? He either goes golfing or to a fund raiser. We have no influence on the world stage. Domestic issues remain unsolved. Blacks are worse off than they were before he took office. The rich are richer and the poor are poorer. Obama has succeeded in winning the crown from Jimmy Carter as the worst POTUS ever.

    June 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Andrew

    So, one of the four horsemen Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rove want WAR,WAR,WAR of course. Oh, that's right they have heavy stocks in OIL. These corporate dogs want our children to protect their oil rights, and be bullet fodder. Why don't we send them over to Iraq and let them battle it out for their oil stocks. Good old Dickie at it again. Do us all a favor stay out of this you did a number on the country the last time you were in charge.

    June 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Essie

    Dick Cheney and his daughter are a disgrace to the entire political structure of the U.S.. I wonder how he can sleep at night knowing he was the cause of so much death and destruction. I agree with Bubba, he should be brought before an international court and tried

    June 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |

    Adolph Cheney cut and ran away from Snooki Palin in 2012. She owns him.

    June 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Robert N. constant

    When Cheney and Bush decided to topple Saddam Hussein, they inserted the United States into the middle of a sectarian war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that has been going on since the seventh century A.D.
    Of course, American and British corporations struck oil deals with the new Shiite government, which turned around and started almost immediately to get revenge on the Sunnis Saddam Hussein had headed. So it goes.. The Shiites hate us and support Assad and Hezbollah. The Sunnis hate us and now support Al Qaeda, banned in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Last week McCain wanted us to support the Sunnis fighting in Syria. Now that they have crossed into Iraq he wants us to bomb them.
    All of this is the legacy of George W. Bush, even the date set for withdrawal of American forces and setting up the current government., which declined continuing American Troops. Cheney and Bush, up to their eyeballs in oil and blood.

    June 18, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Lisa P


    ... When you LACK leadership you are LEAD...

    June 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm

    Seriously? In that case I would say that the GOP is made up of either fishing weights or buckshot or very very old style plumbing. Am I right? Which one is Dick Cheney?

    June 18, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Amk11bpg

    Cheney knowingly lied to the American people to justify his war for profit. An while in office as V.P. for 8 years he reported his net worth of 30-35 million. Yet one year after leaving office during the hight of the Financial Meltdown his net worth jumped to over 300 million. So tell me again how you didn't benefit from all those no bid contracts Halliburton received! Or why despite laws against U.S. Company's prohibiting them from doing business with Iran Halliburton created a Corporation on paper in the Cayman Islands an never stopped doing business with Iran.

    June 18, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Longtimer

    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.
    There is no Statute of Limitations on reality Yeager- and that's the problem with the GOP today- facts don't count, truth doesn't count, history doesn't count. The Right appears to believe lies early and often are all they need. The pathetic few here supporting dregs like Cheney ought to show you how far off mark you are.

    June 18, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. RocketJSquirrel

    Cheney should be standing trial for war crimes.

    June 18, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Guy

    Well said DC

    June 18, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. bob s

    Why do we want troops in Iraq? This is an Iraqi problem to be solved by the Iraqi people.

    June 18, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    "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"

    Excellent comparison... Iraq was just like 1945. I mean after all it was... uh, no it wasn't.
    But there was... nope, nothing like that...
    That one thing was kinda'... no, it was nothing like 1945.
    You are a an idiot. Harry Reid is way more of a leader and patriot than dick cheney. dick wouldn't even be allowed to carry Harry's hat if this were 1945.
    cheney would have been on trial at Nuremborg.

    June 18, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. TerminalSanity

    My response to Mr. Cheney's opinion on this matter are perhaps best articulated in his own words; "Go **Expletive** yourself"

    This massive arrogant ignorant cuss of man who helped lead us into this mess and ignored the military's brass about what the occupation would take and botched the execution of the ill-conceived endeavor, has the gall to crawl out form under his rock and complain about how Obama didn't take the ball of excrement the Bush Administration handed him off to Obama and spin it into gold? Yeah Mr. Cheney if you think this nation needed to and still needs have expended more lives and more money to make you feel better about the immense you helped create how about you put your money and your life on the line first. Then maybe you'll have a shred of credibility on this matter.

    June 18, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Jefferson

    the thing with these interviewers is that they do not have the guts to ask the right questions. "Mr. Cheney, wasn’t this war and the lost of many US soldier lives, along with those of the Iraqi civilians caused by the decision made by Bush, you and the Administration?" And what did you think was going happen once the U.S pulled out of Iraq? Also, where are these WMDs you were so sure of, which was the reason the U.S went to war? And did you really think getting rid of Saddam was in the best interest of the U.S because it allowed Iran, who feared Saddam, to now get deeply involved in what is happening in the Middle East.

    June 18, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. alohagw

    Barrack Lawless Obama is leading. He is leading the world to a calamity of monumental proportions! Under Bush, Rob Corker met or spoke with Maliki almost every day. Bush spoke with him by phone regularly. This kept Maliki in check, all that stopped when Obama took office. He failed to negoitate an extension for US forces because the didn't want one! He wanted the US out, be damned the consequences.

    When we see $6.00 per gallon fuel charges and world economic disruptions, some will see the light! But the lights are going out!

    June 18, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. wealthcoaches

    Why do we care AT ALL what Dick Cheney believes – or even worse, his DAUGHTER?

    June 18, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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