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. bk

    Cheney has had 5 heart attacks and he is still alive???? When will Satan's son go home to be with his father?

    June 18, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Boo

    This lousy stinking dirt bag should talk. I have never despised a politician the way I despise this war-mongering cowardly lying hypocrite. I wish he would crawl back into the sewer he came out of.

    June 18, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Listening to Cheney rant over the last few years has reminded of one definition of insanity. Insanity is when you idolize your own beliefs. Cheney has confabulated an alternate reality, one which he genuinely believes exists. Poor man.

    June 18, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Lone Star

    Putting all the rhetoric aside, it's an obvious fact that Halliburton and other military contractors would benefit greatly should we engage our military assets in more material way. Given Cheney's known relationships here, he's clearly not an unbiased voice on this issue.

    The only thing more insulting than him calling for our military to intervene is his daughter saying chiming in. Why doesn't she get her own butt over there and establish her own authority on the subject before she calls for my family to be deployed?

    June 18, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. American Majority

    Pretty brave talk for someone that never served the country in an military uniform.

    June 18, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. smellferd

    Obama golfs while the world burns.

    June 18, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Lucky18

    Five times deferred Cheney critiquing the President. Funny!
    Maybe he'll travel abroad to do the same there!
    Oh, he can't...they'd hang him!

    June 18, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. peter

    no wmd found in iraq. cheney lied. cheneny said al-quada was training in iraq. another lie. the 5 deferment-from-vietnam cheney is the biggest chickenhawk. in america history. sending our sons off to die while he didn’t fight in vietnam because he was too scared. why doesn’t he send his 2 daughters to iraq to fight for “freedom” and ‘war on terror”? cheney is angry because iraq will always be his and bush’s legacy. amen

    June 18, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. The Energizer

    Why won't Cheney die?

    June 18, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Carl Persson

    The neocons, with Cheney as commander in chief, bear much of the responsibility of the current instability in the region. With sunningly bad intelligence and political analysis they threw massive amounts of fuel on what was then a simmering centuries old divide in the Muslim religion. They opened Pandora's box. Cheney and his friends have never accepted any responsibility for this, or the nearly 500 US lives and 2 trillion dollars borrowed to fight this doomed war. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    June 18, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I for one

    June 18, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. rep

    "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."

    Sorry, but what's the statue of limitations on blame for a mess he directly made (as C-i-C) that is now dam n near impossible to clean up?? Fact is, Bush is the one who swatted the hornet's nest. Now, $2 Trillion dollars, 4k+ lives and a decade later, the rest of the country is continuing to get stung. And we have very little to show for it, mind you.

    Should we really blame Obama for that? Trying to quell century-long, region-wide, sectarian conflicts and upheaval that was–even at it's best–only barely held together by a dictator? In six lousy years??? Let's just get down to brass tacks: How many more American lives and dollars and time are you (or any of us) willing to give to make that happen?

    June 18, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Pat

    I agree that Obama screwed up by not going in early and big with military support for moderate opposition groups in Syria. Instead Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Monarchies funded the extremist groups and we get the most extremist groups now being the ones with the most power. Saudi Arabia, Qatar... our so called allies are funding the groups that are the most extreme.

    But Cheney is dead wrong on Iraq. We spent 8 years in Iraq and the moment we step away the Shiite majority ends up oppressing the Sunni and playing hardball with the Kurds and undoing any attempts at unifying the country. Keeping Iraq intact only in order to give the Shiite majority more territory and more oil revenue to control in order to oppress minorities isn't in the American interest.. Either way we go on this , given the bad behavior of most of our "allies" in the Gulf and Middle East, Iran seems like potentially a more stable and constructive partner and hopefully we will continue to improve relations.

    There is enough blame to go around, but the proven fact on the ground is that Iraq can't be kept together except with the use of a great deal of very costly outside force or in the case of Saddam Hussein with a brutal dictatorship that isn't afraid to use torture and mass executions to instill extreme fear in the populace. The US interest is to try to help Iraq fall apart with as little bloodshed as possible so that we can find a sustainable balance of power in the region without dangerous repression of minorities that could cause future violence or terrorism

    June 18, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. rs

    My only regret with Mr. Cheney's unbelievable commentary is that it is happening now, and not say in October where it would clearly show off Republicans for what they are- crazy, unhinged lunatics who are completely unfit for government service. Cheney is an absolute embarrassment- much in the style of Akin and so many others of their ilk.

    June 18, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Mel

    "Rarely has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
    - Dick and Liz Cheney on Obama, June 18, 2014

    "Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? If you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq."
    - Dick Cheney, April 15, 1994

    "We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
    - Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003

    "When I think civil war, I think Antietam, Gettysburg. I don't think we're there yet."
    - Dick Cheney, October 25, 2006

    - Dick Cheney, when informed by a reporter that two-thirds of Americans do not think the Iraq war was worth the cost, March 19, 2008

    "If there is one thing this country does not need, it is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars."
    - Sen. Harry Reid

    June 18, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Anon

    That anyone with half a brain or more would listen to anything that Dick Cheney has to say about U.S. foreign policy makes me physically ill. Especially with respect to Iraq or the 'terrorists' that he and Dubya created with their ill-advised, ill-conceived, and illegal activities, that cost thousands of American, and others, lives and trillions of taxpayer dollars that they stuffed gleefully into their own pockets. Pardon me while I go puke.

    June 18, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. josh

    The whole Bush?cheney years destroyed our country ..but besides that they have been provably wrong and should apologize to the country instead of writing op eds for the shill of Fox News

    June 18, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. james czarkowski

    Cheney does less damage duck hunting in corn fields, at least he only injure them by shooting them in the back, not direct torture he support. How credible is this joker?? Any comment by Cheney that is negative is a note that one is on the right side. JIM>

    June 18, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. indulgentiam

    Cheney is was and always will be a chickenhawk who is willing ton sacrifice the lives of US military so long as it benefits Haliburton, the Koch Bros. and the military industrial complex. Send HIM to fight for his economic interests. He is a draft-dodging coward.

    June 18, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. BaltoPaul

    1. Never involve yourself in someone else's civil war.
    2. If you *do* involve yourself in someone else's civil war, expect to stay there 50 years, until their 2nd generation adopts your system of government, or expect to ultimately lose.

    June 18, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. DustyOnesIsBack

    Look at all the low informed progressives mouth off.

    June 18, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. tstorm92

    Cheney is one of the biggest MONSTERS of the 21st Century. This gross coward should be spending the rest of his life in a federal prison!

    June 18, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. california99

    That criminal Cheney is not tired of killing people and making millions of money with his Halliburton company that rebuilt Iraq? SHAME ON HIM AND BUSH FOR GETTING US INTO IRAQ WITH LIES.....LIES...HE has some nerve!

    June 18, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. International Monitor

    Hey folks, Cheney and Cheney were talking about Cheney and Bush, and the Cheneys got that right – "Rarely has a U.S. president (meaning Bush, plus Cheney) been so wrong about so much (WMD) at the expense (some $trillion) of so many (some 4,500 US troops & some 500,000 Iraqis)," look who's talking...

    Hey GOP combrades, take the golden advice from your Sarah the great – LET ALAH SORT IT OUT.

    June 18, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. muhfuh

    When no weapons were found –

    The invasion of Iraq was a "tragic mistake." –Mitch McConnell

    The invasion of Iraq was the "right thing to do." –Condoleezza Rice

    We would have invaded anyway. –Dick Cheney

    That would not even have come up for a vote. –Hillary Clinton

    June 18, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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