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. tstorm92

    Cheney is one of America's most notorious "monsters" who should be spending his life in a federal prison! His lies cost over 5,000 brave Americans lives in Iraq. How dare this "creep" of a fowl human being tell us what to do!

    June 18, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Ralph

    I don't have a crystal ball to see if what Obama is doing is right or wrong. I'm not a military strategist, nor have latest intel, on the ground, to make an informed opinion. It seems comical (political) to have these right wing guys come out to advocate troops back on the ground....ESPECIALLY from the same guys who got us there in the first place under completely wrong pretenses.

    If it comes down to it, and the only way to stabilize Iraq is through foreign military presences – then I would believe that we absolutely need to build an alliance even if it includes Iran.

    June 18, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. california99

    Cheney is a LIAR and wants to make more money with his company Halliburton!

    June 18, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. David

    Why the HELL does Dick Cheney think he has ANY say about Iraq??!!?!! And why isn't he in JAIL?

    June 18, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. james

    There is nobody in America who I distrust more than Dick Cheney. He was a primary architect of everything he is now complaining about, and would be tried as a war criminal if there were any true justice in this world. For safety and security, our nation should do exactly the opposite of anything he recommends.

    June 18, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. mike

    Cheney should have faced a firing squad for treason for fabricating intelligence that led to the invasion and laundering it through the intelligence community.

    June 18, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. JJB

    Hey Dick..... take the point in Mosul and show us how it's done. Take along Bushy, Rummy and Doughboy Rove with you. Probably none of this would be going on if you just stuck with Afghanistan!

    June 18, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Bob

    Yes, he's called "Dick" Cheney for more than one reason.

    June 18, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. SnakePlissken

    "to justify his war for profit" That is an over-simplification. The global economy needs a global police force and the US military was chosen for that purpose. This provides (2) benefits for the US: 1) we remain the super-power and have trained professionals to operate our high-tech weapons and manage the logistics of deployment, and 2) provides jobs in the USA that replace those given to Asia so that Asians will work in factories while we will police them. So while many people lost better paying factory jobs in the US, they can either join the Global Police Force or work for less, but since products from Asia cost less, it's a wash. True story.

    June 18, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Eileen Leff

    I would rather discuss what to do about the situation going forward. No matter how we got here, or who is to blame, we have a really bad situation and it can cause many more American lives if we do nothing. We need a plan and leadership to implement it. It is a great opportunity for any leader that steps up right now.

    June 18, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. vin

    chenny has no shame, as he caused innumerable acts of brutality in Iraq. he is too stupid to know, just like the other hard line right wing racist hypocrites who got us in this war, 'chenys war', This was was fought to allow lucrative wartime awards of government contracts to chenny's friends and repub campaign donaters such as hallyburton.
    in fairness, while he is still greatly loved in conservative circles. he is a damned good repub fundraiser.

    June 18, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. canuuk

    Three days before "Shock and Awe" Dick Cheney went on Tim Russert's show and lied about a fake connection between Sadaam Hussein and bin Laden (who any third string CIA analyst could have told him hated each other). How many American kids went to their deaths in Iraq beliving that they were avenging 9/11. The media needs to ignore this war criminal.

    June 18, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. lolwut

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," the wrote Cheney and his daughter. LOL what a complete and total freaking moron. Yes Dick, it's Obama that is wrong on Iraq. Not you and dubya. Meanwhile the rest of us are still waiting for the link between al queda and Iraq and those WMD's. Oh that's right, you weren't "wrong" about those things, you were "lying" about those things. Now I see the difference.

    June 18, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. 2Sliqq

    It must be interesting being Cheney, not having a soul and all...

    June 18, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. yeahright


    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.

    “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.
    Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

    ― George W. Bush
    Now there's leadership for you. not.

    June 18, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. screenthis

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"

    You don't say? Wake me when there's real news. Republicans criticizing the administration largely falls on deaf ears now after criticizing absolutely everything. No validity.

    June 18, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. B.

    This guy is mainly responsible for our being in this travesty! He , Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Richard Peril should all be in prison for crimes against Humanity !

    June 18, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Deac

    They're right. He's the worst president in US history

    June 18, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Waterboard

    Cheney is the poster boy for republican asininity his irrational influence has done irreparable economic damage to America the man is a confederate.

    June 18, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Clyde

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many"

    He's talking about Bush and the initial invasion right?


    June 18, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. Frank

    Let Cheney and his daughter lead the troops in defending against ISIS. Oh, he is the one that never served anywhere. He spent his entire public service career sending others to their deaths over OIL

    June 18, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. souleater21

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"

    I assume he was talking about Bush.

    June 18, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. really

    you got us into to it and the american public took us out... so deal with it penguin.

    June 18, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. souleater21

    Cheney will go down as one of the great war criminals in history.

    June 18, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. kinjirurm

    Cheney playing armchair president again. Nothing to see here, move along.

    June 18, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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