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. Michael

    i cannot begin to tell you how much i appreciate this. Cheney(s) are a constant reminder that unless they profit from war, they have no use for the alternative.

    June 18, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Jessy

    Oh that's just rich coming from the man who was willing to get our troops killed just to boost Halliburton's revenue. Cheney, I suggest you crawl back into the rock you came from. The world is a better place without you spreading hypocrisy.

    June 18, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Furious

    Don't get me started over John McCain. He is no war hero. He was hot dogging and buzzing Hanoi when he got shot down. Did he have orders to be over Hanoi? NO. Was he investigated and court martial-ed? NO

    Cheney, McCain, and all the other war mongers are not heroes.

    June 18, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Independant Voter

    These people are just disgusting. They created this War to get Rich. They setup all kinds of support companies, loaded up on their stock, fabricated a reason for War, gave out no-bid contracts to these companies and then declared Mission Accomplished. Then they setup a puppet government, signed a treaty to pull out. Gave these very same Sunnis 80 Million in Cash (just like Braveheart) to stand down so that the surge looked successful.

    We lost over 4000 troops, have spent over 1Trillion in Direct Cost. Who knows how much in indirect cost.

    And now after these Sunnis used that money to arm themselves, per Cheney, Obama is to blame.

    Just Disgusting People.

    June 18, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. BUD

    Cheney needs to crawl back in a hole with Bush after causing this mess.

    June 18, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Kevin


    June 18, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. steve

    I'm ashamed to say that I'm an american when a former vp says hypocritical things about a president that inherited a mess in iraq and afghanistan.Shame on "dick" cheney. It's to bad they wasted a heart transplant on that pos.

    June 18, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. silyazzrethugs

    Hughiewis – You got my vote for best comment on this board and on most any board! I will have a good, long laugh over that one? All I can say is that his parents musta' known something when they named him or were just incredibly prophetic. Lolololol!

    June 18, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Aerin

    Hang Cheney.

    June 18, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. MAJ Lich

    You repypocrits are out of gas. Everything you said about the war, you were wrong!
    The 9/11 attack came from Iraq- WRONG!
    The war will pay for itself- WRONG!
    Bringing Democracey will be good for Iraq- WRONG!
    Al Qada is no more- WRONG!
    We will bring violence to an acceptable level- WRONG!
    We will have a sweat oil deal(that is why the administration went in)- WRONG!
    Iraq will be our ally against Iran- WRONG!
    I'm not a democrat, I'm an independent. What in this universe would make us want to trust your party again? Your party is racist, bigot and hateful. You want there other side or anyone against your views to fail so you can get power. Here is the reality; you will never see the WH again for the next two decades. The only reason why you hold the house of representatives is gerrymandering and if you say it aint so, you are delusional. Please tune into Fox News...your news that counts 🙂
    I miss my granparents generation. At least they understood the greater good of the country despite beliefs. I know if there was a war tax or a draft, you lazy citizens would be in arms. I'm embarrassed of you all and to wear the uniform. THis is why other nations laugh at us in Europe and Canada. We need to do some real soul searching. I know someone is going to claim I'm a trator...guess I'll have coffee ready for the NSA.

    June 18, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    It has always been about religious differences in Iraq. Anyone who argues differently has no understanding of the region's history. Now we have yet another boogeyman to worry about. No matter how many times we kill the new boogeyman, another will rise. Let the Iraqi's figure this out themselves. The militias in Bagdad may actually stand up and fight for their country.

    June 18, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Terry Chero

    Listen to the drums ...the band is hitting the road again...As a former Marine we saw pretty fast what all this was really about...$$$$...standing guard on the oil fields ... listen to the lips flapping they have had our guys there forever... Blood for Profit the New American State Middle East Texas...send them all who are clammering... give them a one way ticket and a BBag

    June 18, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Jimmyz23

    What hypocrisy. Cheney and daughter criticize Obama for playing golf.
    Let's think back to the end of January 2006 when the Pentagon said the Army was stretched too thin;
    and to Feb. 2, 2006 when Cheney croney Rumsfeld said he "doubts" Iraq is going to be a long war;
    and to Feb. 3, 2006, when Bush requested $70 BILLION (!) for his (and Cheney's) Iraq & Afghanistan adventures.
    THEN zoom forward to Feb. 11, 2006 when Cheney, "fiddling" while the disaster that was his Iraq plan burned up our national treasure, decided to go hunting, and, in a typical poor move, decided to shoot his fellow old-man quail-hunter in the face.
    I think that old man would have preferred that Cheney played golf in lieu of shooting him in the face.
    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

    June 18, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Clear and Present Thinker

    Cheney, the hindsight expert seeing the world through his hind end.

    June 18, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Deej

    Cheney has a lot of nerve acting superior about this situation when he had more to do with causing it than even Bush II. He's pure evil.

    June 18, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. rschier

    Did not know he was still alive. Of course now I'm wondering how he still could be.

    June 18, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Executive Orders

    Forgetting the fact that he and his cronies started this mess in the first place...

    June 18, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Barry

    The comments from Cheney are unbelievable. He and his buddy George really screwed up things during their time in office, got us into two wars and blame it on Obama? Talk about the kettle being black. I seem to remember Bush senior got us into Somolia which turned out to be one hell of a mess and then blamed Clinton when he took over office. Good old Bushes!!!

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

    who cares what he thinks? He should be tried for war crimes.

    June 18, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Frank

    Why does the United States have to be the police of the world? Why do we ALWAYS send in our troops, ships, vehicles, weapons, and other resources for every "crisis"? You name it, we go. I thought we needed to cut costs? We should have learned that lesson in Vietnam. What did we accomplish other than losing 58,000 young Americans? What did we accomplish in IRAQ? Nothing. How about other conflicts other than WWs. Nothing but loss. Let some of the other countries step into the fray and do something. It is not always the US responsibility. OK, now you can attack me.

    June 18, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. JJ Popowich

    For once Dick Cheney almost spoke the truth. The comment that he made about al Qaeda not being in Iraq when Obama came into office is almost correct. Prior to Cheney's illegal war on Iraq Hussein would't allow al Qaeda into Iraq. It was not the haven for terrorists it is today. That is 100% the fault of Cheney's war (normally I would have said Bush 2's war but we all know Bush wasn't the "real" president in that office). No Iraq is the mess it is because Cheney and team lied to America, lied to Congress, and our allies about weapnos of mass destruction. In fact it is now absurd that Cheney wants to link the Iraq discussion to terrorism as the origianl reason for heading to Iraq was the fear that Hussein, not terrorists, would use the weapons of mass destruction on his people and other countries in the region.

    I agree with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – the last thing this country should ever do is listen to a Cheney [or a Bush] again on any issue. What they did together was a clear violation of our laws and the only time we should ever listen to them again is in a court of law as they give their remorseful statment for violating our laws and the trust of the American people, and for leading our great country down a path towards hatred and disrepect world wide. America has lost so much credibility and standing in the world and it will take years of presidents like Obama to recover from the damage those two did. Years.

    June 18, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Kimo

    "...Al Qada in Iraq was defeated"? How about when Bush/Cheney came into office Al Qada in Iraq didn't even exist. Nor did ISIS. If an objective expert on the middle east tells says that Obama has handled the withdrawal poorly I'll listen but no one from the Bush administration has any credibility because they were wrong about virtually everything you could be wrong about other than the US military could overthrow the government pretty easily. Everything after that was an unplanned disaster based on arrogance. Just one example would be firing Gen. Shinseki for saying they needed hundreds of thousands of troops post-invasion when Rumsfeld though otherwise. Another would be replacing Garner with Bremer. Remember also that Bush is the one who signed the treaty with Al Maliki that resulted in the present situation.

    June 18, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. John

    Cheney wants to go back 10 years and redo what he did wrong the first time, when he convinced M. M. Bush (Mental Midget) that Iraq was a home for terrorists (thought Saddam was doing a good job killing them all), was a good source of oil (which it was not producing anywhere near as much as was thought), and provide Halliburton with a good source of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money). Well, he was right on the Halliburton, and wants to send them back for more.

    June 18, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Todd C

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." He's talking about Bush, right?

    June 18, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Jake

    Taking advice from Cheney is like taking advice from a serial killer who's stalking you. Freaking heartless man, pun intended.

    June 18, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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