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. Tom

    One of the most of disgusting POS in the world. I can't believe that he hasn't been taken care of yet

    June 18, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. TrumanTown

    All of Obama's miscues put together would not come close to equalling the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld disaster on Iraq. Let us know when we're actually welcomed as liberators, Dick. No one pays any attention to what you think.

    June 18, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. dlh

    It was not Obama's decision to pull all the troops out of Iraq, it was Iraq's decission that they should leave. Dick Cheney is a war monger who had done nothing but hurt this country's reputation and put American lives at risk for oil dollars. I've often thought he should be charged with war crimes in relation to the torture of prisoners during the Bush administration, if not treason for getting us into the mess in Iraq. And no, I'm not some bleeding heart liberal – I rarely vote Democratic. If the Bush administration hadn't disbanded the well organized Iraqi military, they would now have a army strong enough to resist the insurgents. And if they hadn't had to spend billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq only to have insurgents tear it down again, perhaps we would not be $17 trillion in debt now.

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

    Being criticized by the Cheneys on any subject is the highest compliment any president could receive. If it's possible to be more wrong than Dick on foreign policy, no one has yet discovered how.

    June 18, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Public Pit Bull

    Obama continues to send our country and our national security down the drain. Somehow we need to survive Obamanation and get a real president who actually puts in a work week or two.

    June 18, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Hogan's Goat

    When he was default president, he did a horrible job. Drunk Dubya couldn't have done it worse if he'd sobered up and gone back to work. Neither one of them did anything except bankrupt us and make us look bad to the world, and they keep popping up like gophers and saying "Hey, why don't we invade somebody? It will be TOTALLY COOL!"

    June 18, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. dw

    No one listens to traitors...

    June 18, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. neoform

    Why does anyone care what Cheney has to say about Iraq? Even if Obama is/was wrong about Iraq, the situation in Iraq is *entirely* Cheney's fault. He started this crap. No one should listen to a word he says about anything relating to Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Grumpster

    Cheney has lost all rights to say anything about Iraq. The only thing he can do to help now is to take his hunting rifle and go over there himself. He seems to have a propensity for shooting people. The guy is pure evil.....he can go up against that sort of pure evil as well.

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

    Here is what Cheney will be remembered for
    ...*1 Of all the Chicken Hawks, he was far and away the most "cowardly"......got 5 college deferments to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, while most of his classmates went to war, then later pushed to invade Iraq, sending other people's children to get blown up, while he was never willing to take that risk for himself.
    ...*2 9/11......when we needed a president in charge to take command and Bush in a kindergarten class in Florida, and frozen for a full 4 minutes after being notified.......Cheney was on his way to the White House basement rather than taking charge of the Sept. 11 happenings, including the United Flight in the air
    ....*3...This article....he more than anyone wanted to invade Iraq for selfish (oil) reasons and now in 2014 wants to blame Obama for Iraq, hoping that people will forget who pushed the biggest US military mistake in history.

    June 18, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. sparky

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

    i seem to remember this time in 2003...

    June 18, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. RLR

    The nerve of that murderer; what a hypocrit.

    June 18, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. allaisa

    As a rejoinder I can only quote President Lincoln "It is better to stay silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth (or write in Cheney's case) and remove all doubt"

    June 18, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. People's Vote

    How about we send Dick to Iraq to negotiate with ISIS and mandate all Senators go to their local VA hospital for health care. Should resolve both situations quickly.

    June 18, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Paul

    Is this a joke? It must be.

    June 18, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Peggy

    You pigs! You–Dick! And you–Liz! You've earned that name, both of you! Go home and roll in the filthy lies that have created and spewed! The world is sick from all of the damage that you have caused and we just want you to GO AWAY!

    June 18, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    "I think it will go relatively quickly. Weeks rather than months." (Dick Cheney, March, 2003)

    "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." (Dick Cheney, March, 2003)

    "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." (Dick Cheney, July, 2005)

    Does anyone actually listen to this cretin and his spawn?

    June 18, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Jon

    Here is the problem with blaming Bush/Cheney and calling it a day. Let's just assume that everything being blamed on Bush/Cheney is true. Unnecessary war, no WMDs, poor leadership, war criminals. All of it. How does that change what is happening RIGHT NOW? It may have been the cause, but again that is in the past. Right now, a militant terrorist group is taking over an entire country and along with that all the resources and wealth that country has to offer. Left unchecked, they will become the an enormous threat to the world. So please explain how the wrongs of Bush/Cheney justify the inaction of Obama.

    June 18, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. txan

    Cheney and his band of neocon thugs illegally and irresponsibly started this mess. Now he has the unmitigated gall to be critical of a President who has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to clean up this boondoggle while simultaneously fixing the broken economy he inherited from the prior administration. The one mistake the President made, in my opinion, was not prosecuting the Bush/Cheney gang for war crimes and treason the minute he took office. Instead this reprehensible gang of half-wits rambles on with impunity.

    June 18, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. chosenbygrace

    War profiteer Cheney hah, what a hypocrite

    June 18, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. anamericanfirst

    for a man who refused military service because he had boils on his butt. I'm sorry for the heart donor that gave him life.

    June 18, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. chosenbygrace

    " the wrote Cheney" liberal typos, gotta love em'

    June 18, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Bee1000

    So Cheney wanted Obama to break Bush's deal with Iraq to withdraw all troops and/or wanted them to stay under Iraq's terms that our military personnel would be subject to Iraqi law? Alas, short memories are the GOPs lone hope for national success.

    June 18, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Chris

    Why do people give the cheney's a voice? They're known morons. As much as I would be against them in office again in the near future I'd almost like to say "ok, have at it" and then criticize every single move (or non-move) they made. I literally cannot believe that idiot even wants to insert his opinion on anything politically related after the horrible job he did.

    June 18, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Chris

    Jon, It was Bush who signed the treaty regarding troop removal back in 2008, I believe. Obama was just doing what he wanted. So, yeah, pretty much their fault.

    June 18, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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