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. IraqMistake

    First Cheney must take responsibility for the big mistake in getting involved in Iraq to begin with that he was a part of during the Bush administration. If he and the Bush administration did not sacrifice hundreds of American lives in Iraq, and left Saddam alone, this ISIS attack would probably not happen at all because Saddam was a counterweight in the region.

    June 18, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Jodo

    You may not like Cheney. I don't like Cheney.

    But the essential fact is that Iraq was stable after the surge when Bush left office. The most profoundly dysfunctional president in our nation's history strikes again and now Iraq is a real FUBAR

    June 18, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    "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.

    Cause climate change is no big deal...

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

    Dronem' that's the alternative option

    June 18, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |

    Everything was moving along fine. Wars are no longer short. They are 30 to 50 years and there are many reasons why this is so. Unfortunately, Americans would rather allow foreign extremists to grow unabated and eventually strike like 911. The only option is to understand they declared war and to continue to take their war right to them! When we stop fighting and they continue, we are just watching the clock tick until they hit us in NY or LA or ?

    June 18, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. dannman

    No Cheney, we don't want you and the sock puppet back in the WH. We don't want to go back to Iraq so you can make more money and the puppet can export more oil via Pennzoil.

    You turds and your wallets are why we went in the first place.

    June 18, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. derek

    Why is this guy not dead yet?

    June 18, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Mike H

    Everybody has a right to an opinion. But the media should take care when seeking opinions from "experts" of a topic. In the case of Iraq, letting Dick Cheney, Charles Krauthammer, Donald Rumsfeld, William Kristol, Paul Bremer and Paul Wolfowitz espouse their views is ill advised. These people have no credibility, and are abusing the country in an attempt to rewrite history and deny responsibility for their involvement and/or support for crimes against humanity. I suppose it's important to let people know that these people have no conscience and are beyond redemption, but they should not be given a platform for their self-serving, misleading and detrimental views.

    June 18, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Jaycito

    Dick Cheney is a vile war criminal. The world will be so much better off when he is down in hell with the rest of the neo-con chickenhawks.

    June 18, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Insight

    America was dragged into war and destroyed the economy of this i country by him , his bose and company and still he is barking.

    June 18, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. steve

    Who in the hell cares what Dick Cheney has to say! he was the driving force that got us in the Iraq situation in the first place. he should be thrown in jail for lying to the american public about weapons of mass destruction. What a clown!

    June 18, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Randy

    Obama has repeatedly miscalculated every aspect of foreign policy. This is no exception. His cowardice has allowed Vladimir to take over much of the Ukraine. Afghanistan will soon be turned back over to the Taliban. Iran has nuclear power and is close to a nuclear weapon. Syria is out of control and war is spreading because of his missteps. Now Turkey and Iraq are crumbling before our eyes. And what does Barack do? Plays golf and is thinking about what he should do. He and we all know what needs to be done. Fight radical Islam wherever it appears.

    Oh also much of North Africa is lost to the jihadist and the rest will soon be lost. The only thing left is Israel and I bet Obama doesn't know what to do there either.

    June 18, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Doug Hodges

    Can you think of anyone with LESS credibility on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney? Give me a break!

    June 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. CryBabies

    Ol' Yeller.............99.7% of the people on this site are brain dead, touchy feely liberals Correction: not all are brain dead but most are. Did you think this site attracted many conservatives? Thats the reason you are here.....to have a" feel good" atmosphere to support your bias. Really????

    June 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Penguin

    The best policy now is inaction. We created this mess and no option will stop the killing. Only when one side wins and is capable of crushing dissent will Iraq regain the "peace" it had when Sadam was in power and crushed dissent(and often with purely)

    June 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. hg

    I can understand Iraq asking for air strikes, but ...are they going to pay all the expenses of this, or again do we have to just pay the bill, like always????? WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS ACTION????????W H O ????????????

    June 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. chuck

    CNN has always been a democrap station at least it's my feeling

    June 18, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Erl7153

    I hope the coward dies a painful death and then burns in hell.

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Daniel

    we had no business there in under Bush and no business there now. We made the world worse by ever going there and no matter how many lives, dollars and years we spend there we cannot change the region and its people. Cheney is not a man of peace but rather a war hungry nonsensical egomaniac. STAY OUT OF IRAQ

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    To: 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.


    Are you serious? Bush took more vacation 364 days in his first 4 years (25% of the time) than Obama has taken in 6...more than 3x as much. Did you complain about that? What a hypocrit!!

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. John

    Something that really can't be said about any other, except possibly Nixon..........an absolute disgrace to our country for services (or lack thereof) performed while Pres./VP

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    One question: WHY IS DICK CHENEY/GEORGE BUSH and company NOT IN A JAIL CELL? Who the hell are they to question President Obama? These are war criminals out and out! Where are the WMDs that sent thousands of innocent young troops to their deaths or to years of being maimed? I've walked in the hallways at Bethesda Naval Hospital and seen the missing limbs that will cost this nation BILLIONS OF DOLLARD for years to come! STFU Dick?

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Gabbo

    Absolutely spot on – Obama is an idiot.

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    And this clown I suppose will claim that Iraq was a shining example of a stable democracy after 8 years of a botched invasion and occupation?

    June 18, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. basedrum777

    I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we're going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive. I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists? How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable? I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq. – Dick Cheney April 1991

    June 18, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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