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. Bessy

    This man is partly responsible for the trouble in Iraq and should be in jail

    June 18, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. rs


    I'm sorry, I must have missed it. Does Mr Obama have a foreign policy?
    Yeah, a very good one. He hasn't started any wars.

    June 18, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Tommy G

    George Bush handed a peaceful Iraq that was holding elections to Obama. All Obama had to do was to negotiate a status of forces agreement with them to leave a stabilizing force. But it was just too much to expect from the Buffoon-in-Chief as he botched it and left Iraq to the wolves.

    Even worse, he threw ally after ally under the bus as extremists rose up all over the Middle East. Country after country in flames, including Syria as he watched and twiddled his thumbs and then AQ shows up and takes over the fight and now they have spilled over into Iraq.

    THIS IS ALL OBAMA'S FAULT!!! HE is the person in charge and has announced to the world he has no intention of doing ANYTHING. He has given the green light to all the bad actors out there (Putin, Assad, AQ, etc.) and they are now running rampant. This is the Obama foreign policy, total chaos and anarchy. And it has now reached our southern border.

    Thisis what you get when you put an inexperienced, lying community organizer in the White House.

    June 18, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. bence

    I wish Cheney will shut up!!!!

    June 18, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. rs

    Let's prosecute W

    This coming from someone who never donned the uniform. Did we really have to prolong this waste of human life with a new heart?!
    Yes, Mr. Cheney did benefit from "socialized" medicine.

    June 18, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. David Rutledge

    The man has no credibility, no sense of shame, no sense of propriety. Having failed in his own attempt to make Iraq an American outpost (but not in his attempt to grow rich in the attempt), he now blames those who had to clean up his mess for incompetence. His 15% favorability rating is what shocks me: way too high for a man of such ineptitude and low intellect. Five-deferment Dick might at least have the decency to keep quiet – but decides to double down on his own failures.

    June 18, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Bill from GA

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," (cheney on Obama)

    At least not since, say, the W-cheney administration.

    cheney knew, under Bush-1, that invading Iraq was a mistake. Under (over?) Bush-1/2, cheney was all for an invasion of Iraq.

    So is cheney stupid, or is cheney lying??

    And, about that "at the expense of so many", how bought those 4000 PLUS killed in W-cheney's war?
    Clearly, cheney is not THAT STUPID as to not know about our losses; he's LYING!
    And also, it is evident by cheney's comment that the 4000 PLUS killed in W-cheney's war mean NOTHING to the Evil One.

    June 18, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. mobius999

    Dick Cheney has been playing too much football without a helmet.

    June 18, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Let's prosecute W

    PS – Please bring back the dreaft for ALL so an Iraq will never happen again and all future "Cheneys" will have to serve.

    June 18, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. salty dog

    Its like when just saying blames Hillary for the military spending. If your truly upset about it, wouldn't you want to hold the right person responsible, only a juvenile casts blame where they want it, and continue on without change. Its not her budget, but keep looking for that clueless idiot who is willing to do the same, you really should hear yourself through the mind of the informed, intelligent American, disgusting, and kind of sad actually.

    June 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    He has a lot of nerve. Since he's why we're over there in the first place. I have an idea, Dick(how apropos)why don't you and your daughter go over there and offer your advice? What's that? Afraid you might be put in front of a firing squad??

    Mr. Deficits don't matter, UNLESS the POTUS doesn't look anything like the previous ones. Then deficits matter.

    June 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. emskadittle

    don't worry about my war crimes Obama is worse, yeah right

    June 18, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Pax

    didn't see that comimg

    June 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. billbl

    Why people are listening to Cheney, Sen. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or William Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard is a mystery after they so misrepresented the difficulty of invading and occupying Iraq by saying six months would be enough. Here again they are all calling for the President Obama to use our military again. The ancient religious animosity between the 2 Islamic sects are difficult to comprehend and they certainly didn't have a understanding of it. Thankfully, the president is resisting the pressure.

    June 18, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Drake

    Cheney a war criminal? Funny. He is a national hero where I live and travel between several states. He probably laughs himself to sleep at night thinking of all the loons. Same for W.

    June 18, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  16. Let's prosecute W

    How do you think the mom or wife of any of our departed Iraq War soldiers feels looking at these two goons smiling and laughing?

    June 18, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Lamar S.

    Cheney giving advice on Irag? Pardon me while I LMFAO.

    June 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    "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.

    When W-cheney came into office in 2001, al Qaeda in Iraq DID NOT EXIST, thanks primarily to their leader running a strong government. The government W-cheney destroyed.

    June 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. nobulacptd

    Funny, coming from our very own and #1 Terrorist in the world. This maggot has murdered more people than all the other terrorist put together.

    Die already - tick tick stop

    June 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. jack

    Translation of Cheney comments......."he accomplished my mission, and I'm really upset"

    June 18, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. lionhart

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," – REALLY?!?!?!?!
    He has some nerve!!! They invaded the wrong country. Obama is cleaning up the mess Bush and Cheney made. What a joke!!!

    June 18, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. luvUamerica

    So, they, the Good Old Party created this problem with Cheney at the lead. They cost American lives. And Syria flared up, they were corralled by the GOP to send weapons to Syria, knowing it will be used against Americans sooner or later. And now they think it is all Obama's fault?

    This is a GOP problem, that America has to deal with forever. We can let it go, and move away, but we need the oil. On one side, we have Sunni's who will shoot Americans without a moments hesitation. Then you have Shiite's who are battling the Israeli's for super-power status in the region, and will not hesitate to shoot Americans at a moments notice.

    So, why are the Republicans pushing our young people to risk their life's again?

    The GOP will never accept responsibility. That is the unfortunate thing. They love to blame someone else. When given to them, they make problems worse. If there is one group of people who have made the world a whole more dangerous for Americans, it is the Cheney's Bushes and GOP.

    June 18, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. 1776usa2016

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and associates?

    To the Hague !


    June 18, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. LWC

    This coming from one of the greatest, and most recent, threats to Liberty.

    June 18, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. iadad

    I think the modern GOP has actually killed irony. Because for Dick "We know where the weapons are" Cheney to be on the air attacking President Obama OVER IRAQ is too ironic for irony. I think it just broke.

    June 18, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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