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. Ken in MO

    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 364 days of vacation in his first term (1/4 of his first term). Did you complain about that? What a hypocrit!! You have got to be kidding. I know you are a Republican and totally discounts facts but come on!!!!

    June 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Michael

    once, again, CNN completely misinforms the reader/viewer regarding the 2011 US withdrawal of forces from Iraq. They never mention in this article that it was President Bush who signed the withdrawal agreement in 2008 and committed Obama to following through with following the agreement. FACT. Also, as so many Republicans are crying about the fact that the US should have left troops on the ground, you can also look to President Bush who failed to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq and left it to Obama to negotiate. Once Obama had a SOF agreement that the Republican controlled Congress agreed with, Iraq promptly refused to sign the agreement. FACT. Of course, CNN is competing with FOX, so facts are to be taken lightly and rarely reported.

    June 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. muhfuh

    There were two cases for war, the public case predicated on weapons, and the internal case that viewed weapons, weapons beliefs, the accuracy of weapons intelligence, anything to do with weapons as irrelevant.

    Bush will always publicly say he believed Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.

    He'll never admit he privately thought those beliefs, and therefore the accuracy of the intelligence on which those beliefs were based, were in any case discreetly inconsequential.

    Let's stop allowing Bush and the Cheneys to hide behind the phony public case for war.

    That Bush actually thought the weapons mattered is the Iraq war's linchpin myth.

    June 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. z8k8

    Iraq was never stable.
    "The surge" and stability was bought and was another "Sunni awakening" called .
    Sunnis cooperated with the USA, and when the USA left, Maliki and Co (Shiites) arrested many of the so called "sunni terrorist" and in executed them. (check who is second in execution in past 2 years after China: Iraq).
    Cheney should know better, he just gave Iraq to Iran, but who cares he made half billion, sorry, pardon me, he gave the stocks to his female clone (Liz Cheney). He did not make as much.

    June 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Mike

    We are broke. We have no money to support our own people properly. And Cheney duo and all of their cronies have the bright idea to continue on the war front? But what frustrates me most: The likes of CNN give them the time of day and refuse to pound them on their horrendous decisions that led us to this mess in the first place.

    June 18, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Mojave Don

    I like how Jon Stewart explained it (paraphrasing) – "The Sunni and the Shia muslims shared power one time in the '50s. That would be in the 950s. Over a thousand years ago." These two main sub-groups hate each others guts and our presence in Iraq would have to be for a very long time.
    This article says about the op-ed, "the Cheneys accused Obama of undoing the hard-fought gains of troops serving under the previous administration." The Bush administration sent our troops into Iraq under their made-up garbage about chemical weapons and Al-Qaeda. And you have the audacity to insult President Obama for getting out of that mess? noonewillreadthis
    And finally, The Bush administration had agreed to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, in order to obtain a status of forces agreement in 2008. So, the Obama administration did what the Bush administration agreed to do. You were there, were you not, Big Dick?

    June 18, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. popeye1128

    I would expect nothing else from Darth Cheney and his minion daughter.

    June 18, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Ken in MO

    To: readerpan

    Sorry...I replied to the wrong post. I was replying to the guy that said that Obama needed to put in a week or two of work.

    June 18, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. biglio

    Cheney, after destroying a country and stealing a heart from someone in need (who gets a heart transplant at 71? tell me?) should just shut up, he did enough damage in his life and will be remembered by millions as a greedy evil man. Great legacy! now shut up!

    June 18, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. rs


    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.
    Well here's the thing, John- here's Mr. Cheney advocating for reinsertion into Iraq. He was wrong the first time, and I'd bet he's lying again. You are right- we may have to do something about Iraq- but we shouldn't do it because this war criminal says so.
    We also have to undertake an entirely different strategy than what Bush and Cheney did. We need:
    1. to raise taxes to pay for whatever intervention we take.
    2. we need fresh soldiers- a draft perhaps?
    3. and maybe most important- we need a real coalition of nations to go in with us.

    Think that will happen with the GOP fools in Congress?

    June 18, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Rene5911

    greatest strategic disaster in the history the USA and you can put that blame squarely on Mr Dick Cheney num nut brain

    June 18, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Come on People. Everyone wanted us out of there and blamed the president for not moving faster. Now we should go back. This is wrong. Hind sight is 100 but looking forward is not better than 50 50.

    June 18, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. CRG

    Over 4000 Americans died in Iraq, many more were severely injured. Over 100,000 Irag civilians died. We created this situation by removing the only kind of government the people in that part of world understand. No more American blood should be shed in Iraq... Nor should we contribute in any way to the death or maiming of any more Iragi citizens.

    June 18, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Another wild card is the capture yesterday of Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala, so it will take several days to be able to measure how that event has affected views of Obama,"
    Thank you for that capture Mr. President.
    You are a man of your word.
    Patriotic Americans, real Americans appreciate you and your efforts in bringing to justice those that would do us and have done us harm.

    In other news Dick Cheney needs to STFU.

    June 18, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. scy385

    Let me understand this; Cheney thinks OBAMA screwed up in Iraq? Mr. Cheney can express himself as he pleases, but the fact that he is trying to say that Obama made a mistake in Iraq is both funny and just plain wrong. We NEVER had any business going into Iraq in the first place. We would not have had to worry about stability in Iraq if we had not gone over there to begin with. We need to take care of our homeland. We need to protect our borders and stop spending trillions of dollars on people who hate us. Those trillions of dollars could have been used to work on our infrastructure, help our veterans, and Lord knows what else. We cannot help people who will not help themselves.

    June 18, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. SCC

    Cheney – Where are the WMD?
    These are a few things that Cheney omitted
    1)The over 4,000 troops that were killed
    2)An economy in the toilet
    3)No healthcare

    June 18, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. pbernasc

    Funny, the guy who signed the agreement to leave Iraq is now complaining that violence is coming back.. into a country that should have been by now fully democratic according to the rambling theory of invasion for unwelcomed liberation .. Pathetic

    Yeah ... Dick, it's one you and you only.. stop whining

    June 18, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. dike

    LOL which swamp did Cheny come out of to rip... He went in hiding like Saddam.

    June 18, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Paul Hanel

    Who in the world cares one bit about what Cheney, much less his daughter thinks about anything! He should be in prison for war crimes, no bid contracts that made him even richer, and continually lying to the senate and congress!! Who in the world could not wait to get us in that mess, for His oil. Paul H

    June 18, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. suthrnboy

    Dick Cheney: Hey Barack! I just made a doughy pant load. Can you get in here and clean it up?

    Barack: I'll try. But the stains are unlikely to come out.

    Dick Cheney: YOU ARE WORTHLESS!

    Thats about the size of it...

    June 18, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Just me

    To: 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.


    You must live in the most scary and ignorant place in the country. Please tell us where...I wouldnt want to be caught driving through there at night. Scary, very scary!!

    June 18, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. liberal disease

    Biden was supporter of the Iraq war, and then took credit in 2010 for a stable Iraq that it was a glowing example of democracy in the middle east, now he is watching the world cup and Obama is booking tee times and fundraising...

    June 18, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. winston

    "Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many". Sounds too Churchillian!

    June 18, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Roy

    We wouldn't be in Iraq if Chaney and Bush didn't put us there.

    June 18, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Jason

    No one listens to this extremist whose legacy has been compromised by his dishonesty & deceptions. Dick Cheney betrayed our collective trust. America has moved on leaving the senile man on the wayside.

    June 18, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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