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. denverdriver

    The fool Cheney is the one who is most responsible for starting this whole mess. He should be hanged for his war crimes.

    June 18, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. james hodges

    Chaney is responsible for nearly 5K dead American men & women & he gave up Valerie Plume. He was a draft dodger and a liar. So anything out of his mouth means nothing.

    June 18, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. GOP (Greed over Prozac)

    Cheney can't even shot a shotgun straight without injuring friends. He helped get us into this mess so I am not sure his criticism is valid.

    June 18, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. joe

    I am not concerned with what Cheney has to say. Looking at Iraq, Russia, China and NK alone, Obama's policies are without question a failure. Obama is the greatest failure of all presidents. Even Carter looks good compared to Obama the Great Failure.

    June 18, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. eteich

    Not many will miss Cheney when he's gone. Who listens to him???? What a track record!!!!

    June 18, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Michael B

    Either Cheney is completely stupid and cannot remember our current history, or he truly believes that the American people are so dumb that they don't remember anything from less than 8 years ago.

    June 18, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Me

    Is his take on the Iraqi war going to be on the Alternate History Channel?

    June 18, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. lynn smith

    I am the wife, the daughter, the aunt, and the niece of current and past members of America's armed forces. I have family members who have served from WWII to the current conflict in Afghanistan. It is easy for most politicians to see armed conflict as often the only viable options because they have nothing to loss in regard to having a family member or even a close friend going into harms way so there is no direct cost to them. Yes, a service member loses a limb or their live; they feel sad and tout that person's sacrifice but for them (the politician) it is life as usual but not for that service member or their family the consequence of war is permanent and often not for the better. If we truly believe in self determination, we have to allow even the country we try and help to stand or fall on their own two feet at some point just as our nation did. At some point, we must learn that we can not be the world's police.

    June 18, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. antoniodelaossa

    Dick Cheney is like the weeds that you pull out of the garden only to have them come back!

    June 18, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Reluctant New Jerseyan

    I have flushed objects smarter than "dick" Cheney. Granted, it took two flushes but i got rid of it. Into the water slide "Dick".

    June 18, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. VEW2012

    Why would anyone listen to Dick Cheney? The man is a war criminal, a war profiteer, and a replica of Darth Vader.

    June 18, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. TKO

    Let's remind ourselves that these opinions are coming from the mouth of a man who should have been tried for war crimes, as well as high crimes and misdemeanors for lying to the American Congress and people. A man who threw his first in command under the bus to save his own skin (Libby). A man who reaped huge profits from the war he instigated. In terms of ANY Democrat's support for the war? That was predicated on Bush and Cheney's lies before Congress about yellowcake and WMD's. Finally, Bush's "plan" was not his own, but the best he could do with Iraqis at the time–he actually preferred–and tried to plan–to stay in Iraq much longer with far more troops.

    It shows Cheney's utter contempt for the American people that he would publicly claim the Iraq screw-up was Obama's fault. He simply refuses to man up to his own failures.

    June 18, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. What a world

    Who cares what Darth Cheney has to say about anything?? He is a psycho who has the blood of millions on his soul!

    June 18, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. nick odeeds

    If we are a weaker nation now it is thanks to Dick Cheney and his neo-con friends, who chose to take us to war in Iraq on a false bill of goods, while leaving Afganistan to whither on the vine. So, why not blame Obama.

    June 18, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. RalphZiggy

    wow, the Cheney borg is still alive and doing evil? Bush and Cheney made the mess in Iraq, turned a land with zero terrorists into a festering recruiting and training center and playground with their inept handling. They have brought this country to the brink of economic ruin, and are not real conservatives at all but corporate fascists

    June 18, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Pete

    The Dick without dick should crawl back into his "undisclosed location" and keep his pie-hole shut.

    June 18, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. wyattdixon99

    Cheney......didn't he predict that US forces would be greeted as liberators in Iraq and that the war would last 3 months?

    June 18, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. judith

    Cheney is the closest thing I've ever seen to Satan in human form. My God, this is a man who took four deferments to stay out of Vietnam, but he was more than willing to sacrifice over 4,000 American lives for an invasion based on lies.

    June 18, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Cheney is overdue for a massive coronary.

    June 18, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. jamison

    Cheney says "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," Not only is his heart blocked, but so is his minimal brain. Does he remember all those WMD, all the Americans he & Bush killed, all the oil that was going to pay for that war. This insect should take the American public out of its misery and pull the plug on himself.

    June 18, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. MarcNJ

    Let's do some nation building at home. Iraq has been a cauldron of religious wars since before America was "discovered" in 1492.

    June 18, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. 1776usa2016

    So, the guy crawls out from his "undisclosed" location and tries to defend attacking the wrong country.

    Yeah, Cheney. Blowing the lid of a thousand year old pressure cooker was such a great idea !


    June 18, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. smith1

    Harry nailed it as usual Ol dick needs to go away. Far far away.

    June 18, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Nodack

    The freaking gall of this guy Cheney is beyond comprehension!

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

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld lied and fabricated evidence to go to war with Iraq so they could steal their oil. They mass murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, sacrificed 5000 Americans and spent 2 trillion dollars in their failed attempt to steal Iraq's oil and for that Republicans reelected them so they could double the debt and then destroy our economy.

    Cheney should be in prison for war crimes against humanity, but instead is free to bash Obama.

    I WILL NEVER EVER VOTE FOR ANOTHER REPUBLICAN AS LONG AS I BREATH AIR. To me they represent pure evil and greed.

    June 18, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. CryBabies

    liberal disease......Facts that the "left" don' t talk about. Its deemed irrelevant . Gotta go, fundraising to do!

    June 18, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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