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. Carol

    Cheney should be in jail. End of story.

    June 18, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. LWJR

    DEM Party loyalists. What else you expect em to say

    June 18, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. rbwphd@msn.com

    Seriously? Are we going to listen to a man who was dead wrong the first time? Unfortunately the American people are so stupid that they conveniently forget that. Why he, Rumsfeld and G W Bush have not been indicted for war crimes defies all logic.

    June 18, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. gary bunton

    why hasn't this criminal been indicted for war crimes aganist humanity by the hague yet?

    June 18, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. TKO

    The Cheney's should all retire.

    June 18, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Yolanda YRT211

    People Focus ~ Vote Nov. 4, 2014 in Full Force! KO Congress extreme Republicans in midterm elections #ShutdownGOP in all elections Congress, Governors, Mayors…

    The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch and the op-ed is nothing but an extension of a Faux Roger Ailes BS program. Murdoch will never own America's public opinion and media like did in the UK and Australia. The corrupt scene Faux pulled with George Bush cousin (John Prescott Ellis) announcing he won Florida and the corporate media following will never happen again

    America's mission is complete Osama Bin Laden Dead in Pakistan May 2, 2011, Saddam Hussein Dead December 30, 2006 and many of their hard core followers are Dead. The US trained and supplied them and their regiments with Military Weapons for years through their Wars with Russia and Iran. There were No Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

    America ended up in these quagmire of wars due to President GW Bush being manipulated to let 9-11 happen, his attempt to prove his father wrong, war profiteering and Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wofowitz 40 year old plans to change the political order of the middle east. We’ll never change the politics of religious fanatics fighting for centuries. More Wars have been fought in the name of religion than any other reason. This is why U.S. must remain a separation of Church and State.

    For the last 40 years, Republican Presidents and Congress equal War & Financial Bail Outs of Wealthy by Taxpayers (1) Reagan Iran/Contra, Saving &Loan Bail Out (2) Bush1 Desert Storm, Saving & Loan Bail Out (3) Bush2 US aggressor led Wars Iraq/Afghan, Wall Street/Mortgage/Auto Bail Out. If more of Congress millionaire club Sons and Daughters were fighting these Wars they wouldn’t be so quick to offer their flippant idiotic responses.

    June 18, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Matt

    Why do news agencies give the Cheney's a platform? Their message is always a hateful, critical one. To them soldiers are moving pieces on a game board rather than human lives. They are as predictable as sunrise and sunset. If you look at what Cheney's Iraq war cost, the total is likely to be in the 6 trillion range. Dick has left a trail of pain, agony and debt in his wake, with Liz cheering him on, as they stuffed their pockets .. those mystical, wonderful job creators that they are.

    June 18, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. guest

    Now, now former VP. The President promised to end the Iraq war, he didn't say he would win it. Pulling out and letting the Islamists take over is a perfect way to end the war. It will just count as another loss for America. Ramadan Offensive anyone? It is just around the corner and will work just as well as the Tet Offensive.

    June 18, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Hey.....why did we go into Iraq........Dick ????

    June 18, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. JoeyE

    Cheney, shut up! you're nothing but a greedy oil business.. all you CARE about money!

    June 18, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. rw

    Obama should sleep better knowing that the guy who can't shoot straight (literally) is opposed to his policy. Cheney is responsible for the single biggest screw up in the history of the country, can't he just be quiet.. no rational person takes this guy seriously.

    June 18, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Joshua Wertheim

    With all the comments, doubtful anyone will read mine, so I'm just venting here. Dick Cheney accusing President Obama of incompetence in Iraq is akin to George Bush Jr. accusing Obama of incompetence in the Great Recession. Mr. Cheney, for the record, you started that was over lies about WMDs, and then left it to Obama to clean up your mess, and then have the BALLS to complain about how it was handled? Mr. Cheney, I always despised you more than any other VP in my 60 years of life, and probably more than any politician in history, but what you have just done has to be the most outrageous example of chutzpah the world has ever seen.

    June 18, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. CC

    This time, before committing to anything, Iraq needs to pay the U.S. in oil...that's why we are there.

    June 18, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Gary T

    Where were the WMDs, Dick? Where was al-Qaeda in Iraq? (Definitely not in Iraq.) Where were the people in the street with flowers? You have ZERO credibility with us.Thank you, Harry Reid, for stating plain facts. Please keep stating them until he comes down out of his cloud..

    June 18, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. barb'sbarb

    Cheney's Halliburton made millions from no-bid contracts -

    Why he and Bush have not been hauled up before the world court astounds me...

    WMDs? Bush et al were the weapons and they caused mass destruction ...

    June 18, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  16. Michael Henry

    While Dick Cheney is an old man with a history of heart problems, his daughter looks as if she can handle a weapon. Get her over there in the front lines.

    June 18, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Steve

    Hussein was bad but he kept everyone in line. It's not like he had chemical weapons in trucks.

    June 18, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. Steve Fielder

    Hate to break it to you, Dick, but when it comes to fixing Iraq, our current president doesn't need any advice from the delusional egomaniac whose largely responsible for wrecking Iraq in the first place....

    June 18, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Ali Baba

    We need to invade Iraq again but with 500,000 troops this time. Even if it costs another trillion dollars and many thousands of lives. It must be done to stop radical Islamists. Then we need to turn on Iran.

    June 18, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Jay James

    Why would anyone heed a warmonger like Cheney who was complicit in the original Iraq invasion under false pretexts. Not one more life should be wasted on this obscene war machine oil grab.

    June 18, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. nik green

    It says a lot about the US corporate weasel-media, that they keep doing their collective Neville Chamberlain impersonation, giving regular, free, air-time for one of the most evil men on the face of the Earth, to spout his lies, Macchiavellian manipulations, duplicity, fabrications and treason. Cheney should be tried for war crimes, mass murder, international terrorism, and authorizing torture of POWs. All these crimes warrant capital punishment and if found guilty, he should be hanged, like so many before him – who did far less.

    June 18, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  22. Dean Patrick

    OK>OK!!! I was about to criticize Obama's foreign policy re: IRAQ but after Cheney's comments I have to say that Obama must be getting it as close to right as humanely possible IF Cheney thinks it is wrong.

    June 18, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. dah00

    Whatever Cheney says, the opposite is probably true.

    June 18, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. Jason

    Funny – I wasn't a huge Cheney fan when he was in the VP office. But given the disgusting and ever-predictible incompetence of the Obama administration on every level, Cheney's commentary is refreshing. The Obama administration has managed to thoroughly FUBAR everything they have touched. I'd take Cheney over Obama in the hotseat any day of the week. We should have left Iraq a sheet of glass in the desert years ago.

    June 18, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    There are, besides Mr. Cheney – Paul Wolfowitz, John McCain, Donald Rumsfeld and Lindsey Graham. They are the "Will Rogers of War." Which is another way of saying "they never met a potential war, they didn't like."

    While isolationism, as a new American foreign policy is the exact opposite, the time has come for the United States
    to rescue every country that is suffering internal instability, for those who say we are morally obligated to intervene
    because we are, in large part responsible for the events taking place there, I would say the neo-cons of the Bush Administration are "the ones responsible."
    I would consider making a donation to fund the aforementioned to go there and fight ISIS, so they could show
    just how committed they really are.

    June 18, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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