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. joseph sidoti


    June 18, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. CH Jenkins

    The Cheney duo are irrelevant, period.

    June 18, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Ohfergodsakeshutup

    Suggest Cheney father and daughter need to just shut up.

    June 18, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. ProudLiberal

    When was America victorious in Iraq??? When our bully forces swatted Saddam Hussein weakened after 10 years of sanctions with an elephant gun force costing $4T borrowed from China? Ha! Consider that terrorists already had won on 9/11. And those terrorists were not operating out of Irag, but out of Afghanistan, which Bush largely abandoned after deposing the Taliban and installing a puppet regime amenable to the oil and gas industry.

    It is fatuous to think that deposing Saddam Hussein was going to lead to a harmonious democratically elected government in Iraq, where the Shiites and Sunnis have been slaughtering each other for a thousand years! Ha!
    These retrogressivist Cheneys love to think their solution was ideal and faultless: what Welschmertz bull! They understand neither Middle East politics nor the current diabolical situation In which a Sunni minority is trying to overthrow the majority Shiite government that arose out of Dick Cheney's very own flawed invasion. Now, if we do not help Irag, Iran–the Shiite power–has and will continue to expand its influence in the region.

    June 18, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Jodi Frank

    The Obama administration is still trying to fix everything the Bush Administration completely screwed up over 8 years– from plummeting us into the greatest recession since the 1930s to landing us in a war in which we will reap the repercussions of a volatile Middle East for who knows how long. Unfortunately, there's no undoing. So, here we are ... and the Obama administration is doing a very good job, all things considering. Of course, Cheney won't mention that our current commander in chief is responsible for no more bin Laden as well as several other key al-Qaeda terrorists. But, Cheney was never very good at delivering facts.

    June 18, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Donald Berrian

    I love having Cheney around. He is the best reminder of why we need the Constitution in general and the Bill of Rights in particular. Of course, I sleep a lot better knowing he is no longer a heart beat away from being President. There aren't many people who can be so wrong about so many things or so opposed to the ideals of a free country..

    June 18, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Cyprustree

    First, MR. Cheney, that is President Obama to you. Why are you so disrespectful as to not use his title? Does it really hurt that much, admitting that he is actually President?
    Secondly, anything else this clown has to say about Iraq is worthless. He says "We're still at war." He ALWAYS wants us to be in some kind of war so that his precious Halliburton company can profit from it.
    Mr. Cheney, if you are so insistent on having Americans in Iraq, why don't you go over there and take your not-so-lovely daughter with you? We don't need to see your stupid company make more money at the expense of young American lives. President Obama is smart for not rushing in and committing resources for an endeavor that has no chance of success. There were troubles in Iraq long before we ever invaded that country and there will be problems there for decades to come. No reason for us to spend more lives and money on a cause that cannot be won.

    June 18, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. stark82

    Cheney has no credibility whatsoever to criticize ANYBODY about Iraq. He's been wrong about absolutely everything concerning the Iraq War. Everything. Were it not for him, we would not be where we are now. If he had even an ounce of humility, shame and honesty he would shut up and go away.

    June 18, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. Tampa Guy

    Dick Cheney, excuse me President Cheney what a joke sooner his batteries die out better off the planet will be.

    June 18, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Gloria in NW

    Oh well, what else is new? If President Obama wades into this war the Chaney extremists will scream bloody murder, and if he keeps us out they will do the same. It's not about any kind of reality; it's about doing everything they can to tarnish Barack Obama, no matter what he does. Why is the media giving these wretched people air time?

    June 18, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. nik green

    It says a lot about the US corporate mainstream media, that they keep doing their collective Neville Chamberlain impersonation, giving regular, free, air-time for such an aberrant sociopath, 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 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Me


    Winston Smith

    Not since World War Two, has there been an individual more deserving of being tried for war crimes than Dick Cheney. It's remarkable that so many people have the idea that invasion of a sovereign nation, the killing of many people including American Military personnel and unprecedented torture techniques being used by a civilized nation is a show of leadership. There must be some form of mass delusion taking over the nation, when the likes of people like this are elected to positions of authority. If you voted for and believe in this cretin's style of governance, you are no better than he is. Maybe even worse, since you only have the stomach to have someone else do the dirty work as you calmly watch from the safety of your homes. The next time you look in the mirror, think about this for a second or two.
    Hear, hear. The greatest gift of cooperation Mr. Obama gave the GOP after the election was not arresting Bush and Cheney as international war criminals. This is how they repay him. These are sick and evil individuals.
    I have asked this many many times, show us proof of any laws that were broken......Ya again you won't cause you CAN'T!!! You do realize every time any of you repeat this worthless drivel, you only look like petty little liars! NO laws were broken, CONGRESS voted for the war AGAIN including MANY DEMS!!! Get a clue!! LMFAO

    June 18, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. jrt1098

    What Harry Reid and the Democrats seem to forget is that the use of force agreement had OVERWHELMING support from both parties ... and as as soon as it became Politically expedient Harry Reid gave aid and comfort to the enemy by declaring ... on the floor of the U. S. Senate ... "this war is lost"

    Liberal democrats excoriated Bush because he couldn't say Nuclear ... and yet his policies have proven right and he is 3 times the leader that this "community organizer" is

    Tell me one thing Barack Husein Obama has done right ... that's right .... NOTHING !!!!

    June 18, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. RA

    Yeah, if he was in power none of this would have happened... Right and I have a bridge to sell you!. This scumbag is who put us here! Maybe he would like to go over and straigthen things out? huh Cheneyburtion?

    June 18, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. Lance

    This is great news for Obama, you know if Cheney is criticizing you, then you must be right. Cheney gives the best advice on foreign policy, all you have to do is listen to him and do the opposite, works every time.

    June 18, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. chaing

    Of all the people to interview regarding this conflict: Dick Cheney!!!! The war criminal himself. Profiting from war, responsible for over 4000 dead and over 30,000 injured, lying to promote his agenda! Go home and stay home!!

    June 18, 2014 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. StealthNinja

    Confucius say it is always the Liberals who are offended by the Truth.

    June 18, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. HorseMan

    This hypocrite...criminal...stone faced crook should be more concerned about giving back the hundreds of millons of dollars he stole from this country while pushing for and "financing" the Iraq war, at the expense of thousands of american lives and hundreds of thousands of civilian Iraqis' lives. He should be picked up, tried and convicted for each life that was lost in that war. That will put him in the only place where he truly deserves to be, and for a long...long time. And the same goes for all the other criminals, above and below him, who were part of his "team".

    June 18, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. sactonana

    In my opinion, Dick Cheney is a war criminal. He and his minions cooked the intelligence books about Iraq having WMDs, and they duped the American pubic into going into Iraq. Over 4000 American Service men and women have lost their lives because of their lies. Now ask the question – How much did Dick Cheney's Halliburton make on the Iraq war?

    June 18, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. Mike

    I just keep wondering why someone so earner to have other Kids jump to the front lines avoided service when he was called by his country dodging every attempt to draft him during another genius war.

    June 18, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. Realist

    Truth is, before we invaded Iraq and took out Saddam, there were no terrorist forces in Iraq. In fact, Saddam kept Iran in check. This guy has no right to criticize ANYONE over what goes down in Iraq because he helped create the mess there.

    June 18, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. jack

    I can't stand Obama but i have to admit its hilarious that Cheney has anything to say. I'm still trying to figure out which one of the two is a bigger criminal and liar.

    June 18, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Regressive

    Cheney, do us all a favor and slither back under that rock where you belong. Have you seen your approval ratings lately? Oh I forgot, you don't give a rats bum what we think about you, as long as you can dictate your wars when you want where you want and when they will be the most profitable for you. I have such complete and utter disdain for you and your daughter Liz is no better. But, hey if he wants to run around and start doing the war dance, perhaps its time for the American people to demand he be held accountable for his crimes and let us try him for the war crimes he is clearly responsible for perpetrating on our fellow citizens and those of Iraq.

    June 18, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. courtenay craig

    How the man who got everything wrong on foreign policy and homeland security has the gall to criticize anyone is beyond me. Go away old man, Nobody cares.

    June 18, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Jim

    I'm a staunch Republican and 25-year Army veteran, and it doesn't bother me at all to say, may God damn Dick Cheney! Thanks to that selfish, self-serving bastard and a moronic president George W, we wasted thousands of American lives and probably a trillion dollars in the Iraqi war. It was a total strategic blunder, destabilizing the entire region. Now he is trying to shift the blame onto Obama for those "wasted lives". Give me a break. Anyone who falls for Cheney's rhetoric is a fool. He is clearly trying to cover his ass.

    June 18, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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