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. Schmoogalicious

    If Dick Cheney hadn't been a chicken-hawk draft dodger of the Vietnam War, perhaps he would have learned its lessons and not gotten the US involved in yet another exercise in murderous futility in Iraq. Does Cheney actually think he has a shred of credibility left on Iraq (or anything else for that matter)? BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

    June 18, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Dean

    Mr. Cheney, I would refer you to Matthew 7:3-5. How dare you opine on the pile of crap that you left for Obama to clean up! That unjustified war you started with Mr. Bush cost each living American man, woman and child over $5,000 each, and that is the least of your sins! That money could have been better spent rebuilding our crumbling domestic infrastructure. You wrecklessly sent thousands of our fellow Americans to their deaths, deceived the voters, and personally profited millions from this farce! IMHO, Iraq, and the middle east was far more stable during the Saddam era than it is today! The public and the world knows this. Your legacy Mr. Cheney will be a big STAIN in the books of American history. Shame on YOU.

    June 18, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Richard

    If Cheney is involved, it should be called "The Alliance for a Pathetic and Weak America>"

    June 18, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. annieball62

    he needs to go back under his rock--all he sees now are more dollar signs for military manufacturers and Halliburton.

    June 18, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. pbot

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many"
    Really? Four words: weapons of mass destruction
    It's like the man forgot about 2001-2008

    June 18, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. Bazinga

    When Cheney had a chance to fight in a war (Vietnam), he opted out with deferrals. Coward now wants to lecture on how and when to fight? Absolutely amazing gall!

    June 18, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. Todd Mcjunkin

    He has zero credibility. And shouldn't he be a statesman? A new low for the Republicans. He sickens me.

    June 18, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. cbp

    When the Bush -Cheney era was over there were many countries which were opposed to the Iraq War. We did not have a broad coalition of forces from other countries. President Bush did not push hard enough for an inclusive government in Iraq even though some experts said this needed to happen. For 7 years Bush-Cheney oversaw the war in Iraq.. It was on the verge of a Civil War and many pundits warned them about it, Now VP Cheney would have us believe that Iraq was in good share when they left. He never talks about the men lost, the Iraqis killed or the problems with the government. He does not mention the fact that the Sunnis were ignored relieved of their duty and sent packing. Now he and others want our military to return to fight in a Civil War. I would suggest that Mr. Cheney, his daughter, Sen Graham, Sen. McCain, and others in Congress go to Iraq to fight.

    Our military personnel were rotated in and out of Iraq. The toll on their families is well known. How many times can a husband or wife leave home to fight in this war? The Iraqi's were trained by our people. Nevertheless they could not use the training to their advantage. They did not put up a fight even though they had the arms to do so. We cannot give them the backbone they need. Our people need to come home.

    June 18, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. JR

    This is like a horror movie. This scary creature weasels his way into the vice presidency, then controls his puppet and engineers all kinds of disasters, including the war in Iraq. Right when you think he is gone to the convalescent home, he pops out with that scary face again.

    June 18, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Chuck Crandell

    To my belief there is absolutely nothing stopping Cheney and company from buying a plane ticket to get his butt over to Iraq and stand up for what he fells should be done. He could have Karl Rove on his right flank, and Junior (W) on his left – bullet belts clanking. A real chance to redeem yourself / yourselves, after weaseling out of Vietnam.

    June 18, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Linda Courtright

    I wish Dick Cheney would sit down and shut up. He is the most shameful example of a human being I've ever known about.
    If he had a bit of humanity in his body he would spend the rest of his life caring and help provide financial assistance to the thousands of young people damaged in his war of choice. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed and damaged.

    June 18, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. Kenny

    Obama owns the next terrorist strike on America.

    June 18, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Ol' "Crooked Mouth" Cheney ought to stop flapping his gums, because he and Bush are the fools who pushed for the US to invade Iraq, and it was all over a bunch of phony claims. They started this mess.

    June 18, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. Mike

    Will this guy ever go away?

    June 18, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    He helped start this mess. He should keep his mouth shut.

    June 18, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Lester Swanson

    The world will be a better place when this guys heart finally gives out.

    June 18, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. wxqz

    The growth and maturity scenario is the middle east fixes themselves. Not another try to bait the US into another indefinite military conflict.

    Cheney owns too much stock in General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and the other major defense contractors all shopping for a new conflict to keep the cash flowing and the coffers full.

    Every chance to advocate for senseless sacrifice of US lives.

    Only Fools and Cheney's seek seek to 'fix' the middle east. It is naive and stupid.

    Continual intervention in the middle east is a fools quest.

    Flush with oil money it cost them little to stir trouble and the American taxpayer keeps taking the shaft.

    June 18, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. buckcameron

    I thought Cheney was dead. Oh, wait, is he??

    June 18, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Oliver Dyer

    Typical Cheney comments,... speak to those who do not know or wont take time to look at the facts. Under President G W Bush the decision to go to war cost 1 trillion plus dollars and 4k+ killed. Now that decision cost so many much more than his family had to give. So far President Obama has not cost us anything approaching the level it cost us under Bush/Cheney administration.

    June 18, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. snowdogg

    Dick & Liz have ZERO credibility.

    Because the Cheney is part of the Axis of Evil [along with Rumsfeld and Rove] he has no room for talk.

    Cheney is a failure as a politician and as a person.

    June 18, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  21. Dave

    More advice from Darth Vader? No thanks had enough. Our Gulf veterans are going through a miserable hell knowing there will never be a D-Day type celebration in the future to see what was accomplished. Then they come home to a failing VA system. Considering that only 1% of the US population serves in the military we each and everyone in this country should thank them for their service and promise them better accountability in DC and mean it.

    June 18, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  22. ronbro

    Cheney is now more vocal and visible than when he was serving office as vice-president. He is a joke and a war monger that does not have a clue on world policy. This guy should just be quiet like his boss, president Bush and retire to the sidelines. He has nothing on value to give to the world. He has done enough damage.

    June 18, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Jim

    Why does anyone listen to a guy???? He can't even go to Canada because he is scared he will arrested as a War Criminal

    June 18, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. Total2199

    I am surprised that Mr. Cheney and his boss were not turned over to ICC. Much more surprised that he was allowed to speak up.

    June 18, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. Tim

    Talk about zero credibility! This guy should have gone to prison instead of making Scooter Libby serve his sentance for leaking classified information. Chaney abused his office to punish someone who disagreed with his (incorrect) view that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake, after bullying the CIA into supporting him. A personal grudge is the reason he betrayed a top CIA operative, and history has proven this wardog wrong on every count. He belonged in the Nixon cabinet.

    June 18, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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