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. cbp

    Interesting that the Cheney's believe that leaving a few hundred American soldiers in Iraq would have stopped ISES. In all probability they would have been left to fight the insurgents while the Iraqis retreated. If we could not help them to win

    It is amazing that so many Americans now believe troops should have remained. Many of these same people wanted us to leave Iraq. President Obama is not entering civil wars and instead of receiving praise he is seeing his handling of foreign policy losing public support. If people want us back in Iraq and Afghanistan then they should be willing o go into battle and their sons and daughters should join the military.

    June 18, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. RamboJohnJ

    Cheney is the LAST person who should be chiming in on this mess his administration wallowed us down in for the last 8-9 years at the cost of almost 5,000 lives... He escaped a war crimes charge, fade off into obscurity with your Halliburton money you saber rattling crone..

    June 18, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Manny

    Americans are lucky that Republicans are not in the white house. McCain and Cheney would have us in about 6 wars and counting. Trying to justify mistake of invading Iraq is even more foolish than the decision. At least low IQ Bush is doing something he should have started right after napping at Yale for 4 years,, PAINTING!!

    June 18, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. guitar

    ...and again Mr. Cheney, what branch of the Military was it that you served with???

    June 18, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Peter

    The withdrawal timetable was negotiated and agreed to in December 2008 when he was Vice President!

    At the time–as now– al-Maliki refused to guarantee the safety of the US forces or even their immunity from being prosecuted as war criminals (!) past the withdrawal deadline of December 2011.

    Does Mr. Cheney have amnesia or is he exploiting the ill informed?

    June 18, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. Allan Berry

    What the Cheneys will never acknowledge is that Saddam Hussein, for all his faults, was presiding over a stable country before the U.S. invasion. In addition, there was absolutely no connection between him and his government and Al Qaeda.

    June 18, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Insight

    Bush and Cheney screwed up America

    June 18, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Finn

    This is the guy who created the problem. A hero of the conservatives.We lost 4500 good soldiers over time looking for weapons of mass destruction not to mention $22 billion, which Halliburton and Blackwater got a piece of ...We wouldn't be there for him to complain over if he had not started the mess. Cheney...quit the lie repetition and just shut up.

    June 18, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Steve Harvey

    The man has nerve just to go on the news after so much of his advice was dead wrong, The war was a costly mistake. If anything can help Obama's approval rating, it would be Cheney's disapproval of his policies. I hate him

    June 18, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Sama Mondeh

    President Obama must not allow himself to be pushed into making the wrong decision about intervention in Iraq. He should stand his grounds as the President and use force only when and if American lives are at stake. Finally, he should ignore the noise from Mr. Cheney and the likes of him. They do not matter in the scheme of things.

    June 18, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Dave

    FA-Q CHENEY, YOUR LIES are what got us into this mess!!!

    June 18, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Jan

    The last person we want to hear is Dick Cheney who (along with Bush, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld) who push hard for this illegal, unwarranted war (think Halliburton profits). The whole crew should be indicted, sent to trial and found guilty of inciting war. Leave Iraq alone. Let them work it out. We have no more lives and treasure to give to a government that is totally corrupt and inept.

    June 18, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. May

    Yes by all means lets listen to the war monger that got us into this mess in the first place.:(
    The guy's that profit from war.
    Lets let them decide if kids go there to die or not..:(
    ( this is total sarcasm)

    June 18, 2014 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Let the Civil War in Iraq proceed.

    June 18, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. gimmy

    Mr War Criminal himself criticizing!!!! He, along with his cronies that falsely justified this war, all belong in the cuba prison for war crimes. Let them go down there with the other terrorists. Oil companies are getting nervous about their investment in Iraq (already got approx 5,000 US boys and girls killed) and Cheney wants to be sure that they don't blame him for not completing their job while he was still in office. Doesn't this man have enough parents and families still grieving from the unnecessary loss of their family members in Iraq? This man knows no shame.

    June 18, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Really Dick? You draft dodging war criminal. Iraq is Obama's fault? What a hypocrite! Liar! You know nothing about war or combat you pompous political hack who has stole millions if not trillions from the US Govt.

    June 18, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. john pickett

    Dear Mr Cheney
    You got us in to Iraq now you can fix it
    yours truly;

    June 18, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. braincake63

    Five deferment Dick never met a war he didn't like, as long as he doesn't have to do the fighting. He is a war criminal!

    June 18, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. Victor441bsa

    Uhhh, how many of the Cheneys have signed up to be in the first wave?. . . . . . . . or their kids, grandkids, realtives, friends, neighbors, aquaintanences, ?, ?, ? Anybody. . . anybody. . . . i cant hear you . . . . . .

    June 18, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. hugh harvey

    Cheney & Bush want more war so they can line their pockets again. We haven't seen President Obama fly to an aircraft carrier and jump out screaming we did it!!! and when he went out of office 6 yrs later we were still dying in Iraq for his stupidity.

    June 18, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. rude

    Cheney? Honestly, Cheney giving advice on Iraq? It is too soon! Every time Cheney shows his smug face, the GOP looses some credibility. You NEVER Hear Neil Bush giving advice on how to run a Savings and Loan company, do you????
    Where is Reince Priebus to stop the mocking of the GOP from within?

    June 18, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    All i can do is shake my head at the blathering of such a sad, angry, greedy, pathetic man (and his ambitious daughter). History has proven in so many ways that DICK was wrong at every turn about Iraq - not to mention Bush, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Kristol, Condy, Rummy, Rush, and on and on. The neocons/chicken hawks botched a hastilly-planned, poorly-conceived operation at catastrophic costs on human and financial scales. Obama has spent six years cleaning up this epic mess. It's amazing how the media now wants to hear so much from the "experts" who screwed us and our military. But the war business sure was good to them and their cronies.

    June 18, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Tired of Lies

    The nerve of Dick & Liz to speak publicly regarding Iraq. WMD were never found. Colin Powell stood before Congress and the America people telling lies his boss's told him to say. The whole gaggle from Bush on down to the Former Press Sect's. Justice would be served, if 'the group' of them had to answer for their war crimes against humanity in the Haig court.

    June 18, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Hoss

    The absolute gall to blame Obama for the mess that Bush and he and created. Unbelievable! This despicable piece of crap claims he left Iraq in good shape. Was the shape he left it in worth the lives of so many US servicemen? Where are those WMD? So ignorant about the whole sunni vs shia hatred. Bush was a C student, what do you expect? You've got blood on your hands, Cheney. You should be taken before a firing squad. And by the way, if you voted for GW Bush, you should have your voting privileges permanently revoked due to gross voter incompetence.

    June 18, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. NewsReviewerNE

    Cheney should be giving his interview from inside a maximum security federal prison or Gitmo. Cheney is criticizing Obama for what? The situation that caused with his fake war and destabilized Iraq military powers? This is Satan falsely accusing others of evil acts that cannot compare to the sins of Darth Vador & Sidekick GW. Cheney must have studied with Putin at the KGB.

    June 18, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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