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. Francesca

    The real irony is that the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration are precisely why Iraq has been completely destabilized and the Middle East has become the powder keg it is. As long as the THINKING but silent majority allow the inmates to run the asylum America is becoming things will only get worse. We should be outraged by so much that is happening here – thousands of vets committing suicide daily and suffering debilitating mental and physical disabilities FOR NOTHING AT ALL! an educational system that is deliberately being dismantled, an infrastructure on the verge of collapse, and a political system that does not work (by design). Wake up people and get your heads out of the cell phones !

    June 18, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Petruski

    If he had become president, we would be halfway though a WWIII by now.

    June 18, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Eleanor Fitzgerald

    The mess that is Iraq today started with Bush/Cheney. Many Iraqis were killed. American lives lost. Nothing good accomplished. We are not Sparta for the world. The U.N. and Europeans have responsibility too.. The current chaos within the Muslim community at large is beyond our ability to change. Ultimately, they will have to work out who they are and how that fits into the modern world. Terrorism will only destroy them all. And they are doing it to themselves. Some among them want to bring back the middle ages. Containing their mahem is a concern, but what is the best way to do it?

    June 18, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. erin111

    Cheney, your place is in jail!!! Shut up. Nobody wants to listen to the nonsense you are blabbing. We are just waiting for a day of justice.

    June 18, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. erin111

    Cheney, you are a war criminal and a crook. Shut up!

    June 18, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. nancyg53

    I believe 99 percent of the people in the world want to just live in peace and have a decent life. Why is it that the 1 percent of the war mongering sociopaths on the planet have their way in playing humanity like a fiddle with their terrorist mindset. If you want to stop war in the world, stop war inside yourself first, DICK CHENEY! But how profitable it all is for you and your minions, so you justify until the planet is a burnt cinder. Iraq is in this condition because of what was done in the Bush admin. to have the war in Iraq. It is beyond shame.

    June 18, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  7. bill

    Sickining to listen to republicans grumble about what Obama should do about Iraq...Had we not gone into Iraq in 2003 under the false charges of WMDs Thanks to Bush...We would not have had 4450 soldiers killed 32035 wounded and 1.5 trillion dollars and counting...Ignorance is bliss ...Can you guess what side of the political aisle is engaging in revisionist history???

    June 18, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Voseystone

    Let's not forget all the Democratic Senators who voted for the Iraq War Resolution: Sens. Lincoln (D-AR), Feinstein (D-CA), Dodd (D-CT), Lieberman (D-CT), Biden (D-DE), Carper (D-DE), Nelson (D-FL), Cleland (D-GA), Miller (D-GA), Bayh (D-IN), Harkin (D-IA), Breaux (D-LA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Kerry (D-MA), Carnahan (D-MO), Baucus (D-MT), Nelson (D-NE), Reid (D-NV), Torricelli (D-NJ), Clinton (D-NY), Schumer (D-NY), Edwards (D-NC), Dorgan (D-ND), Hollings (D-SC), Daschle (D-SD), Johnson (D-SD), Cantwell (D-WA), Rockefeller (D-WV), and Kohl (D-WI).

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

    Like he has any credibility when it comes to anything sensible.

    June 18, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. David

    The last person in the world that should be opening his big, fat mouth about Iraq is Dick on Chinney.

    June 18, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Bridge

    I don't know how Dick Cheney has escaped being hauled up on charges of treason. Any guesses?

    June 18, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Hiram57

    The Shrub and Lumpy Show got us into the mess in Iraq, and now Lumpy is trying to spin things. They BOTH deserve to be in Gitmo.

    June 18, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. Ralph

    Mr Halliburton himself is seeing dollar signs again....

    June 18, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. g2-0087f6f563ff60b84af3e1ff88ac0d03

    We should have traded Cheney for Bergwald. and he has the guts to do anything but hide in his apartment?

    June 18, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. Patriot of Free Thought

    Dick Cheny, have you no shame?????

    June 18, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. Uh Oil

    Before anyone criticizes the Cheney's, check the price at the gas pump and then lets see the price 90 days down the road when Iraq is ruled by terrorist. I can assure you we will see $6.00 a gallon gas. So keep on ripping Cheney. The one you should be ripping is the POTUS, he is sitting on his hands doing nothing, letting this happen, letting the genocide proceed in Syria. The POTUS is doing nothing!!

    June 18, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. heroto

    Harry Reid is so right about


    Harry Reid is very right! Dick Cheney get rich from Iraq war.at the price of over 4000 American lifes and $ 2 trillions. over 30thousands American injuries. He should be treated as a war criminal.

    3 hours ago

    June 18, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. Paul P. Valtos

    Did this guy ever take the Rohrschak test. With his many heart attacks and strokes he needs to stay away from the public in any statements he makes. After the initial Iraq fiasco he has no business commenting on anything even social security.

    June 18, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. Mike

    I think the us is justified in going back to Iraq and pumping out and selling all their oil to pay for the war and take the women and children back to the us and then leave pallets of guns and ammo and then leave and let the crazies fight it out.

    June 18, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. LANA

    he SHOULD SIT QUIETLY AND WATCH HIS HEART BEATS...He and Bush fabricated the war...picketed billions, lied to us citizens and the world why they needed the war...sacrificed thousand of our boys, millions of Iraqis...and he has audacity to talk?

    June 18, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. Ruppert Jenkins

    If there is one thing this country doesn't need, it's more lies from Harry Reid. This conniving, lying, sneaky, Nevadan snake-in-the-grass hasn't told the truth about a single thing in over 30 years.

    June 18, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  22. Rick

    so were supposed to let more American's die in a country that dosen't want us there, and no matter when we leave will be in civil war until its totally destroyed. D. Cheney needs to shut the hell up and be put on trial for lying about a country and a war that we should have never been in in the first place.

    June 18, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  23. LastSaneMan

    I believe Bob Dylan wrote a song that pretty much sums this up. It's called "Masters of War". Give it a listen!

    June 18, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  24. winter

    Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the window you will see we have truley arrived at the "heights of Irony"......

    June 18, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  25. tinkansas

    Let Cheney and his daughter run for president and see how they do.

    June 18, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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