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. billbl

    Why anyone would be listening to Cheney, Sen. John McCain, Lindsey Graham or William Kristol of the Weekly Standard when they so misrepresented the challenge of invading and occupying Iraq is a mystery. They said it would be over in a month or 6 months at the most. Thankfully, President Obama is resisting the pressure of the war mongers in deciding what to do. We have spent too much in that area already. Two Islamic sects hate each other to the point of killing. Probably need separate countries after all.

    June 18, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. iadad

    And thanks a lot to CNN for, again, playing Fair and Balanced and lending credibility to scoundrels who have none. CNN is part of the problem.

    June 18, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. bob baden

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," I thought he was talking about George W.

    June 18, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Vijay

    Cheney told right in 1991 but he flipped and flopped his view in Iraq in 2003... He killed 4500 soldiers... period.

    June 18, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. yogi

    Leave it to a war criminal on how to solve the problems in Iraq. Cheney should be in the Hague to do some "explaining", this man is beyond disgusting.

    June 18, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. labman57

    Meanwhile, civilized society continues to attack the Cheney clan for abandoning our nation's constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process, as well as the fundamental tenets of human rights.

    How about outing a CIA operative in an act of retribution for her husband's exposing the rationale behind the Iraq invasion to be a fraud perpetrated upon Congress and the American public?

    Oh, and Dickie is still searching for those phantom WMDs.

    June 18, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Cheney might as well have said he wasn't V.P. when the U.S. invaded Iraq. The only part of this Evil soul can claim wasn't there was his new heart maybe because it could have come from a soldier who fought and died. I wouldn't put anything past him or his family.

    June 18, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. lloyd

    failure to take a bold stand only strengthen youe enemy. I think the terorist by gaining teritory and resources will spell disaster for the west. I have long predict this mess in iraq. Thanks to assad for been able to procure WDM from the cateloge. Hou such a small state could produce such stockpile . Sadam would not ship his stockpile there. a tune that please the spineless west

    June 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. jdoe

    Clearly Cheney is not big on irony.

    June 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. dumbpolitics

    She's so corrupt she can't run for office in her state. Mr. Ex vp is wanted as a war criminal in almost every country in the world. So I don't think their word is worth more than what my dog left for me on the lawn.

    June 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Tom Bukowski

    Really? Cheney has something to say about Iraq? He lied from before day one. He's now irrelevant, even if he did start the whole thing The paranoid war monger needs to shut up. How many Americans dead, and maimed because of him?.

    June 18, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Sniffit

    100% completely unsurprising that Faux Lite has no even mentioned the reports that the guy they captured made statements about being motivated by "the video."

    June 18, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    David – "Where do logical thinking citizens believe Asad got all his WMDs from? A Sear's catalogue? In case you couldn't figure this one out. ..."

    Seems to me it was W-cheney's job to figure that one out. cheney was looking for the on the golf course and quail fields. W was looking under his desk.

    June 18, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Winning

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"

    It's like he is incapable of learning. I hate the man. His daughter can die in a fire as well.

    June 18, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. jsijordan

    DC is just plain nuts. He's literally a psychopath.

    June 18, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. 1alien1

    dick is responsable for us being there. that coward that dodged going to war and then sending our troops to iraq to die and be maimed for no reason. and he is smug about it. he should be on trial along withbush for lying about iraq having wmd's

    June 18, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Craig

    Dick Cheney has a funny way of using the word 'victory'.

    June 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. DFWallace

    This is hilarious. Cheney should be in prison.

    June 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. longtimer

    The Iraqi war as put forward by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice has gone down and will be remembered for a very long time as single the biggest blunder in American foreign affairs. Hint for CNN: interviewing the people responsible for the biggest blunder as if they are credible is pretty poor journalism.

    June 18, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Drguajar

    This is beyond comical. He forgets we are there to begin with because of him. He pushed Bush into this utter disaster.

    June 18, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Ivan Terragon

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,"
    Cheney lead us into a trillion dollar ten year war on WMD lies. He has a lot at stake personally in the outcome. Bottom line is this is the longest war in US history with nothing to gain and no way to end it. Even dubya realized Cheney was full of it and discarded Cheney by the end of his last term. When even a moroon can size Cheney up, there is no where to hide.

    June 18, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. mosheghomert

    This is like Goebbels taking a rip on Elie Weisel!

    June 18, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Tim

    I'm confused... Bush and Cheney said we had already won the war in Iraq in March 2003?

    June 18, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. tony

    That show us how bad bad america is. When they lose interest they will drop you like the fly just like vietnam. The lesson of vietnam and american betrayed no one really remember No wonder the third countries always said dont ever trust america

    June 18, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Lux

    Regardless of who delivers the message, the message that we shouldn't leave Iraq to be overthrown by a radical terrorist group is cogent and salient. We've been able to thwart and bolster revolutions with close air support before in this administration. And even a ground-based counter-offensive would be quick. Comprisons to the more recent Iraq War are nonsensical. We wouldn't be invading a country to depose an established regime – we'd be reinforcing a country under seige and crushing an offensive force – much more like the first Gulf War, which met far more success than the one that followed it.

    But instead of coming at this with a level head, we're reducing it down to talking points of Cheney vs. Kerry.

    June 18, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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