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. Bigwilliestyles

    This is the current president's reward. As much as i support Obama, not pursuing those two criminals and their financial counter-parts on wall street was the biggest mistake of his term. All of those people should still be completing long prison sentences.

    June 19, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  2. Cal Bob

    Why hasn't DICK been tried for war crimes ??

    June 19, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  3. Where are the WMD?

    Is he called Mr. Halliburton? Today's Republican Hawks are all Chicken Hawks! They like to start wars and fight wars with other peoples kids. Mr Bush and Mr. Cheney after all were responsible starting the Iraq War in the first place by chasing WMD. Before Bush and Cheney started the war, there were no terrorists. Sadaam although a ruthless dictator, hated terrorists more than he hated the US. The real reason we went into Iraq was to make Haliburton rich off Iraq's oil.

    June 19, 2014 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. johnk

    And see who is just calling the kettle black! All of them are fools (Bush, Cheney, Obama & 90 % of our Congress) and have no business running anything. Iraq was and is a waste of lives, money, and time. How pathetic this govt never learns from its past mistakes, only repeats them over and over.

    June 19, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  5. Ted

    Cheney should be in jail for the iraq war.

    June 19, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  6. Kita

    CHENEY is upset at someone else's handling of Iraq?

    CHENEY of all people?

    I...just...no. No.

    June 19, 2014 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  7. Anonymous

    So these are the two people the Republicans have picked as their leaders for 2014 and 2016....good luck..

    June 19, 2014 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. Cheney is revolting

    By the way, Cheney is willing to spill the blood of mostly blue collar American servicemen (and for WHAT?), try asking to him to tax the top few percent to pay for that war with higher taxes, suddenly it won't seem like such a good idea.

    June 19, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  9. Kevin Quail

    And guess who currently has most of the oil service contracts for foreign oil companies in Iraq? Halliburton and Schlumberger. It's all about money for Cheney- the rest is lies.

    June 19, 2014 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  10. tahitiandancer

    Some day Cheney will fade away. The sooner the better.

    June 19, 2014 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  11. hkirwin

    Dims only serve themselves and defend no one, not even themselves.

    June 19, 2014 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. blucorsair

    Obama must have missed ISIS conquering Iraq on one of his golf outings! ...Bush won with the "surge" and Obama lost with the "purge"!

    June 19, 2014 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  13. Stu Steinberg

    I suggest that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Bremer, all of whom avoided military service, volunteer to lead a brigade of neo-cons and get over there and give those terrorists what for. Before we went into Iraq, and that idiot Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army and kicked all Ba'athists out of government, there was no insurgency. These people are responsible for the death of American and allied soldier who perished in a war built on lies. Cheney can continue to blather about his false "intelligence" about Iraqi WMDs being smuggled into Syria all he wants, but that still won't make it true.

    June 19, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  14. d610

    Its crazy how powerful people will do nothing to save the planet but will fully support war

    June 19, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  15. S.

    HALLIBURTON!!!! Dick Cheney makes millions of dollars in stock options off of the Iraq war due to his investments in the defense contractor Halliburton. He should be tried for war crimes and thrown in jail. Instead, he gets to sit there, fat, with a new heart, railing freely at our President for stopping the carnage that he started in order to get rich.

    June 19, 2014 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. Colleen Price

    My sons are not going to be dragged into this conflict by the Cheneys! Dick Cheney should be charged with war crimes. I want to see every last kid of Liz's on the front line of this conflict. They need to go to Iraq and straighten out this mess, not send other peoples children!! Over 100,000 innocent Iraqis killed, 3000 American soldiers killed and 32,000 Americans maimed because of these people. They have no shame and either does the WSJ for giving them a platform.

    June 19, 2014 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  17. Socrates

    Is Cheney still alive?

    June 19, 2014 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  18. Your Mom

    Oh, you kids talk so smart. Wait until those ISIS boys blow up your house.

    June 19, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  19. Dee Wan

    How many of our young are DEAD, Mr. Cheney as you lined Halliburton's coffers. Truly, you are the enemy within.

    June 19, 2014 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  20. Judy H

    Totally insane that this evil man can say this. I agree with Good Grief "Because of Dick Cheney, we went into Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11 or the terrorists responsible for it. They also had no weapons of mass destruction and were not an area for terrorist training at that time. He was wrong about EVERYTHING." Ramen!

    June 19, 2014 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  21. Yoda

    Can be stop giving any credibility to deranged criminals please?

    June 19, 2014 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  22. Skarphace

    Cheney: "Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

    Yes, Cheney, we all know how well the situation was going in Iraq before we finally ended your war. Victory indeed.

    June 19, 2014 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  23. Jaimondrow

    Great use of mindless black and white political hack-tivism to ignore the complexity of reality. There are doves on the right like Rand Paul and Justin Amash whose strong opposition to further military involvement in Iraq blows away the nervous tittering of Democrats who would rather support their President than a single Progressive principle.

    June 19, 2014 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  24. spoton

    God its hard to state how much this man disgusts me. The Shia/Sunni schizm has raged for 1500 years. What victory is he talking about? How much more US blood does he want spilt? Sidelining Sunnis and arming Shias is not victory. That is replacing a Sadaam led sunni totalitarian state with a Shia led dictatorship. Bush/Cheney stupidly toppled Saddam and strengthened Iran's our chief enemy's hand in the middle east. They lied at the UN to undermine US objectives. People lie to win, they lied to lose. LOL. In addition everyone is blaming us.

    June 19, 2014 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  25. Den Arden

    Who gave this fool permission to speak?

    June 19, 2014 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
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