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. JL

    "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."
    -Ad Hominem fallacy. If you can logically defend this administrations handling of Iraq, please do. Just attacking Cheney is not an argument.

    June 19, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  2. Antonio Releford SSG USA (Retired)

    Have they not learned anything from the past. There was a little conflict where the Russian invaded Afghanstain and we provided weapons to help kick the Russians out but in the end that same group turned into Al Quada. The problem is that we get politics and policy mixed up and the lines become blurred. Then war is the most profitiable business there is and we all know that the Cheney's have ties to Haliburton. There is no easy solution when you mix war and religion together, but to add the demands of politics into the fray, you are asking for conflict that can not be solved or resolved through the normal means. I am glad that we got out of Iraq and to think it would be alright to leave our troops unprotected from the laws of a foreign power is criminal. I wonder if they on both side would want their child to face that type of justice. Easy to make decision when it does not effect one of your own.

    June 19, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  3. JL

    "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."
    -But does that really make sense? Blithely unaware? I mean, this guy's suppose to be a genius right? Is it possible he really does have it in for the United States? The "Obama's a Muslim" "conspiracy theorists" are starting to look pretty sane.

    June 19, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  4. Toussaint foster

    So the person who talked Bush W into dragging the country into an unnecessary war is now being critical of the president for not doing a better job of cleaning up the mess that he and the Ne-cons started in the first place. Nice. The joke of history is that had the USA never invaded Iraq, the inevitable Arab Spring would have toppled Saddam anyway without costing America a dime.

    June 19, 2014 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  5. I shat u not

    CAn you spell WMD mr Chenney?

    June 19, 2014 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  6. Martay

    Why does anyone listen to that war criminal? His daughter wants a political career on the bones of thousand of American soldiers.

    June 19, 2014 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  7. Dave

    Cheney is a joke and has no credibility! There's no such thing as victory in Iraq. It was a losing war from the moment the hawks invaded a country that has never known democracy.

    June 19, 2014 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  8. ml

    Chenney and his daughter should be sent on the frontline for war...right now.

    June 19, 2014 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  9. rome star

    Exactly the conservatives do not have a pony in the race other than special interests when it comes to wars they are the cowards in background making money off they ones dying in the form of many who profit off wars. The kids of the wealthy NOT rich rarely die in the front lines they come to the military in less hazardous jobs or avoid it all together if they had casualties hitting close to home their decisions they lobby for would be different. Black Water (Prince Bitch) Halliburton (Chaney Bitch) ect.. ect. and many others who lobby for wars and conflict because they make mountains of cash I do not feel bad when US mercenaries die in the battle field cuz they did it for cash not patriotic reasons. My brother in-law went and died in Iraq on false pretenses... it did not make us any safer it did not make the gas prices go down no WMD's were found...the only people who benefited were the wealthy who's sons and daughters for some strange reason had no real combat experience (Front lines). I think military should be draft or mandatory for all citizens and non who fight wars; that way wealthy and rich can say like the rest of the population we have sacrificed not only our cash but our own blood. Money rules in this country those who don't have it are bound to be victims of the ones that do.

    June 19, 2014 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  10. Doug

    Cheney, the Iraq expert, has done way too much damage already. Cheney is full of you know what. The fact that he walks the streets a free man is REALLY annoying. He should be in a jail cell crying for mama.

    June 19, 2014 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  11. qckslvr

    Cheney is a draft dodging chicken hawk.

    June 19, 2014 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  12. J Kay

    Dick Cheney should be writing op eds from a holding cell at The Hague, along with the Wolfowitz-Bush-Rumsfeld-Rice Cabal, rather than a free man pretending to be Human with his less than stellar daughter by his side. The only heartening thing about the old administration speaking out about Iraq is the backlash from the media; pointed and articulate in condemnation across the board. If they'd been this outspoken under GW Bush, perhaps the loss of a man like Tim Russert would be less painful than it still is to this day. Halliburton's done very well for itself under the old regime. Let's not give it a few more trillion so it can rule the world. Of course, should Skull and Bones' members condemn Cheney and his cohorts anytime soon, I'll know the sky has indeed, fallen.

    June 19, 2014 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  13. Epidi

    These two should crawl back under their luxury rock paid for by our tax war $ as well as our own soldier's & Iraqi blood. Effin snake!

    June 19, 2014 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  14. Betsy Ross

    1st point: Most of America doesn't realize it, but the war didn't end with the Gulf War (Desert Storm).....we fought Iraq all through the 90s.....under OPERATION NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH....right up until OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. If you look in most American newspapers during the 90s you'll see the small AP articles on the fights.The fighting was done by aviators, but for those fighting in the air, and the enemy fighting on the ground (AAA and SAM) and in the air (Fighters) it was real......... not to be discounted by reporters or those not their.

    2nd point: Most of America doesn't realize it, but You can decide a war is over, but if your enemy doesn't...then guess what you are still at war

    June 19, 2014 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  15. Doug

    Cheney was the main driving force behind the Iraq war which he told lies about to get support. He saw he could make personal money (Haliburton, oil company kickbacks etc) there so he convinced W to go. Therefore, much of the military was diverted from hunting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan where it should have been focusing. Despite cheney's lies to the contrary, there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until after Sadaam was killed. Cant this liar cheney just go away and be glad hes not in prison? Hes the one with much more blood on his hands than anyone.

    June 19, 2014 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  16. jim g

    mr. war criminal ripping on anyone! absurd. he should be behind bars.

    June 19, 2014 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  17. Stig Ohara

    Does this guy (Cheney) have any shame at all ? just shut up and go away you have as much credibility as ,(at least Dubya the pretender is hiding in his ranch) you would think after his 3rd Heart transplant he might have become less reactionary and thank the organ donors who allow him to live, if they had known they would enable this lunatic to survive they would NEVER have signed the donor card. This Iraq blow back is a DIRECT consequence of HIS deluded Neo-Con (Halliburton profit driven sink hole) "we will be welcomed as liberators" coup. Chalabi (The Iranian Agent) played you neo-con idiots like a fiddle.
    OK the Ponzi driven Wall St, Insurance and the Auto industry all got bailed out, in any truly just society he should be in jail along with Geitner, Bernanke and Paulson, as bad as Obama the Oreo & Hillary (never saw a Defense Contractor check she didn't cash) both phony Democrats is he is just trying to fix the mess he inherited from Bush the Pretender.
    In other words, just like the old days let the black guy clean up the mess. Whatever he does good or bad it will be wrong. IMHO Iraq is a cesspool and not worth one more American life, 4,500 dead is enough, let those crazy Hajji's kill one another, it's THEIR problem now.

    June 19, 2014 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  18. sifto

    Cheney is the smartest man in the room when it is occupied by him and obama

    June 19, 2014 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  19. sifto

    The lies on this site by liberals is amazing..

    June 19, 2014 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  20. sidney

    Cheney the reason I refuse to vote Republican.

    Bye the way - ask him about dodging the draft.–

    Sidney in Casper Wyo

    June 19, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  21. GreatlyAmusedCitizen

    Oh, that's rich. Cheney, the mastermind behind this entire quagmire is criticizing the president who inherited it. I hate Obama, but I have to take his side on this one. The hypocrisy is overwhelming on Cheney's part here..

    June 19, 2014 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  22. Robert

    "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.
    Reid needs to be on the wrong end of a bullet.

    June 19, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  23. E

    Lets just imagine for a minute that the Iraq war was a justified war...Where was Cheney to develop an exit strategy before we went in? Was he too focused on shooting his friends while bird hunting? Why wasn't the war thought all the way through, we were not rushed into the war like previous conflicts, there were not immediate threats to Americans coming from Iraq. Don't throw stones in a a glass house Mr. Cheney, this is as much your's and dub dub dubaya's fault as anyone else's

    June 19, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  24. Citizen_123

    Even Fox news called Cheney out saying what he said about President Obama could easily describe his own roll in the mess that is Iraq.

    June 19, 2014 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  25. soul68

    Cheney = credibility zero

    June 19, 2014 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
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