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. tampamike

    I can't believe the fools on this blog who want to go back into iraq. This was a failed war from the beginning because you are not going to change religious beliefs and that is what is driving this war. The notion that we know best for every other country out there is stupid and those who believe that are equally stupid. As for the war criminal cheney and his mini me know nothing daugther get lost before we put you in jail for lying to the american people and waging an illegal war on a sovereign nation.

    June 18, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Gunderson

    Aw, So,
    All you smart cookies want your freedom of Speech but don't want to pay for it. A lot of people paid for your right to be free and practice your free speech. But there is no requirement that you have any brains. Maybe a lot of you need to study History and be tankful somebody paid the price for your right to be free. For those that don't learn from History, are bound to repeat it. The Blank Slate in the White House is trying to Re-Invent the old Soviet Union. Hey rs, just look at what is happening at the Southern Border. Something you voted for. Too bad many of you don't have brain engaged before opening mouth.

    June 18, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. strangways

    wow. How DARE he? He is largely responsible for the bloody mess that is Iraq today. He and the rubber stamp prez couldn't have been more wrong about the reception and results taking out Saddam would have. What a truly awful man. (When asked he said he had "other priorities" than serving in Vietnam – but had no qualms about sending 4000 Americans to their deaths there.) SHAME on him.

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Jo

    Maybe MR. Cheney, wife and daughter should go to Iraq to try to make peace. They seem to have all the answers so get to Iraq and see what you can do with your mouths. You didn't think of the consequences of starting the wars and the difficulty of trying to put an end to them. I say, get to Iraq and clean up your mess, Mr. Cheney.
    Take along your fellow critics and then claim MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. anotherGDlefty

    Dear Dick, no one cares what you have to say about Iraq anymore. Enjoy your government funded heart and blow away or maybe man up and face the war crimes tribunal in the Hague you coward.

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Mike Hunt

    Would the situation in Iraq be better if Saddam Hussein were still in power? I honestly don't know.
    One thing I do feel confident about is that we stay out of these vicious Middle Eastern sectarian feuds. We are dealing with cultures that are one thousand years behind the rest of the civilized world.

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Denise

    So you are resigned to the fact that Hillary will be elected and then re-elected?

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. drtodp

    These people have no credibility in my book. Stop giving them the time of day. Dick needs to be in jail with his Buddy W.

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Josh

    So everyone first needs to be very very scared of the evil terrorists. You all need to believe they are going to kill us all. Second step is to just let the military industrial complex spend all of our money because you're a scared little wimp. While they do that all of you mental giants can play partisan politics.

    June 18, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. George Washington

    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."

    We are watching everything he said come true right before our very eyes! This is not about party politics, this is about the current "cut & run" policy that is betraying all those we liberated, and is forfeiting all the blood, treasure and sacrifice! Beyond shameful.

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. john holmes

    Yeah, Dick and Bush were so right on the WMD's. Dick, you need to be worm food.

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. George Washington

    The op-ed was right on the mark. Obama is allowing for terrorist bases to be established in the Middle East and Africa at the same time as he has opened up our southern border. It won't be long that his utter incompetence will put Americans at risk in their own communities. God help us all.

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. bill acton

    To drum up support for his and Bush's invasion of Iraq that would be met "with open arms", Cheney told America that Saddam would have a nuclear bomb within a year and that Saddam was in league with Al Qaida. That sure gave us the sense of inherent danger to support his invasion, but I have never seen any credible evidence from that time until now that supported his asserted justifications. Thereafter the US refused to allow anyone from the Baath party (Sunnis) take part in the new government, thus assuring the divide between Sunnis and Shiites that exists today. Why would anybody believe anything this guy has to say today?

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Doctor Fine

    Dick Cheney is a foolish cowboy bully. He got us into this mess. He should now just SHUT UP.

    There is nothing to do about Islam until the day come we wake up and realize that ALL of Islam is one big gang just like the Bloods or the Crips.

    There are a huge number of Muslims and they are spreading their gang mentality all over the globe. There are no "good" Muslims just as there are no "good" Crips.

    We should not be sucked into a stupid "war of one group of Crips against another group of Crips."

    We should focus on shutting down Islam everywhere in the world. It is evil. Unlike Christianity it actually spells out how evil it is in all its books. In the sermons from the Imams.

    Wake up America. This gang of power hungry evil terror gangsters wants YOUR stuff.

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Tom l

    Rudy said:

    "Pres. Bush signed the treaty calling for a full withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011."

    Rudy is clearly a bigot and a racist and can't stand giving credit for the withdrawal from Iraq as the Obama success that everyone on here keeps telling everyone. Weird. So Rudy, are you saying that this withdrawal was already set and Obama really had nothing to do with us getting out of there because that's exactly what you just said.

    June 18, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Queen Amadela

    I'm not an Obama supporter but that criminal has a lot of nerve saying that.

    June 18, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. drtodp

    These people have no credibility and they should stop getting air time. Dick should be in jail with his buddy W.

    June 18, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. AmericansRights

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," . That statement is sooooo true and has been throughout "oblunders" presidency. He has NOOOO idea what he is doing. Americans have suffered greatly due to this incompetent fool

    June 18, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. peaceful America,ca

    "The Alliance for a Strong America"?:Very good idea but it sounds like a new Cheney's Dynasty with King = Dick Cheney = Chairman and Princess = his daughter = President . Long life to the Dynasty with two warriors....

    June 18, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Homer SImpson

    It is nice to hear from Mr. Burns after so many years.

    June 18, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. CreamCheese

    Don't forget, that it was Bush/Cheney who negotiated all troops to be out by 2011. Coupled with IRAQ telling the U.S. that any remaining troops would be subject to murder should they be forced to defend themselves, I think most Americans would agree that IRAQ made their own bed. The Prez of Iraq acted like a henchman ( Saddam ) against his own people and now he is getting what he deserves. Our response should be ZERO – let them fall and become a terrorist state and then Nuke 'em all.

    June 18, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Mister Sensitive

    Of course Dick Cheney is going to offer a blistering critique. It's his only hope to distract from the horrible blunder that he orchestrated.

    June 18, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. danomite

    While I whole heartedly agree with the Cheneys when they say "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many", I'm afraid that (dis)honor must be lain at the feet of GWB. The invasion of Iraq will go down as one of the worst political & military blunders of all time.

    June 18, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Jay

    Hey Mr. Cheney how are those WMD's in Iraq working out for ya? Talk about hypocritical.

    June 18, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. nightsun3k7

    Why hasn't your country thrown this guy in prison yet?

    June 18, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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