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. Hogan's Goat

    Cheney misses being president as much as Ollie North misses it. Neither one of them was elected to the highest office in the land, and both of them achieved it by working for brain-dead Republicans. And now they want to give us advice! They lied over and over and everyone knows it. They are still lying.

    June 18, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. cheney@fucku.com

    we know who the real president was during the iraq war and it wasnt bush

    June 18, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. salty dog

    Why can't he just paint?

    June 18, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. I AM

    I thought it was him and his bosses idea to leave.

    June 18, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    Geez, Gundy, we should be "tankful" that others have fought for our rights, so we should never say what we feel? Take a leaf out of your own book, you revisionist POS, and admit that your views and approach has failed miserably and cost us dearly in terms of blood and treasure. Attempting to graft American-style democracy on a part of the world where the ideals we hold most near and dear are alien was a neo-con pipe dream. But, as usual, you are more interested in blathering on about a supposed invasion by people with funny accents then you are in discussing anything substantive. With our money and your tax cuts, the wealthy will get wealthier and you will enable them every step of the way, like the good little cog you are.

    June 18, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Another Bob

    Dick Cheney has a very troubled relationship with the truth, as well as basic ethics and morality. I don't use the term lightly, but I think Cheney will go down as one of the most evil and harmful politicians this country ever allowed into high office. As for his daughter, well, nepotism has gotten her a lot more notoriety than she deserves, but in the end, who really cares what Liz Cheney has to say about anything?

    June 18, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. CCNW

    Dear CNN,

    Things have been getting a little rough for me lately. With the VA, prisoner swap, disappearing e-mails, Iraq falling apart under my watch because I deserted them, terrorism on the rise due to my lack of leadership, etc, etc.

    Would it be too much too ask for you to go back to wall-to-wall coverage of that Malaysian flight that is missing again? The public needs to forget about my incompetence for awhile.



    June 18, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. critical thinking

    Obama's new pledge: We will leave no victory behind.

    June 18, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Jean Harty

    Have we not learned our lesson on Iraq? Cheney is a traitor to this country because of his evil orchestration of the invasion of Iraq. History will note his role. Do not blame Bush, he allowed himself to be used. Cheney should be very quiet in his old age.

    June 18, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. longtimer

    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!!!
    You do realize that "it is coming true before our eyes" because these idiots invaded the wrong county? The GOP has ZERO credibility on foreign affairs after unleashing the disaster that is the Iraq war, and you have no clue what you're talking about.

    June 18, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Since Dick knows so much and is such an expert..... Why don't he and daughter dearest take a trip over to Iraq and see if they can lend them a hand? Or maybe a head.... He knows good and well he and Dubya are two of the most despised people in the world. But keep talking Dickie and keep getting richer off the war you created. While many will go along with you, I bet none of the families of the dead soldiers will.

    June 18, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Todd

    The master of false assumptions, no terrorist link in Iraq, no WMD.

    June 18, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Tom l, please show one instance of Rudy being a racist or a bigot, since you have a very poor grasp of sarcasm. Perhaps your terminal self-righteousness is clouding your judgement ( again). By the way, singled out any conservatives for your barbs lately, or is it the usual lopsided proportion in favor of the conservative gauleiters?

    June 18, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Alex S.

    "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many" -Yup, cuz that Iraq War and the War on Terror in Afghanistan sure wasn't costly.. oh wait.. Also, the solution to costing us lives and money... is to go back to war over there? What?!

    June 18, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. frespch

    Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, McCain- Let me just encapsulate for you (War Mongers) They have never seen a potential war they didn't love, and I doubt any individual has profited more from war than Cheney.
    Some of the above should be in prison for war crimes.

    June 18, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Slainte2

    BTW – and i am fully aware of the human tragedy going on now in that country ... from US point of view, we have no true allies in Iraq, each side committing atrocities against the other, no reason to come to Maliki's aid (would be better off with him out) ... how are US interests NOT actually ADVANCED by allowing ISIS and the Shiite government forces to just decimate each other? And if ISIS actually ended with control over the partitioned north, we would actually have a nation to hold responsible (and be punished) in event of bad acts. Politically, wouldn't US be better off? There is no reason to any more concerned with the nation of ISIS than of terrorist plots possible by same actors anyway ... and that "nation" would not pose a threat, the US is far better at destroying an enemy than re-building it, and decimating a new country of 4 million Sunnis would be a week-end's work for the US forces.

    June 18, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Mike

    Cheney's comments should have come from his jail cell. He's a liar and cannot be trusted so why take his comments seriously.

    June 18, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. longtimer

    You Got It

    While I don't care for Cheney or his daughter much, they are right about one thing: the Obama administration has been a complete and utter failure dealing with Foreign Policy issues: Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, NSA spying on foreign govt leaders, Benghazi, Bergdahl trade – it's devolved into a huge mess.
    Funny, so you see no relationship between blowing up Iraq, and setting off the "Arab Spring" as playing a role in the incidents you describe? The Right as evidenced here today has simply gone insane. Fact free and proud of it are we?

    June 18, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. salty dog

    You got it, so you would have our military in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, and control a government agency not beholden to the presidency, and so on and so forth, you make me very grateful our president can think for himself, very thankful.

    June 18, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. Plano

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

    Yes, your buddy really screwed up for 8yrs and cost US many lives...

    June 18, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. frespch

    Cheney may have somebody elses heart- but still the same old war mongering BRAIN

    June 18, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. ja

    That entire mess belong to Cheney/Bush, Cheney is the majority owner, you can't bomb a people into submission

    June 18, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Chip

    4,490 lives lost in Iraq
    $1.7 trillion of U.S. Dollars spent
    Now were poised to go back in!
    Not a shred of evidence of weapons of mass destruction ever found
    Bush/Cheney, your legacy is never-ending! You both should be in jail for your crimes against the World!
    I am sure Halliburton will profit off the new war as well!

    June 18, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. rdeleys

    Unsolicited advice from a war criminal - just what we need!

    June 18, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Thomas

    Dear Mr, Former Vice President Dick Cheney ,
    If you see your good friend Ahmed Chalabi " CurveBall " could you please ask him for a refund ?

    I know you thought invading Iraq would be a rewording economic investment for you and your friends . And we would be welcomed as liberators and be compensated after the election of a democratic Iraq. Did anybody in your inner circle at the time question the sanity of a promoting a Shi'ite Islam leader who had no intention to share power with the Sunnis ?

    Once again please say hello to Ahmed Chalabi " The Bernie" Madoff of the Mid East ".

    As for you and your Lovely Neocon daughter Liz Cheney , next time "Measure twice, and cut once.".

    And give my best to , Paul Wolfowitz , Donald Rumsfeld and "Scooter" Libby.

    June 18, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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