As President Obama faces tough decisions on how to handle the escalating violence in Iraq, Dick and Liz Cheney penned a blistering rebuke of the president's foreign policies, writing “rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
"Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality,” the elder Cheney—a chief architect of the war in Iraq—and daughter Liz wrote in the Wall Street Journal opinion piece published Wednesday. Sectarian violence has soared recently; this week, the president announced plans to move 275 military members back into the country to protect the U.S. embassy.
The lengthy piece attempts to portray the decade-long and overwhelmingly disliked war, which cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion as one that was won by Cheney and lost by Obama.
“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. Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace,” they wrote. “Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”
Cheney omits the fact that it was his own administration that signed the initial mandate for a U.S. withdrawal by 2012. Indeed, it was the Iraq government—the democracy the U.S. fought to put in place—that refused to renegotiate that agreement to leave any residual troops in, despite the president’s efforts.
The Cheneys advocates for a complete reversal of the president's policies.
“American freedom will not be secured by empty threats, meaningless red lines, leading from behind, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies, or apologizing for our great nation—all hallmarks to date of the Obama doctrine. Our security, and the security of our friends around the world, can only be guaranteed with a fundamental reversal of the policies of the past six years," they wrote.
The Democratic National Committee blasted the father-daughter duo on Wednesday morning, challenging their condemnation of Obama that "rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”
"How about the administration that Mr. Cheney served in that justified sending thousands of service members into harm's way in Iraq by claiming Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when he actually had none?" they wrote in an email blast.
"The only rhetoric that needs a dose of reality is Mr. Cheney's," they concluded.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about the op-ed Wednesday, his last day as the president's top spokesman. ABC News reporter Jon Karl quoted the story, to which a deadpanned Carney replied: "Which president was he talking about?" The briefing room appeared to break out in burst out in laughter.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Cheney's remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor.
"If there is one thing that this country does not need, it's that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars," Reid said. "Being on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history. To the architects of the Iraq war who are now so eager to offer their expert analysis ...thanks but no thanks. Unfortunately, we have already tried it your way and it was the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of the country."