In an op-ed published in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, former Vice President Dick Cheney — along with his equally neoconservative daughter, Liz Cheney — accuses President Obama of intentionally undermining the nation’s national security interests in Iraq in an effort to take America “down a notch” in the world. It’s the latest charge levied against Obama by former Bush administration officials who orchestrated the 2003 invasion of Iraq and have since reclaimed their expertise to advise the president on how to best handle the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
War architects L. Paul Bremer, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith aren’t letting their false predictions about President Bush’s war in Iraq stop them from arguing in favor of muscular American military intervention — be it air strikes or boots on the ground. And they’re predictably downplaying the roles of the invasion and subsequent reconstruction policies in destabilizing the country and the region.
But the former vice president — who spent years arguing that anyone who questions the administration during a time of war is unpatriotic — goes a step further. He uses the current spike in violence to rehabilitate the Bush administration’s decision to invade and then accuses Obama of intentionally ignoring the terrorist threat and knowingly aiding American enemies. It’s as if the Bush administration left Iraq a peaceful nirvana and Obama broke it into a thousand little pieces.
“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” Cheney begins. “Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing.”
Then, the criticism becomes stunningly personal and vitriolic: Obama, he argues, is purposely and knowingly hurting the nation by failing to follow the advise of the very men who invaded the nation in the first place. Cheney writes that “Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch,” and concludes that the president is “on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.”
The former Vice President also hasn’t limited his personal attacks on Obama to Iraq. Cheney has previously claimed that Obama is un-American and speculated that he proposed cutting military funding because he doesn’t like our troops. Which leads to an obvious conclusion: Americans should stop listening to Cheney — not because he disagrees with the administration on policy or politically — but because he doesn’t seem to believe that the president acts in good faith or was ever legitimate in the first place.