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Cheneys blame Obama for ISIS, as progressive columnists counter

Cheneys say Obama enabled ISIS takeover of Iraq; left-wing outlets respond.
By Matt Bradwell   |   June 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, June 18 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz have taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to blast President Obama's foreign policy and publicly question his motivations.

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

"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. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America's enemies are not 'decimated.' They are emboldened and on the march."

The central thesis of the Cheney's op-ed is the current ISIS insurgence throughout Iraq was enabled by what they view as President Obama's insufficiently forceful foreign policy since 2009.

"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. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory."

Critics of the op-ed are quick to point out the former vice president's role in the U.S. invasion that destabilized the country initially. Ashley Alman of the Huffington Post notes, "While serving as President George W. Bush's vice president, Cheney was instrumental in justifying the American-led invasion of Iraq, saying time and time again that it was necessary to search for weapons of mass destruction. None were found."

"The U.S.-led invasion actually served to attract and train Middle East terrorists, who honed their skills against the military before spreading to other countries, according to a 2005 report by the CIA director's National Intelligence Council."

New York Magazine took criticism of the op-ed a step further, accusing the Cheneys of passively insinuating Obama was willingly enabling the weakening of America's global standing and security.

"The rest of the column is a masterpiece of insinuation without accusation," counters Jonathan Chait.

"Note the cautious cautious terms inserted into every accusation. Obama is unaware or indifferent. He is willfully blind (i.e., he does not see, but maybe he does not want to). He seems determined to take America down, which is not exactly the same thing as being determined."

The Cheneys are likely unconcerned with progressive critics, as their ideal is that of conservative icon and former President Ronald Reagan. "In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, 'If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly,'" the duo writes.

"'It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.' President Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom."
Follow @mckb26 and @UPI on Twitter.
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