America's enemies have been "emboldened" by President Barack Obama's decision to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and are now a major threat to U.S. citizens, says former Vice President Dick Cheney and his attorney daughter Liz Cheney.
"Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many," they wrote in a commentary for The Wall Street Journal,
while saying that Obama should have left a contingent of U.S. forces in Iraq to prevent terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida from gaining a stronghold in the region again.
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"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 [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] 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."
Dick Cheney, who was vice president in the George W. Bush administration, and his daughter, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, said that the fall of Iraqi cities Fallujah, Mosul, and Tikrit and the establishment of terrorist safe havens across the Arab world present "a strategic threat" to the security of the United States.
"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. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent, to the fact that a resurgent al-Qaida presents a clear and present danger to America."
The Cheneys said that when Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al-Qaida in Iraq had been largely defeated, and that the president only had to leave some American forces behind to help secure the peace.
"Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. The tragedy unfolding in Iraq today is only part of the story. Al-Qaida and its affiliates are resurgent across the globe.
"Now, in a move that defies credulity, he toys with the idea of ushering Iran into Iraq. Only a fool would believe American policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror."
The Cheneys wrote in the Journal that the president is "willfully blind" to the impact of his policies. "Despite the threat to America unfolding across the Middle East, aided by his abandonment of Iraq, he has announced he intends to follow the same policy in Afghanistan.
"Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, President Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch," the Cheneys wrote. "Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch."
The Cheneys drew on a speech from former President Ronald Reagan to illustrate the problems that Obama will leave America when he departs the White House.
"In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, 'If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. 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."
Dick Cheney, as vice president, was a proponent of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying the country had developed weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons were not found.
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