Standing in front of rolling green fields with snow-capped mountains in the middle distance, the man in a cowboy hat and his daughter announce an “Alliance for a Strong America”.
If being on the “wrong side of Dick Cheney is being on the right side of history”, as the US Senate majority leader Harry Reid noted, the former US Vice President has launched an apparent attempt to re-write history.
In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Mr Cheney and his daughter Liz attacked Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East, claiming he had been “so wrong about so much at the expense of so many”.
He wrote that the White House appeared “blithely unaware or indifferent to the fact that a resurgent al-Qa’ida presents a clear and present danger” to the US, adding that Mr Obama was “on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom”.
In Washington, however, critics noted that it was Mr Cheney who, on 16 March 2003, days before the ill-fated war in Iraq started, told NBC’s Meet the Press that it was an “overstatement” to suggest that thousands of US troops would be required to remain in Iraq after the conflict ended.
“We will be greeted as liberators,” he famously said, claiming Sunni and Shia communities would be united. “They understand the importance of preserving and building on an Iraqi national identity.”
Writing this week, Mr Cheney said: “Mr Obama is busy ushering America’s adversaries into positions of power in the Middle East. First it was the Russians in Syria. 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 gall of Dick Cheney”, read a New York Times editorial the following morning. The Washington Post added: “The Cheney polemic would be outrageous even if our former Vice President’s record on Iraq had been one of absolute clairvoyance. As it happens, he was wrong in almost every prediction he made about the war.”
In Washington, on the Senate floor, Mr Reid said: “If there’s one thing this country does not need, it is that we should be taking advice from Dick Cheney on wars. To the architects of the Iraq War who are now so eager to offer their expert analysis, I say, Mr President, 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.”
Mr Cheney’s comments came as he launched his new Alliance for a Strong America, a non-profit group formed to reverse the “dangerous policies” of the Obama administration while fighting to “restore American strength, power and influence around the world”.
Mr Cheney is not alone in making public comments on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Last weekend, Tony Blair said Iraq’s violent insurgency had nothing to do with the 2003 invasion, claiming the country would still be a “major problem” without the deposing of Saddam Hussein.
Responding to Mr Cheney’s claims, the White House press secretary said: “Which president was he talking about?” He added, more diplomatically, that it was “always good” to hear from Mr Cheney.