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New Iraq offensive backfires

Republican opportunists hoping to score political points are hammering President Barack Obama with vitriolic criticism and blaming him for the latest upheaval in Iraq. So I was pleased when, finally, two Republicans spoke out loudly to deflect those partisan attacks.

Thank you, Dick and Liz Cheney.

I mean it. The snarling, self-righteous, shameless old hypocrite wrote a nasty op-ed with his daughter in the Wall Street Journal. They meant to skewer Obama on Iraq, but their words backfired.

The Cheneys' attack was so vitriolic and personal -- even accusing Obama of betrayal and being "a fool" -- that it revealed just how mean and malignantly partisan they are. More significantly, though, the venomous rant reminded everyone that -- wait a minute -- it wasn't Obama who made a ghastly mess of Iraq.

It was former Vice President Dick Cheney and his imperious regime of neo-con chicken hawks.

The punchline in their op-ed was a haymaker intended to floor Obama: "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."

But -- whammo -- it was such a wild swing that instead of socking Obama, the Cheneys' roundhouse punch went full-circle and smashed into the former vice president's own glass jaw. Even Fox News, which had been a wildly enthusiastic backer of Cheney's wars, roasted him over that line.

"Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir. You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005," Fox interviewer Megyn Kelly told Dick Cheney. "What do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?"

Precisely, right.

Thank you, Dick and Liz Cheney, for taking the heat off of Obama and putting it right where it belongs.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker.