Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'
August 28th, 2011
04:42 PM ET
3 years ago

Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'

(CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday responded to criticism leveled at members of the Bush administration by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his new biography, characterizing Cheney's recent comments as "cheap shots."

Cheney takes issue with the actions of Powell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former CIA Director George Tenet, among others, in the book titled "In My Time." While promoting the memoir last week, Cheney said there would be "heads exploding all over Washington" when his book hits the shelves Tuesday.

But Powell, a retired Army general, said his head and heads of others in Washington, D.C. aren't exploding.

Calling Cheney's use of sensationalist language more worthy of a supermarket tabloid than a former vice president, Powell said Cheney "had a long and distinguished career, and I hope in his book that is what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush."

According to Powell, Cheney accuses him in the book of not being forthcoming with his opinions to former President George W. Bush ahead of the Iraq War in 2003. On CBS' "Face the Nation," Powell called the critique "nonsense."

"The president knows that I told him what I thought about every issue of the day," Powell said.

At the time, Powell said he told the president, "If you break it, you own it," in reference to the invasion. That was advice he said Cheney "may forget."

"You have got to understand that if we have to go to war in Iraq, we have to be prepared for the whole war, not just the first phase," Powell said. "And Mr. Cheney and many of his colleagues did not prepare for what happened after the fall of Baghdad."

Powell, who also served in the administrations of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, said Cheney wrongly took credit in the book for forcing Powell to resign in 2004. Instead, Powell said, it was always his plan to leave after four years.

By the end of the first term, Bush's Cabinet "was not functioning as a team," Powell acknowledged.

"We had different views … not views that can be reconciled," Powell said. "And so I said to the president that I would be leaving at the end of the year after the election, and he ought to take a look at his whole team to try to resolve these issues because it was not a smoothly functioning team at that point."


Filed under: Colin Powell • Dick Cheney
soundoff (566 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Don't buy Cheny book in honor of those that he sent to war to die. What a bun.

    August 29, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Ferret out the B.S.

    It seems to me that king Dick always wanted to be King Dick and therefore could do no wrong. The problem with an autobiography is that it is never written from an objective point of view.

    August 29, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Jim

    Exactly when was Bush's team smoothly functioning?

    August 29, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Jon Q

    Be stupid ... Buy Cheney's book...make him more wealthy

    August 29, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. runninglts

    I agree with many post here that Powell was and is the "good guy" and Cheney is just trying to rewrite history (btw in the end that can't be done). But I was surprised then as I am now that Powell didn't step up and tell the world that he thought that Iraq war was to be a disaster ... and list all the sound reasons why IN PUBLIC .. no matter if he would have had to resign in order to do so ... I think the American people as a whole would have listened and that was a clear failure of leadership on his part ...

    August 29, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Rob

    Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be put before the courts for treason...Cheney also for war profiteering. Colin Powell is the only viable man for the office of POUS and Ron Paul as Vice Pres.

    August 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Slumberjack

    Colin Powell lied to the entire world with his presentation to the United Nations on the Iraqi WMD program. He is as much to blame as Dick Cheney for the entire debacle which followed. There's nothing honorable about him. He let other people do his thinking for him, just as the majority of Americans do every waking day.

    August 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. griff griff

    I served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the era when Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Gen. Powell was the Chairman of the JCS. This is a feud that has been going on for a long time. Cheney could not deal with the fact that the lowest ranking General (in grade) was the boss, and he got a lot of p.r. during the Excercise Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns. He's never been a fan of Powell's. Eveyone loved him, and was touting him as a strong presidential candidate. It is out of envy that Cheney writes these things about Gen. Powell and others in the administration. I really don't think that America wants to see another "tell all" book about an administration that didn't do very well. We need to focus on this administration and creating jobs and fixing the economy.

    August 29, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Baddo

    But Gen. Powell talked us into getting to war. Afganistan OK, but Iraq NO.
    The whole regime should rot in jail for the innocent lives killed and still killing.

    August 29, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Steve

    Dick Cheney is the poster child for evil, arrogance and self rightousness. I can only hope that his now drawn face is due to guilt, but I doubt it. He should be in prison along with George Bush for what they have done to this country. I wish Colin Powell would write a book, but he is too much of a gentleman with true class to throw himself in the gutter along with Cheney, rumsfeld and Bush. I hope he dies a slow miserable death for the pain and suffering he caused the families of our military and those that live in Iraq. When he looks in the mirror I hope he sees the devil, because that's what he is.

    August 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How gratifying to see a great man like Gen Powell treated with, by and large, dignity and respect by people from both sides of the aisle on this site.
    Would he be torn limb from limb by the same if he were to make a run for the Presidency?
    I wonder....

    August 29, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. mickeymo

    Cheney is dangerous. He pushed hard for us to bomb the nuclear facility in Syria. When Bush wouldn't go along with it, Israel did it. Cheney should probably be at the very least, investigated for all his bad deeds along with the direct links with Halliburton during the Iraq war.Criminal...

    August 29, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I have never had much respect for Powell especially when it was his advice during the first Gulf war which lead to the necessity of the second and more costly and yet contining war. After the well coordinated and widely supported first war was quickly brought to the point of total defeat of the Iraqi defenses, we had the option of turning left and proceeding to Baghdad and the rest of the country. Clearly the Kirks in the north would have been delighted and there was no organized Al Queda then or any other organized opposition that would have opposed such a move. Instead, he and the older Bush and his boys called off the war before it was completed. There may have been some objection from the UN, but most of the troops from the UN were on our side and would have ridden into the capital city with us. There would have been no second war!

    August 29, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. William

    Powell is a level headed man that was surrounded by arrogant, impulsive and dangerous men like Cheney. If Cheney would have had his way more often, the United States would be far worse off than what it is now.

    August 29, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. dowdotica

    ..as written shortly after bagdad...

    I'm just an outsider lookin' in
    blod on the school steps
    an imperial sin
    who's right when everybody is wrong
    blood in bagdad, blood in bagdad
    who's pulling puppet stirngs when meyhem and carnige bring
    desert sand blowing dry blood on the wind
    a mother falls silent, dead and leaves baby crying
    as bombs fall from
    a sight unseen
    on a land not mine
    a land dying
    all at the hands
    of a new breed of war pigs...

    they should all be tried for war crimes!

    August 29, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. twalk

    Cheney book will be good in the winter to use in your fireplace for heat. I would not believe anything in it. He is a evil man trying to get even. Why not swap him for the two american prisoners in Iran? He belong in prison anyway, so let see how big he would talk if they had him in Iran. Bet he would not be so tuff then.

    August 29, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Amunaka

    Does cheney really want to rehash all this and at this time ..shamelessly exploiting the neo cons " Pearl Harbor " yet again for power and profit...stomach turning to say the least...

    August 29, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Why isn't THIS man running for President?

    August 29, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. bonnie

    Hmmmm, whom am I going to believe? A career military man who devoted his life to public service or a war mongering opportunist who never served in the military, hadn't a clue of what waging war was about and completely ignored (along with Rice) the warnings of the outgoing Clinton admin that Bin Laden was their biggest threat. Powell has always shown nothing but integrity and grace under fire while Cheney operated happily through scare tactics and lying. Good for you, Powell! And THANK YOU for your courageous service~ signed, lifelong democrat.

    August 29, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. mg

    I'm sure Cheny's book will be a great piece of fiction.

    August 29, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. scooter

    Cheney's book is in keeping with the former Administrations seemingly unlimited ability at back stabbing. Just when you begin to forget why America got sick of these people, Dick Danger reminds us anew.

    August 29, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Iconoclast

    I will never rest until charges are brought against George "WMD" Bush and Cheney. I feel sorry for Powell because it was obvious at the time he was biting his tongue and trying to toe the administration line in spite of his doubts, only to regret his lapse in ethics later. He did the honorable thing and that was resign his position prior to the second term and I think history will be kinder to him because of this. As to Bush, Cheney and others I think history will rip their reputations to hell!

    August 29, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. twalk

    Cheney has not shut his mouth since he left office. He is on TV boohooing or his daughter is doing it for him. What a wimp. He did not serve in the military from all his deferments. One evil man, but the Repubs LOVE HIM!

    August 29, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Joe

    Cheney knew that the more sensational and outrageous he made his book, the more controversy there would be, and the more publicity it would get. And therefore–and this is the whole point–the more money he'd make. So, he's still the corrupt hypocritical opportunist he always was.

    August 29, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. willie thomas

    I always did love Cheney, now he has spoiled it! Do you need money that BAD, that you must deface Powell!

    August 29, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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