Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'
August 28th, 2011
04:42 PM ET
12 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. Patricia D

    I don't trust either of them. And I don't think Powell is that smart. He chose to align himself with the loser Bush, and side with him on so many questionable issues. Nope. Powell is no saint, and no one to look up to in my book. And Cheney isn't even on the map, so who's Cheney?

    August 29, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Gloria

    I have always had, and still do, the utmost respect for Gen. Colin Powell. Yes, he was a part of the administration, but he knew he wanted out before the first term was even finished. He was used, because of his credibility, by the Bush administration, in my opinion.

    I believe General Powell would make a wonderful president, but I'm sure he doesn't want to put himself or his family through those rigors after having served his country so well in so many ways.

    August 29, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Michael

    CP was a quasi-reluctant participant in the Bush/Cheney/WMD scam killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people – adding trillions to the national debt. Bush/Cheney marched him and a story before the UN – hoping his credibility might persuade fence sitters. It is utterly inconceivable that US intelligence thought Iraq had WMD. There is a profound and sinister disconnect between reality and what the US government spoon feeds the sheeple – and its agent around the globe. As for Cheney – history and facts speak loudly for themselves.

    August 29, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Barry G

    I could not say it any better than all of the previous comments. Cheney should be jailed for his crimes to society and the world. Maybe now everyone who "knocks" the current president will give him some slack for trying to correct the corruption that Cheney and Bush brought us during their eight years in office, which we will live with for the next 50 years!

    August 29, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. mack Johnson

    Cheney has collected a tax payer funded government check for virtually his entire life and has no credible accomplishments while serving in the Congress or several high level political appointed positions. I'm still looking for something positive for which he can claim credit. He of course used his tax payer ride to become a filthy rich man by becoming the CEO of Halliburton which later paved the way for Halliburton and other private firms to rob the US Treasury. He personified deficit spending for which his political cronies are now riling against. Mr. Cheney is a self-serving despicable person who is looking for ways to create and burnish a reputation that does not exist. If he didn't take cheap shots to stir up attention what would he write about?

    August 29, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. bobby

    Not surprised that Cheney lies in his book. Once a liar always a liar. President Obama really has made him look like an idiot. I strongly believe that we could have avoided so many lost lives in Iraq and Afghanistan without Cheney's influence on the Bush Administration. Thank God we have a President that really cares about the lives of our soldiers!

    August 29, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. David

    Much of the mess we are experiencing today was created by this sorry excuse of a human being. We should never forget his roots were in the Nixon administration. We must never ignore our history again.

    August 29, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Maryellen

    Cheney is one of the most horrible people on this earth, he is digusting! Don't buy the book, he's made enough money with his criminal activities.

    August 29, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Tim

    Powell is not forthcoming. He didn't come clean on the Armitage outing of Plame, yet claims he was. And he sat an listened to Bush being questioned on who outed Plame with the full knowledge that it was Armitage. He's not loyal. He's not genuine.

    August 29, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Jaywing

    Mr. Powell has shown himself to be a gentleman and a reasonsible human being. If he's made mistakes, he's owned up to them. Cheney, on the other hand, is neither, and deserves no less than to be either ignored or, better yet, forgotten.

    August 29, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. tdave

    Cheney isn't qualified to carry Gen. Powells' Ranger tabs. W allowed the neoCon axis of Cheney and Rumsfeld to have their way with foreign policy and Gen Powell was a victim of this like he rest of us. "George W Bus – a heartbeat away from the presidency"

    August 29, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. PassingThru

    I didn't believe Dick then. I still do not believe him now. No way I'm buying this book. What a waste of money. Just another avenue where he can lie.

    August 29, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. CW0WW

    Buyers Remorse. Powell is complicit along with the rest.

    August 29, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. MikeB

    Another criticism of Powell by Cheney: He did a lousy version of Marty Robbins' hit "El Paso."

    August 29, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Why isn't THIS man running for President?
    Because Dick Cheney is getting up there in years and has a few health issues but I agree 100% that he would make a great President. Much better than Obama.

    August 29, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Joe down the Street

    Powell is a first class representative of this country and its people. Cheney broke constitutional law, congressional agreements, ethical (Halliburton) and moral (Enron, Iraq) boundaries. He lives in his own made-up world where its rules and regs don't apply to him. We would all be better off if he were to work for some of that Halliburton money he earned (with government contracts) as a war consultant in Iraq or Afghanistan on the front lines alongside many of the great young men he sent to fight his fictitiously based war.

    August 29, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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