Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'
August 28th, 2011
04:42 PM ET
10 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. me

    I always had the upmost respect for Colin Powell. Very smart man who was surrounded by a group of individuals set to carry out their own agenda no matter what was in their way and now we all have to pay for it....

    August 28, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. RINO Bil

    When history reviews the administration of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney won't even be regarded as a "little man."

    August 28, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. bret

    Dick Cheyney, belongs in "Jail" Not writing comic books??? End of story.

    August 28, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. The Greedy Old Pigs have evil in their heart!

    Cheney did more damage with his "deficits don't matter" and his neocon rule the world garbage than virtually any other president or vice-president in recent history. He should be in jail for the rest of his life.

    August 28, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Kate in NJ

    I'll take Powell's word over Cheney anytime – and I won't pay a nickel for Cheney's book either. He has done enough damage to this nation.

    August 28, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. thomas

    Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and General Shinseki need to write a book on how the country was deceived by such neocons as Dick Cheney , Paul Dundes Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld !

    The book should be titled " NEVER AGAIN " how to wast three trillion dollars and countless lives !

    August 28, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. diridi

    there should not be any civil in politics, because these are the thugs, who messed. All Criminal....o.k, o.k,

    August 28, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Tiredofcorruption

    Don't understand why both Cheney and Powell along with former Pres. G. Bush haven't all been indicted for lying to Congress and the American people. Unlike like that new Governor in Florida they can't take the Fifth Amendment.

    August 28, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Henry

    For some reason I trust Gen. Powell a bit more than Cheney the fool. To see it differently would mean that you are a right wing ideologue with no thought rooted in reality. Cheney is just a war monger. Truly a shame that we have people like Cheney left but, on reflection, that is the Republican party of today. Not the party I called home for many years.

    August 28, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Naushad Shafkat

    Compared to Cheney, Powell is an angel. No one would take notice of Cheney's book otherwise, so he has to stoop to his actual level. Cheney has to answer for the blood of many innocents both at home and abroad. Blaming others will not absolve him.

    August 28, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Ken in NC

    Let me understand this. I am tasked with accepting the opinion of former Secretary of State Colin Powell or former Vice President Dick Cheney. In other words I am to consider the opinion of a man that rose to the rank of General in the US Army or the opinion of a man that chose to secure deferments from serving in the military and further shot a friend in the face with a shot gun. Such hard decisions must take time. OK I have taken time and I must come down on the side of Retired General Colin Powell.

    August 28, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Retired Army in San Antonio

    .....and I'd sooner believe Powell's version than Cheney's......

    August 28, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. chillinNsc

    And why would anyone believe anything dick cheney has to say?

    August 28, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Max

    Powell is just as much murderer as Bush and all the rest of them.
    He should be tried, convicted and put to death for all the murders he is responsible for.

    August 28, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. pacchardon

    I'd believe Powell over Cheney any day.

    August 28, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. LynD

    I would take Powell's word over anything coming out of Cheney's mouth any day.

    August 28, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. Bob Texas

    Why would anyone in their right mind want these people to be in charge of our Country. What has the GOP got to offer but lies and complaints. If they are so smart how did we get into this mess. They ran our Country for 8 years and most of that time they were the majority. Lest we FORGET

    August 28, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. TripleA

    Powell deserves what he’s getting from the likes of Cheney. If you play with devils, you should expect to get burned.

    August 28, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. lloyd roberts

    Only decent, honorable man in that entire 8 year catastrophe

    August 28, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. sara

    And Blast him he did! What kind of "statesmen" would do this, let along a former "vice president. He should be in Jail writing forgiveness notes

    August 28, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Laurielee

    Since we all know that it was Cheney running the white house during the failed GWB's presidency, he is now trying to point fingers and play the blame game. Go Figure. Crawl back under the rock that you just came out of, Dick, because nobody wants to hear what you have to say.

    August 28, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. DeeWA2011

    I CANNOT STAND CHENEY. Arrogant IDIOT! Got rich off the war... I wondered how long it would take before they came out of the woodwork. I like Colin Powell, although going w/the Republicans was pretty shocking. THEN backing Obama... WHAT? NOTHING could be worse than Cheney & Rove.

    August 28, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. ED FL

    What do you expect from a GOP RIGHT WING, DRAFT DODGING, COWARDLY POLITICIAN like Cheney. Typical position is to send other peoples kids off to be killed in wars. This guy is the KING of SLIME, always was and will continue to be until he dissapears from this world. Even George bush looks competent along side this IDIOT.

    August 28, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. hannah

    The Iraq war is probably the biggest debacle ever for the United States and Powell was one of the people who supported the war and lied about the weapons that Saddam had. The cost of the war in lives and money to both the US and Iraq is the reason we are in the trouble we are today.

    August 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Flint Rock

    Its proper to categorize Cheney as a sub-satient member of the animal kingdom. However, in terms of accurate nomenclature its also accurate to describe Powell as a "wus". The main difference is that Powell had so much more to offer and Cheney had nothing.

    August 28, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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