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. sqeptiq

    So, this is the behavior we get when "the adults are in control"???

    August 28, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    Cheney was and is full of crap. He knew full well that the so called "evidence" of Iraq possessing WMD's was at best little more than a bunch of hype intentionally created to garner support for an invasion that Bush had planned even before he was elected to the Presidency. He knew the evidence was fabricated 3 months before the invasion, and so did Bush.

    August 28, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  3. carol sullivan

    no wonder you have heart problems dick i don't know how you sleep at night thinking about the war that you started i know you don't have a living relative in the war that you started i know that you have alot of friends that own the weapons and war suppLY companies FATSO sleep well carol sullivan

    August 28, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  4. John Dobyns

    Let's see, who do I believe? General Powell or Dick Cheney? General Powell has always served his nation in an honorable and outstanding way. Dick Cheney, Mr. Cheney has alway been a power hungry, lying sack of excrement. I think I'll believe Gen. Powell.

    August 28, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. Atul Chaudhary

    Powell didn't have spine then and even now. Chenny was using President Bush for his ignorant behavior on many issues. Every Bush aide has used him as an escape goat to promote their books and causes. Worst is Obama and his cabinet who are fooling every one. Granted that the President cannot be expert in every area but Pres Obama has no experience whatsoever. Liberals have so much fixation on their party that they will sell their country even though there is a candidate who is 100 times better candidate than Pres Obama.

    August 28, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. lgny

    One of the great tragedies of the Bush administration remains how they sold Powell down the river in his presentation to the UN. He is a great general with far more integrity than Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    August 28, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. alesia miles

    Now he is talking and even wrote a book. HE IS BRAGGING FOR MAKING A 4STAR GENERAL RESIGN. For someone that took 5 or 6 deferments so that he would not fight a war of his generation, he has his nerves.HE SHOULD BE CHARGED FOR WAR CRIMES.

    August 28, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. Randy

    Colin Powell is a RINO.

    August 28, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. James

    The Truth Hurts doesn't it Powell–About time someone called your hand !!

    August 28, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Whenever you feel that this country is in turmoil and that the economy is in a spin, NEVER forget who brought us there: Bush and Cheney! They artificially inflated the economy with artificially low interest rates and subsidies to unprofitable enterprises and banks, they ballooned our deficits and debt with an unnecessary war in Iraq that still weighs us down, they pushed political discourse to such uncivil extremes that Americans have taken increasingly to yelling and physical violence, (see the increase in hate crimes throughout the past decade) they have repressed and increased the number of poor people while fattening the pockets of their corporate buddies who saved their jobs by laying off thousands upon thousands of hard-working people, and they ruined American education to the level that teachers are not allowed to teach but rather are threatened to teach their students only to take tests without thinking, further falling behind the rest of the world. ALL of these are Bush and Cheney's doing. THIS is what republican leadership will bring you!

    August 28, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. leeroz

    I believe that General Powell meant well. I believe that he damaged his honor and reputation as a result of his association with creeps like bush, cheney, and rumsfeld. Indeed, Powell, at one time, would have had an excellent chance to have been the first Black President of the US. My opinion of cheney is that he was/is deranged, and he should be writing his memoir from a prison cell......in chains. He lied us into winless wars, and cost us thousands of US lives. His legacy is SHAME !!!

    August 28, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. Tanbiker2

    Bravo once again to Colin Powell. He was virtually the only person in the entire GWBush administration who showed some integrity and courage. The rest of little George's cabinet were all craven swine, and remain so today.

    August 28, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. bb

    Cheney must hate this country to the core. I can't even imagine how much this man hates. Sad that we ever had to deal with him that close to the presidency. That close to every day decisions that effected our nation for 8 long years. He was no where near worthy of the job.

    August 28, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Jeri

    I would believe Colin Powell over Dick Cheney any day. Cheap shots are for those who have something to hide.

    August 28, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  15. 66Biker

    When I was a kid my Mother always told me "You are the company you keep. If you hang around with losers,you will be labeled a loser." Well, Mr. Powell, it's too late now. You're already labeled a loser.

    August 28, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  16. Keith

    So sorry Darth Cheney, I'll go with Powell's comments. Cheney has no honor.

    August 28, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. Danny Spencer

    I would take Powell's word over Cheney's any day. Cheney has NO Honor never have, never will. Powell lived his life with honor.

    August 28, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. Ward

    Powell is the best person the Republicans could have ever had as a presidential candidate. It is a downright shame that he never was, because he could have beat Obama to the historical first. He is a man of character, which always made me wonder why he agreed to work with Bush and Cheney. I'm glad he resigned after the first term so as not to further tarnish his great career. Cheney, on the other hand, is just a little boob!

    August 28, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Anyone with half a brain realizes that Dick Cheney was one of the worst vice presidents to ever serve. Unfortunately, he served under the most unqualified president to ever serve, and wielded far too much influence over him. The Bush administration failed miserably, due to a multitude of bad decisions. One was their attempt to further implement the proven bad policies of Phil Gramm, the senator that led the Reagan administration into the disaterous "VooDoo Economics" of the 80's. I wonder if the voters will ever pay attention to factual history and not Fox Phoney News.

    August 28, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  20. waltr6

    Well, someone screwed up big time, We went to war when there were no weapons of mass destruction, costing American lives. It is inconceivable, and the 9/11 hijackers were not even from Iraq, but Saudia Arabia. Enough blame to go around in the Bush admin. as one of the biggest blunders in American History.

    August 28, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. John

    Dick, where's all that cheap oil from Iraq that's going to pay for the war. That's what you need to right a book about. No wait write a book about how you transfered the billions of tax dollars to Halliburton and its subsidiaries or how you created a private army of Blackwater killers with tax payer dollars. Shame on you and anyone that buys your book.

    August 28, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  22. Avg_American

    How are Bachman, Perry & Trump considered good Republican candidates for this country?

    August 28, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. Brett

    I actually appreciate Mr. Powell and Mr. Cheney's candid remarks. Its just 6 years too late, sure its not good PR but when you're running the executive branch of the US govt and things aren't being run efficiently, then the American people have the right to know. Instead we got "If you're not with us, you're against us" and it doesn't sound many were with us even in the Bush white house.

    August 28, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  24. Withabeat

    What does Cheney say about manipulating the results of the intelligence community, to produce a predetermined decision to go to war in Iraq? And how does Powell feel about standing in front of the United Nations with those bogus results, selling spin instead of substance?

    August 28, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  25. Steve K

    If the Republican Party still had nominees like Colin Powell and Robert Gates, this Independent voter might take them seriously. These are people who put their country above their party.

    August 28, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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