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. Squigman

    Someday God willing, Cheney, will take his last breath. When this occurs it would not be a surprise to see the devil himself, pop out of the ground, and claim he was never going back down til Cheney was evicted. It's doubtful even Satin would want to reside in the same place as Cheney.

    August 28, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  2. mommazona

    Sounds like Cheney is a bitter, disgruntled old man. Perhaps he should take a long hard look in a mirror and reflect on his role in the Bush administration and criticize that before going after others.

    August 28, 2011 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    Oops, that's reign of terror.

    August 28, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. ObamaCareS

    Powell sounds like a reasonable man, Cheeny souds like an old sour coot. He, Bush, and Rice (3 stoogees) did more to hurt America than anyone else.

    August 29, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  5. Joshua Ludd

    Just more backbiting from the utterly failed Bush administration... and more whining by Powell about how terrible those he served were, while he never once failed to do as he was told no matter what the cost to the country or the world. He helped voer up My Lai and then he helped lie us into war with Iraq.

    August 29, 2011 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. Rob in MO

    Cheney should be in prison.

    August 29, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  7. 12-21-12

    Come on Colin...Cheney wants to sell his book!

    August 29, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  8. Marlowe Ryan

    Who really cares what Dick Cheney really has to say. He should be arrested, taken into custody, jailed and tried at the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Can't he just gracefully disappear?

    August 29, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. Eric

    Cheney is a megalomaniac with little consciousness grounded in fact. This is definately a man who is the center of the universe in his own mind and thinks it all revolves around him. The book is nothing new...other then now his lies are in a book he hopes will make him money. Before his efforts were for the power to profit from government manipulation. How can there be so many fools so willing to buy this crap.

    August 29, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. J.V.hodgson

    Yet another example of how vitriol and inciviltiy sells and grabs sound biting headlines and the morals, stature and integrity of the whole American political system continues to sink even further in the reasonable estimation of the vox populi.
    They are all now at best behaving, talking and acting like Junior school first graders, and in some cases even thats a stretch.

    August 29, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. NobodySpecial

    Looks like "Godfather" Cheney is resentful to Powell for telling the truth. Powell didn't like the strings that Cheney was using on Bush so he blasts him in the biography. Go figure. First!

    August 29, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  12. jt35

    No surprises here. Cheney is a chicken hawk blowhard and Powell continues to be as loyal to Bush as he can. True soldier to the end. If only he had resigned in protest prior to the war.

    August 29, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. Terry in Iowa

    One need only look at the character of the messenger. 1) A decorated general who consistently distinguished himself throughout the years he served his country in uniform. 2) A professional bureaucrat (and coward) who avoided military service and who has been proven wrong on all counts of foreign policy and diplomacy.

    August 29, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. just checking

    I would never believe anything Dick unethical Cheney had to say.....He should be tried for war crimes, lock him up and throw away the key....

    August 29, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  15. Mke H.

    The more I learn about Colin Powell the more I'm convinced he was the only part of the Bush circle who wasn't corrupt. Dick Cheney, no doubt, is simply an evil man.

    August 29, 2011 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  16. mhayslip

    The only politician, next to Ronald Reagan, whom I have ever respected. Colin Powell is an honorable man who put his political neck on the line pushing the GWB case for the invasion of Iraq utilizing faulty intelligence that WMDs existed, and were in the control of Saddam Hussein. It is my opinion that General Powell was used to make the case for war as he is/was well-respected for his service and leadership to the nation. I would vote for him as the Republican nominee for President.

    August 29, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  17. FM

    Cheney has lost credibility. Is he doing this in order to get money from the sale of his book? Or is the money he gets from Oil Companies not enough?? What an irresponsible person! He would not been tapped as VP at the first place. He brings shame to the nation.

    August 29, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. Bob

    If I want the opinion of Richard Cheney, I'll take-up flyfishing. If I want to know anything else, he's just not the guy.

    August 29, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. Michael

    Worst eight years in American history.

    August 29, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. MikeH

    Dick Cheney is a war criminal, a war profiteer, and committed treason by authorizing the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent to get back at her husband. Dick Cheney should be prosecuted for his crimes.

    Colin Powel was the loyal stooge used by Cheney to sell Cheney's lies and crimes.

    August 29, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  21. mone

    "all way's same ol' same ol' , with mr. defirment. C.y.a.. Is there any one subject, or international inccedent , that he has been right in his judgement or rhetoric about. Please submit it. remember who is the General ,& who is Mr. defirment

    August 29, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  22. JJ

    "...it was not a smoothly functioning team at that point." Heh. No kiddin'. GWB's cabinet wasn't ever a 'team.' It was a collection of enormous egos conflicting in close proximity.

    August 29, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  23. surfninja

    If only the Lord would take Dick Cheney away to the eternal reward he so richly deserves. First he sends 4000 American soldiers to their death in Iraq in a failed effort to steal oil fields. Now he trashes his friends and associates in an attempt to sell his big book of lies.

    "Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre 

    August 29, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  24. Andrew

    "Cheney said there would be "heads exploding all over Washington" "

    I'm not even going to specify the point in which this is ironic.

    August 29, 2011 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Is Powell so naive to expect better from someone like Cheney who is without honor, character, or moral conscience?

    August 29, 2011 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
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