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. GaryB

    "Cheney said there would be "heads exploding all over Washington" when his book hits the shelves Tuesday."
    That's just Cheney's way of saying that he's going to invite a few of his Washington buddies on a hunting trip.

    August 29, 2011 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  2. Who Cares?

    I believe that the American people are now well aware of the "Bush" nightmare years. I have no further interest in these traitors. Let's move on to try to rebuild this country in spite of the white trash that have controlled it and ruined it for so many years.

    August 29, 2011 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  3. Thomas

    Cheney's only interest is and always was to make money for himself. The war in Iraq was predicated on the goal of securing ungodly large DOD contracts for Halliburton (in which he had a significant financial interest) and now he's looking to drum up interest in his book. The sooner he dies, the sooner the air will start to smell better.

    August 29, 2011 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  4. BOB

    to bad powell is not running for presdent he would win in a heart beat but congess is not ready for a man like him he would for sure roll a lot of heads

    August 29, 2011 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  5. truth decay

    dick cheney = war criminal. no 2 ways about it

    August 29, 2011 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  6. famousking

    dont let he bother you mr powell....just maybe his heart will attack him once more when he is campaigning his lies to the world and this time its for good

    August 29, 2011 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  7. rene

    Darth Cheney is an evil man!

    August 29, 2011 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  8. Willy Brown

    Only the guilty will get excited over this if mentioned in a book.

    August 29, 2011 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  9. Tony

    Character's like Dick Cheney are very dangerous to this country, people who refuses to learn from history, they think whatever they said, it must be final, they never knowledge their mistakes, quick to fault others, he must be a tea party member.

    August 29, 2011 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  10. Bart

    Powell by his statement confirmed Cheney statement that "heads exploding all over Washington". The statement: "If you break it, you own it," is not an opinion on the validity of the invasion, it is an opinion of who is to be blamed on the invasion. Powell comes across as the ultimate politician ensuring that he is never blamed for the actions of the administration. Losers make excuses, winners take responsibllity.

    August 29, 2011 05:17 am at 5:17 am |

    Adolph Cheney should be in jail not lying in books. Cheney wanted his war profits regardless of Powell's opinion and he still gets them.

    August 29, 2011 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  12. Mi Poo

    I'll take Colin Powell's word over that of "Dick" Cheney. I wish Powell had been more forceful, but I don't doubt his sanity. I can't say the same for "Dick". Cheney is a war criminal. He should be in prison on charges of treason against the U.S.A.

    August 29, 2011 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  13. Jim

    Mr. Cheney, how did those investments of yours fare during your term as Vice President? For one, I just can't imagine how you can sleep at night knowing that money you made was at the expense of our youth and the heartache of their families. What do you see when you look in the mirror?

    August 29, 2011 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  14. rexedie

    when will cheney disolve into the pile of smoldering rubble that he so richly deserves to be.....
    watch the hbo miniseries john adams..... if adams ....jefferson....and washington were alive today ....they would have taken bush cheney rumsfeld and rice out and shot them for high treason.... blatant disregard of the constitution.... misues of military forces for personal gain.... manipulation of information to falsely justify war lying in general...
    cheney and rumsfeld were part of the nixon administration.... 40 years of criminal activity perpetrated.... and he never even served in the military....but certainly didnt mind them dying for his delusions...

    August 29, 2011 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  15. enough of lies

    Just another political answer from an obama lover

    August 29, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  16. Terry - Indiana

    Dick Cheney is full of "dick cheney".

    August 29, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Never have put any stock in the mostly negative and condemning words of V.P. Cheney. Sure won't be buying his book to hear more of the same. Just be glad you didn't go hunting with him General Powell.

    August 29, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  18. Common Sense

    Compared to Cheney, Powell is an honorable man. BUT -and this is a big BUT- that ain't saying much.

    August 29, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  19. Jerry

    What else do you expect this hypocrite RINO to say. He was never part of the Bush team. Not because he was not wanted, but rather, because he did not want to be. He was in it only for the money and the prestige.

    Even the Black community was able to see through Powell's smoke and mirrors. A philosophy that was adopted by President NObama. And this philosophy did work for the president, either. However, again, the American populace is now able to see through the president's smoke and mirrors.

    No more lies. No more smoke and mirrors! America, REMEMBER 2012!

    August 29, 2011 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  20. Craig in Pa.

    Good for Powell....he would be, by far,
    the best candidate for a Republican run for the presidency....As a Democrat, I would vote for him...Cheney is a RAT and should be in Leavenworth for life...throw away the key. Way to go Colin...tell it like it was I

    August 29, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  21. Larry

    I trust Powell. Not a statement I can say about Cheney.

    August 29, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  22. Katie

    Powell is a very astute man, quietly firm and incredibly smart. I'd vote for him for president in a heart beat – HE is the best the GOP has to offer. If only they would concentrate on people like him instead of the mouthy mud wrestlers they have running now.

    August 29, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  23. El Kababa

    The difference between Dick Cheney and Colin Powell is that Dick Cheney is a lying Conservative and Colin Powell is not.

    August 29, 2011 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  24. Stephen Leonard

    Cheney and most... if not all of the Bush Cabinet need Red Cards issued in their names from the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. Heads will only roll in DC when people start getting charged with Racketeering.

    August 29, 2011 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  25. zb

    Cheney is the Bush/Republican/Tparty version of Darth Vadar but there is definitely a method to his madness.
    Powell's support for Obama was an important factor in giving Obama credibility during the 2008 election. Cheney's attack on Powell is intended to neutralize the effect during the 2012 election by undermining Powell's credibility. But as Powell points out, Cheney – along with the rest of the Republican/Tparty – as no regard for facts or truth.

    August 29, 2011 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
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