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. Dennis B.

    One of the reasons I voted for George Bush was the likelyhood that Colin Powell would be Secretary of State and that our foreign policy would be in good hands. Unfortunately Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld elbowed Colin Powell aside and the results were terrible. Cheney has become a pathetic figure and should be remembered as one of our worst public officials.

    August 29, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. RedMan

    A voice of reason within that administration was difficult to find. Thank you General Powell for showing us that for some, being a human being was at least as important as being a Republican.
    Mr. Cheney you are as vile as your are despicable. May you live the rest of your years in" true" service of the very Americans you continue to con and deceive for your personal gain.

    August 29, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Steve Cohn

    dick c. disregarded the Constitution when he worked for tricky dick nixon and he did it for george bush. I put their names in lower case that's what they are.

    August 29, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  4. Eric

    Well these cheap shots are just what everyone expected. Cheney never did really like Powell and in the first place

    August 29, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  5. Florida Joe

    I find it hard to believe that Darth Vader would lie.....not like he did about Iraq.........Anything to sell books huh Darth?

    August 29, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  6. annie s

    If there is evil in the world, Dick Cheney personifies it. What a cold, frightening man.

    August 29, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  7. jayindenver

    You can count the number of times Dick Cheney has been right about anything on no fingers. Should we give him the benefit of the doubt on this one? Sure, let's all give him one finger!

    August 29, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |

    Cheney, simply put, is a war criminal as are bush/rumsfeld/wolfowitz/rice. They belong on trial at the Hague.

    August 29, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Larry

    The first to point the finger of blame is always the one at fault. Dick Cheney and George Bush are in fear their dirty deeds will be revealed. Cheney is trying to blame others first in order to make the others seem like they are being vindictive!

    August 29, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. RdclCntrst

    GEN Powell is a war hero. Slandering him and his service is a bad move for someone who claims to be a patriot...although, Mr. Cheney never claimed to love the troops. That would kind of be like a carpenter praising his hammer. Mr. Cheney, it is clear, only ever saw the American military as a tool by which to acheive his political ends; the individual soldiers always seemed meaningless to him. At least Pres. Bush made a show of caring for the troops.

    August 29, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    With all the money he has gotten from Halliburton, you'd think that Cheney wouldn't make "cheap" shots. I guess this just proves that an angry evil man is never done being evil.
    I would have thought that a Gay daughter might give him some metaphysical heart, but it looks more like he took hers.

    At a time in his life when he should be looking to polish his image, he continues to tarnish it.

    August 29, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Cynic

    I have a lot of respect for Colin Powell. He was a loyal Secretary of State to George Bush, and this hurt his credibility with those outside the administration, including me. I never did buy our rationale for invading Iraq, but Powell, like the good soldier he is, supported the president's position to his own disadvantage. Cheney, on the other hand.........

    August 29, 2011 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  13. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban

    If you watch the movie "W" it's obvious and plain to see that Dick and Gen. Powell didn't see eye to eye on most things. The war criminal Cheney doesn't understand the meaning of diplomacy. He's a war junkie.

    August 29, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  14. Weemees

    Powell is 100 times the man Cheney is. Cheap shot is right.

    August 29, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. Emmy Skaddittle

    cheney should be in jail.

    August 29, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. albatross

    bring Cheney, rumsfeld & Jullinai to justice for killing 3000 americans on 9/11. building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition. who wired that building?

    August 29, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. George

    Colin Powell would have made a great president. He is one of the most intelligent men in public service.

    August 29, 2011 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  18. Maxine

    You go Colin! Those of us with functioning brains know that you were the only voice of reason crying in the wilderness that was the Bush/Cheney presidency and we appreciate the fact that you tried. Your only mistake was in not realizing that the twin lures of power and the opportunity to massively enrich corporate pals was too much for reason to overcome. You are the one who retains his dignity...........not the evil, power-mad troll who spent eight years slithering around the bowels of Washington spitting lies and hate and sowing discord and mistrust in the wake of his slime trail. Thank you for your service sir. You are so much more than your cirtics.

    August 29, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  19. Michael - Portage

    Gen. Powell was a beakon of light in that whole Bush/Cheney abyss. Cheney is just a mean, self-centered old man....and a loser to boot.

    August 29, 2011 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  20. Byrd

    We'd all have been better off had Powell blasted Cheney while still in office. On the other hand, Powell willingly delivered the United Nations speech knowing full well that it was complete rubbish and lies. I see the same lack of integrity still exists within Powell. He had none when I served under him on the Joint Staff and he has none now.

    August 29, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  21. keith

    Cheney was always that loose cannon, and in my opinion, he is one of those people that NOTHING is his fault, that he held all this power before him and he got his way and if he didn't there would be hell to pay. I think he was one of the chief reasons we went into Iraq when we shouldn't have, because being the hawk that he is, he knew it would benefit him on the backend with all that money going to Halyburton for rich govt contracts that would fill his pockets until the day he died.....he's nothing but a worthless piece of pond scum

    August 29, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  22. Mike

    Dick Cheney was approrpiately named.

    August 29, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  23. BigJim

    Powell, the only one i trusted among GWB advisors

    August 29, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  24. Cigarman

    Cheney is a slime bag that deserves to be tried in the Hague, along with Bush, and his entire cabinet. Rove is another one who belongs in prison. Bush cant even go outside the United States, or he WILL be arrested and tried for war crimes. Look at our current Rebublican wannabe presidents, I personnaly am ashamed of all of them, they are just pitiful. What is happening to the United States with all of the Scumbags running for office? The United States is much better than what the Republicans have to offer.

    August 29, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  25. Bubba

    Cheney was the Worst President Ever. I can't even write his first name here without being censored. He got rich and made us all poor.

    August 29, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
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