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. Chas in Iowa

    Darth will always have his own version of history to fall back on.
    I don't think Cheney can hide the fact that the only winner in Iraq was Haliburton and the Black Water bunch.

    August 29, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  2. MarineDad05

    I have a lot of respect for Mr. Powell. He was probably one of the few bright spots in that sordid administration. As for Chenney, the less said the better.

    I lost a lot of that respect for Mr. Powell, when he went before the UN (with Tennet, Rice, and others behind him), showed the world fake photos and lied about the weapons of mass-destruction in Iraq.

    He (more than any of the other – as people had a lot of respect for him) used the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a casus belli for the war.

    The next blunder he made (and we still suffer those consequences) is to align the US with Pakistan. He convinced us that Pakistani help (in Afghanistan) was imperative. Now, almost 10-11 years since then, Pakistan has been a huge drain on our resources – in both blood and treasure.

    There was a time, when I would have gladly voted Mr. Powell President, if he had run.

    August 29, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. Osti

    That's what you get for playing nice with the bullies, Colin.

    August 29, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. Bryan Andrews

    Dick Cheney is the most dangerous man in America he should be tried for war crimes and investigated for his companies contracts during the wars. He is a coward

    August 29, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Norm Autrey

    Heads exploding? Yeah, mine has been full of rage and contempt for this major bufoon Cheney for years. His utter contempt for the American people, Bush's bevy of lies (WMD, Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch, the Katrina debacle, etc.) will effect our country for years to come and not in a good way. I'm not given to rash judgements or name calling, but the best thing that could happen to Cheney instead of an exploding head would be an exploding heart. He is the closest thing that America has ever had to a full blown Nazi, oh and please take your loud mouth daughter with you. Thank you and good night.

    August 29, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. Paul

    I believe Power much more than Cheney. More lies and deceit by Dick.

    August 29, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. Paul

    Excuse me, Powell...not Power.

    August 29, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. helen

    dick cheney wasn't he who shot someone while in office? his book is one sided. he writes good things about people who agreed with bush and attacks people went against bush. it is a joke as far as i am concerned.

    August 29, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. Jon D

    Cheney should be in Guamtamano Prison & water-boarded himself & never to be heard from again. He's a war criminal!!

    August 29, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. cecilia

    the reason cheney takes cheap shots is because he is a cheap person. when you combine brains with lack of morals or ethics you have people like cheney – just wonder how much he made personally because of the war. at least bush was just dumb –
    these fools are not even close to being in the same league as Mr. Powell –

    August 29, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  11. Steve, New York City

    Dick Cheney is a sleazebag, a liar and a sadist. He and his neo-con buddies hate government (and were all too delighted to help bankrupt it, sending us into unnecessary wars and killng thousands of "infidels" in Iraq and elsewhere, in the process).

    Maybe Cheney can take Perry, Palin, Bachmann, Rep Kanter, Rep Ryan, Glen Beck, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rush Limbaugh and Rep Wilson on an extended hunting trip. And don't forget to bring some extra drugs for Rush (in case he has withdrawal symptoms along the way).

    August 29, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Just like his lying, arrogant, tragically ineffective sidekick Rumsfeld, Cheney is going out with a predictable blast of hubris. Never wrong about anything, always all-knowing and wise, always looking to shift blame to others. This ghoulish, selfish profiteer even shot in his own friend in the face in a hunting accident, then watched his friend apologize for getting shot. In the eyes of the public, Powell (A REAL SOLDIER) will always have 10 times the credibility of Cheney (A DRAFT-DODGING SYMBOL of PURE GREED). Somewhere in Cheney's sad, pathetic existence, he lost control of his moral compass and became a bitter man to the core. History will record him ultimately as a colossal failure who helped mismanage a disastrous war that fed a disastrous economic collapse and left deep scars on so many American families that will last for decades. He will always be the smirking charlatan who left incredible damage in his wake while enriching himself and his cronies. I just wish General Powell had helped to end the war by exposing the corruption of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld early on, instead of holding his tongue publicly about their cynical war game. In the end, there is a reason Powell's approval rating has hovered in the 80s, while Cheney's sank nearly to single digits. Even distracted, scared Americans get the big stuff right. Mr. Cheney, when that heart FINALLY gives out for good, may you NEVER REST IN PEACE.

    August 29, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. SCAtheist

    Dick Chaney is insane of course

    August 29, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  14. michael espinoza

    I think I'll take the word of a general who has served his coutry with honor and during wartime then the misguided and absent minded opinions of a 5 deferment coward like cheney!

    August 29, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  15. Dave

    I think Dick Chany was a great vice president,and loyal to the president.Just look at how stupid our current vice president is.

    August 29, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. nagrom

    Powell for President!!! The only Republican and man I could ever really trust. He is sorely missed. He is an inspiration and an icon. Too bad there weren't more Republicans and Democrats fashioned after him. Honesty and integrity.

    August 29, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. timothy flanigan

    general powell you were the only person in the bush administration that had any dignity and class.thank you for the many years on services to our country.

    August 29, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  18. proudmemberofglobalzero

    I saw his interview this morning and I find your headline out of line. He calmly answered every question that was posed to him. He did not read the book but did hear from commentators what was said about him. All he did was tell his side in a calm demeanor.

    August 29, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  19. Bill

    I think President Bush put to much faith in Cheney and Rumsfield related to foreign policy and war and embarrassed Colon Powell by not following his advice and leadership. Cheney and Rumsfield was thinking of nothing more than making a lot of money for the defence industry corporations, especially those that they had stock in. I think Bush was misled by the CIA and the likes of Cheney and Rumsfield. I would not purchase Cheney's book or elect him for any further part in government. I always thought the best person for President in 2008 would be Colin Powell and believe 2012 could be his time to run again. The republican machine does not have a chance in hell without him. I see the same idiots who ran against Obama and the result will be the same. McCain should have talked Colin Powell into being VP and they would have won by a landslide. Now the GOP is nothing, but corporate america and not for any form of democracy moderate or socialist.

    August 29, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  20. scmoopy schmoops

    Powell should have run for president. He was the smartest of that motley crew...smart to get out after 4 years.

    August 29, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  21. MiddleOfTheRoad

    "If you break it, you own it,".................Oh, how true.

    August 29, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. TBAKER

    Same old dick n the bush tactics they will never own up too putting us in a war that did not need to happen! When Bush first took office he had the country going in the right direction but after 9/11 he put on his cowboy hat and boots and six shooters and went on rampage, he should have kept his focus on the prize (bin laden) not sending us into a mess in iraq saddam days were numbered he was a easy target we could have got to him whenever we pleased, but him and old dickey saw dollars signs and we went to war for a dollar not for the safety of our country! Gen. Powell knew this but he kept his loyalty to his president and backed him up if anybody needs to write a book it should be Gen. Powell it would be a best seller!

    August 29, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. commonsense

    Powell anytime over the Dick.

    August 29, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  24. Sequoia

    Ummm, doesn't Dick Cheney realize he's hated by the entire nation and he should keep a low profile since he's a war criminal who should be prosecuted? It's kind of good when he pops up, though. It reminds Americans of what Republicans are really like.

    August 29, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Erik

    Dick Cheney is Satan and W is his assistant.

    August 29, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
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