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. GI Joe

    Somebody please disconnect Shooter's battery charger.

    August 29, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. George

    Cheney is an angry, rotted old corpse being kept alive artificially, while the rest of us can barely afford basic health care. It just goes to show that the very wealthy are the only ones who matter in the US, even if they are vile and mean and hateful.

    August 29, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. mcore

    Just like Cheney to try and re-write history. Fortunately, most Americans remember quite well that it was Cheney – not Powell – who was chomping at the bit to start a war and play god in Iraq. And he's a liar, a deceiver and con artist of the first magnitude. Cheney will go down in history as one of the most corrupt vice presidents this nation has ever seen. And that's saying something because we've had quite a few that fit that bill.

    August 29, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And Mr. Cheney and many of his colleagues did not prepare for what happened after the fall of Baghdad."

    No debating the logic of Mr. Powell's statement. He's right on the mark, and 100% accurate.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    "By the end of the first term, Bush's Cabinet "was not functioning as a team," Powell acknowledged."

    Can't argue with that either, Mr. Powell.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I suspect the only thing worse for Dick Cheney than becoming a shell of the man he once was physically is the knowledge that he is also fast fading into political obscurity as well. Mr. Powell will have so many more years than Cheney to argue, to lecture, to bring forth his own truth. That can't sit well with Cheney, knowing that this book of his will be his own last self serving trumpet blast here on earth.

    August 29, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Lolo

    These republicans definitely have selective memory. Powwell tried to tell the idiots not to go to war with Iraq. Cheney did not want to hear it and decided to go ahead with the plan so that Blackwater could get a piece of the action. I tell you America has been so dumbed down we may never get out of this mess the Bush Administration caused. Look at how their followers ae acting. They are such ignorant fools. Their only agenda is to get the black man out of the white house no matter what it takes. Nothing but hypocrites, with nothing to add to solve Americas problems.

    August 29, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |

    GEN Powell did not knowingly lie to congress. He went before them with the best information he had. I agree that there was corruption but not with GEN Powell.

    August 29, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. mk045

    For those that want to indict Powell alongside Cheney and the neocons, I simply ask that they think for a minute how things would have been different if Powell had not been there.

    Like Cincinnatus, Powell *should* be president because a) he is as qualified as anybody could be, b) is very well regarded (except by Dick Cheney, of course), and c) he does not want it. Put down the plow, General; your country needs you.

    August 29, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. HockeyMinny

    All I can say is that "hell is going to be crowded".

    August 29, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. ART

    Dick Cheney is a festering boil on the butt of humanity, next to Osama Bin Laden he is the only person that I would dance a jig if I heard he was gone

    August 29, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Jorge A Ayad

    Sorry to say "but" Mr Collin Powell is as guilty as Dick Cheney and that ignorant expresident Bush that at this moment is in confidment in his own jail -TEXAS

    August 29, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Lee

    Powell is a good man but if he feels the need to protest this much he knows he is in the wrong. I would take Cheney as President any time. He makes more sense than any of the fools out there now. And by the way remember all the baloney were heard about Bush/Cheney colluding with the oil companies to keep prices high. I am in the oil business and have made more money under Obama's idiotic energy policies than I ever made under Bush.

    August 29, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Luke Brown

    Cheney is the last person anyone should believe about anything. I look forward to NOT reading this book.

    August 29, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. mjmullinii

    And why shouldn't he, speaking of Powell to Cheney. Colin Powell has more military experience in his memoirs alone than Cheney has in all his years safe and sound as a professional politician in the United States.

    August 29, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. SaintM

    Dick Cheney has no heart–literally. That is the pay back for his wreckless, wanton behaviour and lack of respect for human life. He won't survive a transplant because age would be a factor–he probalby would not survive the surgery.
    I would much rather see him get his day in court while he is alive, but that's likely not going to happen, so I will have to be satisfied in knowing that the ultimate judge will decide his everlasting fate. He is living on borrowed time and soon he will find himself hanging upside down over a lake of fire in hell.

    August 29, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. M-AZ Independent

    Powell doesn't even really have to dignify Cheney's trashy form of yellow journalism, and as a side note, Cheney must have one of hell of heart specialist...I guess that is what tax payer funded health care can do for a lying former VP.

    August 29, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. DIANA

    Sadly for Powell, he's discovered what a lying snake Cheney is. They made a smart man look like a fool to the country.

    August 29, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. ana

    Oh now I understand why Cheney said heads will explode, he told so many lies in book that whoever read their head will explode for sure.

    August 29, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. ricnaustin

    Cheney is a self-centered. maniacal, war-time criminal. He should be put before a jury and sentenced to prison for the horrific havoc he created for us. I personally blame him for what happened during the Bush Administration. Cheney was in charge, not Bush, and it was very apparent. His company (Haliburton) got one of the largest, if not largest contract for the Iraqi War; that in itself show what he's all about. Cheney is DISGUSTING, desipicable, and makes me want to spit everytime I see his name or or face.

    I watched his interview and he was just as bad in the interview as he was when in office. What a snake!. Many trees wasted for his printed nonsense!

    I don't like disliking anybody, I know GWB's job was not easy, but Cheney really really brings the ugly out of me!

    August 29, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. lmk

    Powell for President.

    August 29, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. dc

    Gen. Colin Powell is one of the few high-profile public figures one can truly look to as a role model. His entire career was truly about service and honor. He was the one major player in that administration who was against the invasion of Iraq and had the fortitude to tell Bush so. This is just more of the same from Cheney- he's right, and everyone else who dares to disagree with him is wrong. Cheney is the worst VP since Hannibal Hamlin, the most dangerous man in America, and an unrepentant war profiteer.

    August 29, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. dc

    As others have noted. Colin Powell would have my vote for President in a heartbeat if he ran. He won't though, which is why he should.

    August 29, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Michael

    Those on this blog stating Powell should be tried (and some say executed) for War Crimes have never served nor do they understand the concept of Chain of Command. Powell told Dubya that "if you berak it, you own it" (referring to the Iraq war, which Powell knew was based on bogus reasoning) while Cheney, Rummy, et al, were pushing for the invasion. Yes, Powell went before the UN to explain the Bush Administration's views but that was FOLLOWING ORDERS, regardless of what Powell thought personally. Powell stated his reservations at the time and made his point but to counter the CIC in public is just not done, at least to the honorable. Serve some time in the military, people, and understand the concepts of honor, integrity, discipline ...

    August 29, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. keeth

    Of course Cheney is rewriting history. He was doing that even while in office, even when confronted with his own words.

    August 29, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. dc

    If you want to read a great biography, try Powell's "My American Journey." It was written before he was Secretary of State, but it's a fantastic read.

    August 29, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    You were part of the most incompetent administration in the history of the Nation.
    Sorry, hands down the Obama administration owns this one.

    August 29, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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