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. doyle

    As a democrat, I have always had the greatest respect for Colin Powell. He certainly is a great American Can't say the same for Cheney

    August 28, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. JimAR

    Somebody needs to remind Cheney that his company, Haliburton, that paid him millions when he left to become VP, made billions in "non-competitive" contract awards for the Gulf Hurricanes, and the wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Not bad for a company that just bought and sold oil futures and knew nothing about hurricanes or war. Cheney should enjoy his millions that he stole from the American people while he can, because the waterboards use hot water in Hell.

    August 28, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Scott

    It's unfortunate that Powell didn't criticize Cheney when it mattered. Especially, since it was Cheney and Bush that both destroyed and vindicated the Powell Doctrine with their failed foreign policy.

    August 28, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. joe smith

    just sounds like a couple of kids who assumes the government was made for them to tinker with, like an old car..both these people would and could have served their country, and the American people more effectively, had they used this kind of backbone when they were in office..I say, go quietly away..and allow Ron Paul show you both how to govern..

    August 28, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. JulesT

    There is more respect Former Secretary of State Colin Powell then Cheney could ever dream about. Why anyone would even consider buying Cheney's book is beyond reason. In this difficult economic times, people would rather spend their hard earned dollars on bread and milk.

    August 28, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Robert Collins

    Who shall I believe Powell or the devil (Cheney)?

    August 28, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Coloradan

    Um, I'm not sure it was a smoothly functioning team at any point.

    August 28, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Larry L

    I served with General Powell know him to be a true hero – a Warrior and a diplomat. Dick Cheney is a criminal. He's an elitist jerk who should have been jailed for the corruption and the mishandling of the Executive Branch. Just look up the "Haliburton Loophole" and you can see Cheney's true character. Those of you who voted for that administration twice should hang your heads in shame. Do not think you can blame President Obama for the stinking cesspool left behind by Cheney and his idiot "boss". General Powell was one of the few honorable men associated with the Bush Administration.

    August 28, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. ted

    Colin Powell is a gentleman and a soldier. He did several tours in Vietnam while Cheney got deferment after deferment. Cheney is just a liar and the worst kind of human being.

    August 28, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. View from above the 49th

    Colin Powell–one of the best Presidents the US never had.

    August 28, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Paulette`

    Please spare us from a book ghost written by Cheny, & please spare us from an interview with Bush. I can't even force enough repect to call them by their full names. These people should have enough class to just go away!!!

    August 28, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Powell is a classy statesman. Chenney not so much.

    August 28, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. chuckwagon

    We all know Cheney is a bully who's main objective as VP was to bolster Halliburton, which he did very well. They were first in line for the no bid contracts in Iraq, and Cheney paved the way for them on the oil exploration front and fracking (removing gas from shale). His actions border on criminal how he removed barriers that would have inhibited Halliburton, and it continues to this day.
    There is very little oversight from the government on fracking, and each dig site brings new challenges to our environment.
    Cheney was experienced and strong willed, but I'm not sure how bright he was based on some of the decisions and recommendations he made to the president. At the end of his term, Cheney wanted a presidential pardon for Scooter Libby,(Scooter took the hit on Cheney's offing of the CIA operative) but the president did not comply. To my way of thinking Bush may have seen Cheney for the self serving bully he was.
    Someone at some point in the near future will expose Cheney, I hope he's around to experience all of it.

    August 28, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Jan

    Why would Cheney throw darts at Gen. Powell? Obviously suspicious, but loyal to the administration, Powell went before the U.N. and promoted the weapons-of-mass-destruction argument which convinced many people because of Powell's credibility. Alas, his speech also ruined his political chances forever since WMD proved false.

    August 28, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. REALLY?

    I saw this interview this morning and I want to say the Colin Powell is a CLASS act. His first comment was in reference to the Martin Luther King memorial and what that meant to him. Then he talked about how dismayed he is at the lack of civility being shown to the Office of the President by so many people. He was professional, respectful and I believe truthful in all that he said. He even said that Cheny has had a long and distinguished career, and that he is hopeful that the book outlines that and not all the finger pointing and such. Cheny to me is the one who should be tried for treason. He is seemingly a mean and sad man. Thank you General Powell for showing what character and class truly are. I wish you'd run for president.

    August 28, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Citizen Twain

    They are all to blame for what we are experiencing now. WARS without end, endless debt, no future for our children. We don't care about your defense of what you did. You all have destroyed this GREAT Country and now you are fighting with each other over who's to blame. It is shameful that you cannot admit how you have screwed the American People again and again without a thought for the future or what horrible consequences all of your actions would bring. I have no pity for you Mr. Powell, you should have listened to your wife.

    August 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. Jon from Pittsburgh

    The General is a Class Act... a lot of respect for him and his service

    August 28, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. DrDanno

    Cheney should spend the rest of his miserable days in jail contemplating the shame he brought upon this country and the sorrow he brought to the families of our deceased warriors. He should be forced to pay restitution for the cost of the wars to the taxpayers from the coffers of Halliburton. This man is, in my opinion, a criminal of the highest order. His criticism of a man of the integrity of Colon Powell is disgusting and reveals just how bereft of character Cheney is.

    August 28, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Booo

    Nobody is interested in Cheney's drivel.

    August 28, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Powell is to be trusted 100X more than Cheney.

    August 28, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Chris (DC)

    It is too bad it has taken so long for Gen. Powell to speak out. For years I had respected him for being an honest leader, but when he went in and lied about WMD and the need for war that all went out the window. If he really didn't know he should have been fired, but given his years of experience I think he knew what was going on. As sleazy and horrible as Cheney is, he has always been that way. He has never been a good or honest man so we can expect no less when he is free to pimp a book about himself. Shame on them both for leading us into the last decade of suffering, fear and economic turmoil.

    August 28, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. roscoe

    Rats deserting the SS Bush......or in Cheney's case, the SS Minnow

    August 28, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. CaliforniaBC

    Hmmmm...who to believe..Powell of Cheney?? Gee tough choice there. How about the level headed, sane one. And if anyone needs a hint as to who that is lets say it's NOT the one who could play the Penguin in a future Batman movie and does shoot their hunting buddies in the face with shotguns.

    August 28, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. mg

    why isnt cheney in jail?

    August 28, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. NoTags

    I can only hope that Dick Cheney's head will be the first to explode.

    August 28, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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