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. jean2009

    If Dick Cheney wants to know who undermined George W. Bush's presidency; all he need do is look in a mirror and repeat the word Halliburton.

    August 29, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. allahsux

    Powell could have done anything until he allowed W and company to absolutely ruin his credibility. He erased decades of integrity by going along with what he knew was a lie and, in the course of making billions for Cheney and Co., has his share of responsibility for damaging the U.S. economy and killing thousands of soldiers, tens of thousands of collateral deaths and destruction of a region's history. Powell should come clean, admit what they did and then exit the public eye in disgrace.

    August 29, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    When history reviews the administration of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney won't even be regarded as a "little man."

    Given the Republicans willingness to rewrite history (all these GOP books and what Texas did to history textbooks should be proof enough), this is all the more reason to get out and vote for Democrats in 2012.

    August 29, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Oldie in TampaBay

    Cheney isn't worth the price of the book .. he should be indicted right along with Rumsfeld & Dubya!

    August 29, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    "Like Obama should be tried for bombing Libya without Congressional consentation or approval?"

    First of all, it's "consent".
    Second of all, the US was acting in its capacity as a NATO partner. No need for Congressional approval.

    Try doing a little research before you post instead of just repeating the latest GOP talking points.

    August 29, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. JonDie

    Cheney belongs in a same cell with Qaddafi. God is not just; Cheney is the proof that Evil usually wins.

    August 29, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Bill

    I think we shouyld all thank Mr. Cheney for his latest missive. It will serve as a good reminder to people what happens under failed GOP polices and leadership.

    August 29, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. REG in AZ

    Cheney has always, without hesitation or conscience, taken liberties with the truth, whenever he thought it would benefit him and his goals – that has been totally obvious and well documented. What would be nice is to see someone, Powelll, Rice, Tenet, Ashcroft, someone come out with a book and expose the truth, to detail what went on behind closed doors, and tell all. Most people have seen some of it documented and understand the self-serving irresponsible and unconscionable efforts of that administration but it should be told for the record by someone who was on the inside. To expose it once and for all would be a great service to society and a possible discouragement to any like minded individuals in the future.

    August 29, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Laverne

    Dick Cheney has a credibility problem so nothing this man says can be taken seriously. He see things the way he wants to see the, in order to justify his own dispicable actions. Dick Cheney is a LIAR plain and simple!

    August 29, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. David

    Powell voted for Obama. That alone should be sufficient reason to question his decision making ability and intellectual capacity.

    August 29, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Enoch

    Cheney really should be tried for crimes against humanity. His reasons for supporting the war were to line his own pockets. He is a fraud and a liar. Powell, IMO, is a National hero and should be treated as such. And, face it, he would be in jail right now if they hadn't forced Libby to take the fall.

    August 29, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. James Preminger

    I had the honor of serving on Gen. Powell's staff in 1986 at V Corps Public Affairs in the Abrams Building in Frankfurt, West Germany. I never expected to spend the next 25 years seeing my former boss in the news. Am I disappointed in his '93 UN speech? Yes. Do I keep a copy of his autobiography on my bookcase? Yes. Thank you for your service to our country. James Preminger, Farmington, New Mexico

    August 29, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Dave Harris

    Powell probably resents the fact that he was duped into being the mouthpiece for Chaney's lies, which led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers for no reason whatsoever. If should have been clear that if you play around with skunks you're not going to come out smelling like a rose. It may be some compensation that history will treat Powell much kinder than it will treat Chaney, aka Torquemada.

    August 29, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. JeanneLH

    I can't believe that ANYONE in this country would buy this book. The man with the perpetual smirk, who unashameably sent millions to Halliburton, during the war is probably the most unethical man ever to be a VP.

    August 29, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Bill744

    Cheney had long been one who could alter his perception of reality to suit his convenience and needs at the time, even as defense secretary in the late 80's. The reason he says heads will be exploding is that his perception of reality is very different from the sane humans around him.

    August 29, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. absolutemarine

    Gen. Powell was the best boss I ever had at a time of war. Cheney needs a another hart attack and this time it needs to finish the job !

    August 29, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    the US was acting in its capacity as a NATO partner. No need for Congressional approval.
    So under the Obama administration, our NATO partners can determine when and where our military is deployed and used? You're saying the USA has been pre-authorized to go to war just because we are a part of NATO? I hadn't realized the Constitution was amended to give NATO that level of authority and control and cut our elected Congressional representatives out of the decision-making process.

    I can just image if George Bush had used this ludicrous line of malarkey. The leftists would have been going crazy, but it seems to be OK because on of your leftists is in the Whitehouse.

    August 29, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. StephensB

    Anyone that still thinks Dick Cheney has any credibility needs to have their head examined !!! The man is probably the most corrupt and inherently evil person to have ever held public office at the federal level .
    On the other hand , former Secretary Powell is one of only a few true heroes and great statesmen that have served this nation in the last 2 generations . And I'm a lifelong Democrat who was truely disappointed when he stopped entertaining the idea of running for President . I fear we will never see the likes of him in public office again , and that is a great loss !

    August 29, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. CyndyP

    Cheney is one of the most vile human beings in my lifetime and should be in jail – his contribution to the government has been self serving and I don't believe for one moment he had the country's interest at heart. Colin Powell is an honorable man who had served his country, but was mislead by Cheney and the other Bush cronies.

    August 29, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. vic

    Cheney History..as written by him..what a joke. Your legacy is bad and history will reflect it.

    August 29, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Phil in KC

    Powell was probably the most respected member of Bush's cabinet. Cheney only makes himself look bad by comparison. And, in hindsight, Powell was proven right, which just makes Cheney look stupid.

    August 29, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Josh Maxus

    Dick Cheney was and is an angry, cynical, greedy old man. "Unverified" information I heard was he accepted $30million from his former employer before going to so-called 'serve the country'. I have not read is book and do not intend to. During the last 4 years he was in office, he disrespected the very congressional tenets he was suppose to be beholden to (not surrending his energy meeting minutes with thieves such as Enron), his chief of staff outed a U.S. federal employee, and $100's of millions were hemorrhaged/ appropriated to a questionable conflict. Mr Cheney – "Shut Up".

    August 29, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. HA215

    Those of you using hateful language and bringing up cheap misinformed incidents (while forgetting ones from other leaders) like Haliburton and the injury to Mr. Whittington would do well to realize you are no better than Mr. Cheney and in fact probably much shallower. I remember well Mr. Cheney's eloquence and clarity during his interviews while in office – he was a frequent guest on shows like Meet the Press and was always sincere and respectful of others who did not agree with him. Again – posters here should follow his example.
    You may not care about his background or care to read his book but you could wait until the rumors of what it contains are clarified and confirmed before jumping in with your tired and ill-informed decisions. Did any of you care to learn a bit about this man when he was in office? If not, your loss. But your ignorance is showing.

    Oh and by the way – Enjoying this "Arab Spring"? Brought to you by... Dick Cheney.

    August 29, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. drewsco

    Less than three years ago, Tricky Dicky Cheney was presiding over policies that left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead from an unnecessary war of aggression. He constructed a worldwide torture regime, and spied on thousands of Americans without the warrants required by law, all of which resulted in his leaving office as one of the most despised and reviled political figures in decades.

    As a result of his efforts to block all legal investigations into his chronic criminality, those matters have been relegated to mere pedestrian partisan disputes, and now he preparing to be feted and further enriched as a Wise and Serious Statesman with the release of his memoirs.

    Personally, I would rather invest my money in a company selling air conditioners in Antarctica than buying his useless trash

    I find it repulsive that this clown proudly boasts (yet again) of the very crimes for which he was immunized. Yet, as he embarks on his massive publicity-generating media tour of interviews, he faces no indictments or criminal juries, but rather reverent, rehabilitative tributes.

    August 29, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yeah... Powell is much more credible than Chaney. But I would have had much more respect for him if he would have put COUNTRY before PRESIDENT while in the administration. He should have resigned instead of letting himself be used to lie us and the world into a war of choice.

    August 29, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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