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. Terri

    Like most others here I trust Powell above Dick however he lost a lot of credibility when he served under GWB and lied for the administration. There was a time I would have supported Powell through anything, that time has passed. He is an honorable man but allowed himself to follow a crazy leader blindly...he should have been sounding warnings to his fellow countrymen.

    August 29, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Jim

    I suspect I am part of the vast majority of our country – democrats, republicans, and independents – who trust Powell, and find Cheney to be a punk. Powell has made a contribution to the future of our country, Cheney has not.

    August 29, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Teabagbilly

    Cheney for president so we can all march in step.

    August 29, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. rafaelbolero

    Sorry, but Powell should have told Bush, If you invade, it's a war crime. He's also complicit, and all of them should be in jail. No rule of law in the USA anymore except for pot smokers so someone can have a prison industry "market."

    August 29, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. tor

    Let’s review: Cheney (the serial draft dodger) criticizes Powell (who spent his entire adult life serving with distinction in the U.S. military) and questions his loyalty and judgment. Cheney advocated bombing as the first response to every foreign policy challenge, while Powell warned of the difficulties of war. Cheney predicted quick success in Iraq, while Powell recognized that it would be a long, drawn out commitment. It’s hard to fathom how anyone with a grain of common sense would give credence to anything Cheney says.

    August 29, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Liberal Dem

    Colin Powell and John McCain are the remnants of a once sensible and practical political party that has been hijacked by maroons and extremists that say a return to conservative values is all we need to solve all our problems. This is of course, the same "solution" being offered by the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other religious extremist groups. Neither the bible nor the quran should be used as the foundation for a government of free people.

    August 29, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Lean6

    Hmmm...who's got more credibility here? That's a no-brainer. If you're thinking about buying Cheney's book, you should have your head examined.

    August 29, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. twalk

    that free health care we provide to cheney seems to be working out for him well. He is still evil and dishonest as usual.

    August 29, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Mike

    Dick Cheney is a warthog.

    August 29, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. FLCPA

    Kind of funny how Cheney gets criticized for a book that nobody has read yet.

    August 29, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. klangster

    cheaney is a coward he and his company profited from the war that he engineered while thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis died. It is TREASON

    August 29, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Tony

    Epic fail Cheney! Look at these comments. No matter what side of the political fence you are on no one is buying it. Powell might not be perfect but I'll take his word over cheney's any day.

    August 29, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. Ben H

    Cheney represents the very misuse of power and lack of responsibility at the highest level of American government. I'm sure he learned the very legal justifications for such use during his time in the Nixon administration, which we all know made a serious miscalculation on the scope of Executive power. I once served on Capitol Hill back in 2007 and I had the unique opportunity to speak with the last Deputy NSA under President Bush in the White House. These men were all calculated and intelligent, but I cannot respect the way the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were conducted. It wasn't until 2006 that the administration began even filling high-level positions with individuals based on merit and not simply campaign contributions. As you can notice the difference in the wars following the 2006 election, not to mention the new balance on Executive power with a Democrat-controlled Congress. The administration certainly "broke" the fragile stability of Iraq in the early days of the war; that's an understatement.

    As for DIck Cheney's memoir that wil supposedly "make heads in Washington explode" – He probably thinks too much of his own opinion. I doubt most Americans, especially those who serve in Washington with true honor and distinction, but most importantly, a true sense of "service," will ever commit themselves so much as to think twice about Dick Cheney's opinions. And as for my personal opinion; I'm ashamed as an American to have allowed that man into such a high public office. He has brought shame to all Americans and I think that the only true service he could do in the political arena is to disappear from it and allow other American's to fix part of what he broke.

    August 29, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. AFWife

    I always respected Colin Powell as an intelligent and thoughtful leader and presidential advisor. He's a class act. Cheney,
    however, has proven himself to be otherwise.

    August 29, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Joe

    Cheney flat out is a COWARD !!! He found it very easy to send our troops into harms way but when it was his turn to serve in Vietnam he got 5 deferments from military service.....it was real easy for him to send others into harms way when he knew his rear end wasn't on the line......this guy is the lowest of the low.....real slime.... !!!!!

    August 29, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Santa Fean

    Powell, an honest man, believed Cheney and his stooge, "awol' Bush. Cheney and "awol" will be remembered for 09/11/01, starting illegal wars, war profiteering, TARP bailout of the Wall Street criminals, spending the budget surplus and for being the worst "leaders" ever! Cheney and his puppet....no one misses them!

    August 29, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Ptrika

    I lost respect for Colin Powell when I found out that he had lied to us and the UN about WMDs in Iraq. I have never had any respect for Cheney to lose.

    August 29, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. John

    You don't have to "believe" Colin Powell. All you need to do is go back to the pre-war rhetoric coming out of the various departments of the Executive Branch and the coverage in the press of the stance of different administration officials. If you do that, you will see which one of these two men's memories is better. And it isn't Dick Cheney's.

    August 29, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Nija

    Jesus said love your enemies and pray for them. Honestly, this will be very difficult to do for a man that lead this country to an everlasting war.

    August 29, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. rick

    Cheney belongs in jail. He will always be a criminal in my book. Worthless loud mouthed idiot as always.

    August 29, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Nick

    General Powell served his country, Cheney served his own selfish agenda.

    August 29, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Colin Powell should have been the VP nominee for the Republicans in 2000. The reason Cheney got the job was because he headed the search committee for Dubbya, and found he was the most qualified candidate for the job. Just like when Dubbya was President, he asked Harriet Miers to head a search committee to find a qualified Supreme Court justice and she was the most qualified person she could find. Luckily, her nomination was withdrawn before the Senate even started the hearings, otherwise she would have "Borked" herself!
    That being said, anyone who is not a "Fox News" analyst that believes anything that Dick Cheney ever wrote or said seriously needs to consider donating their brain to science so they have a chance to properly evaluate one that was never used.

    August 29, 2011 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. DennisF

    I believe Colin Powell, any time of any day. In my opinion, there is yet another :"Brutus-ette" who I believe stabbed him in the back during his last months in the White House Cabinet who shall remain nameless.

    August 29, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. CrookedCheney

    Cheney is so shady. He hated being just the VP and it was obvious. The Bush Administration railroaded Colin Powell. Colin was a real loss to the Republican Party.

    August 29, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. John

    Lets not even go to the moral, ethical argument and whats best for the country if you're a democrat.

    August 29, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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