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. Rick Thwaites

    Cheny's actions are extortionist in nature. He has been on the take throughout his tenure as the Vice President. He, Rove and others in the Bush administration have demonstrated abject corruption like that which is only seen in third world nations.

    Dear General Powell. You were right to resign from the Bush administration, a misguided bunch of pirates that hijacked our country and who did irreparable damage to our country, damage for which we are still paying. You were the single voice of reason and honesty in the Bush administration. You would do us a favor by running for president and demonstrating what leadership is all about. Thank you for your service as a military leader and as our Secretary of State.

    August 28, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. art

    They sold the war to the american public through powell. Now they discard powell. Anybody surprised?

    August 28, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    I think Bush DID take a look, and I think that's when he started distancing himself from Shooter (the most conniving person I've ever seen in my life).

    August 28, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Aaron

    I'd believe Colin Powell any day over the lying, self-serving, war-mongering little troll named Cheney.

    August 28, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Thing55

    Powell has a lot more integrity than Dick Cheney, although I guess that' s like complimenting somebody about being thinner than Chris Christie.

    August 28, 2011 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Tammy

    I believe with all my heart and soul that Ret. Gen. Powell was the one and ONLY credible, ethical, and moral person on king george's team. It's a shame that he won't run for president, I'm almost quite sure that both Democrats and Republicans would vote for him and he'd make a dayum good president!

    August 28, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. beevee

    Another gimick of a crook to sell his book; otherwise, he knows he won't sell signle copy of the book. A liar is always a liar that Cheney is.

    August 28, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Lee, USN (RET)

    Colin Powell is an American Hero and a national treasure who deserves much better than anything the Bush administration had to offer. His concerns have always been based on truth and integrity with a focus on faithful duty to his country. When his President called, he had no choice but to answer and give his best service, while knowingly exposing himself to an administration wherein truth and integrity were at the very least questionable attributes. Regretably, he was not able to completely shield himself from the administration's inherant incompetence and arrogance, and while desperately trying to be the "good soldier," nonetheless suffered attacks on his both his professional and personal character. The truth always comes to the surface. And I'm sure, when the dust finally settles, Colin Powell will come forth as pure gold, a man for which, unlike many in the Bush administration, the truth is no stranger. God bess you Colin Powell, an American Hero, an American Treasure.

    August 28, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. K. Webster

    I wonder if Powell ever considered running against Obama...

    August 28, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. BigJim

    George Bush's only contribution as president was staying healthy for eight years.

    August 28, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Mark Taylor

    Cheney has quite a reputation for taking shots, often hitting unintended targets 😉

    August 28, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. FED UP

    Dick Cheney writing a memoir??? I thought the Satanic Bible had already come out.

    August 28, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. chrisM

    To bad cheney chose to write fiction.

    August 28, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. one person

    Sec Powell, thank you for your many years of public service. I believe you are one of the most selfless persons I know and always have the best interests of our wonderful country in your heart

    August 28, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. apartisan

    Colin, I have great respect for you and your service, but doubt Bush took your advice (you break it, ...).

    Bush had his own reasons for invading and occupying Iraq, before taking office, but he never leveled with the public. First he said it was 9/11, then WMDs, then to install democracy.

    As a fellow geo, I noticed the 4 "permanent" U.S. bases are positioned to defend Iraq's largest oil fields, and the oil companies expelled earlier by S Hussein were made safe by occupation. Given Bush and Cheney are oil men, don't you suppose there was another motive?

    August 28, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. Raihan Khan

    Cheney is a draft-dodging coward. Powell is a distinguished soldier.

    August 28, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Vicki

    Powell is a decent and noble person being attacked and pillaged by a very rabid and evil and disgusting Cheney. Cheney has a lot of nerve writing a bunch of lies that only a tiny minority of people would ever believe.

    August 28, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Cheney is Trash

    Who cares what Cheney thinks, this is a man who takes rush limbaugh seriously.

    August 28, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. Republican Contract ON America

    I wouldn't believe anything that Cheney said.

    Powell appeared to be the only member of that administration with even a trace of ethics.

    August 28, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Bob IN

    Colin Powell is such an intelligent and good natured person. Even in his response to Cheney, he is all class. Too bad we did not see much more of him- but you can't blame him for bowing out of the Bush Administration.

    August 28, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. jesse

    I would trust Powell over Cheney or Bush any day!

    August 28, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. macallen23

    Dick Cheney: The man who gave us the quote,"Deficits don't matter." What he meant to say was, "Deficits don't matter to me because I'm probably going to croak before I would ever have to pay them off." Maybe he'll put that in his book.

    August 28, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. gran

    Arrogance has apparently eaten away at Cheney's brain. Never could admit to failure and now wants to make even fellow conservatives look like incompetants. Another book for the dollar store shelves–next to Sarah's. We all know that the country's economical troubles started immediately after the Bush/Cheney administration went into power.

    August 28, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Rabeenhood88

    Cheney has zero credibility. And to write a book that shows how he rewrites history inside the White House, as he does so often during interviews, is typical. Sec. Powell [gratefully] is right to point out the lack of cohesion in the Bush administration, which is why the country went face down during Bush's second term. Cheney knows he's in his last days, and he wants to start as many fires as he can before the batteries run out in that fake heart. Maybe secretaries Powell and Rice will open up a bit more about this scandalous creature known as Dick Cheney since they seem to be the main targets of his "critiques".

    August 28, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Charlie in Maine

    Powell should be pointing to Libya and saying "I told you so" to the idiots neo-cons that he had to work with. Powell's idea on Saadam? Keep up the no fly zone, cut off hiss supplies, offer air support to those who wanted to overthrow him and get the internaional community to join us so it doesn't look like we are just invading for the oil. In short do exactly what we did for Gadafi. Sure we won't be "welcomed as liberators" because mostly the Libyians did it themselves, but we spent 50 billion dollars, no American lives and about 4 months of our time to accomplish his removal.

    The neo-cons were wrong to not listen to Colin Powell back then and they are wrong to second guess Obama now.

    August 28, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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