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. My two cents

    I'll take the words of a decorated service member of our armed forces over a self-proclaimed war criminal any day.

    August 28, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Latenite

    Mr. Powell, you have more integrity in your toenail than Mr. Cheney...let's all just consider the source!

    August 28, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Bob

    Colin Powell should have been the first black President. Instead we got this imposter selected by MTV and Oprah Winfrey.

    August 28, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Good stuff

    Powell has always seemed like an honest no-nonsense guy. Too bad he didn't run for president.

    August 28, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. mjw

    I think the American people and the world (for that matter) would believe the words of Colin Powell anytime over the 'dart vader' ....he continues to be one of the most despised public servants in American history. How sad that even to his last breath he continues to ooze such evil.

    August 28, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. HJA

    Let's see. Who do you believe? Cheney or Powell????????Uh, Powell, hands down. Cheney? Not a chance in hell!

    August 28, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. SFC Mike

    Given his service to the United States vs. Cheney's, I think I'll take Gen. Powell's version of events over Cheney's.

    August 28, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Cheney has some crust. He was a big part of what was wrong with the administration. In fact, I think he was more responsible than Bush. I think he actually ran things, but was unelectable as president himself.

    August 28, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The only thing I regret Powell every did was to let Cheney and others convince him to take the reasons for war in Iraq to the UN when he had already argued it was wrong, I wished he had resigned then. Powell disagreed and Cheney, his attorney, and WH Atty. Alberto Gonzelez held their own closed door meeting without Powell and then informed him of their decision, Powell went along because Bush was the Commander in Chief. It's time for Powell to tell the truth and let the World know he's protected Cheney and Bush all these years, the then WH attorneys know, but they were fired.

    August 28, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. CTYank

    Dunno for sure, but my guess is that Secretary Powell is enormously more credible than Dick. Nice image, Dick: "heads exploding." Ever do anything constructive, besides to your personal bottom-line?

    August 28, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Clwyd

    Prick Cheney is exactly that!

    August 28, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Frank

    Cheney is an admitted liar. Why should we believe any of the nonsense in his trashy novel? He should feel fortunate he escaped prosecution for the crimes he committed while in office.

    August 28, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. BENJI

    Cheney is a draft dodger while GENERAL Powell had the guts to serve.

    August 28, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. demogal

    I am so happy to see someone put that arrogant self-serving Cheney in his place! I wouldn't accept a copy of his diatribe disguised as a book if they were giving it away with a bonus for acceptance. Oh, and I am convinced he faked an injury so he would not have to stand up for Obama's inauguration. What a jerk!

    August 28, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. PK California

    What was wrong with the Bush administration was Bush and Cheney! They wouldn't listen to Powell who was the only one qualified to make a decision to go to war. Cheney was the one who pulled Bush's strings because he thought he was more qualified to be president. As his former friends stated, "he was not the man they knew".

    August 28, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Martha in CF

    I hope Dick Cheney books sales go in the hole!!!!!!!!!!! Way to call Cheney out Mr Powell. We know where the truth lies......it is with Colin Powell...............................

    August 28, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. trudy schoenheit

    Eventually, all of them will be seen for what they were: incompetent and evil fools.

    August 28, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. Eli

    Cheney proves his complete lack of character in his criticism of Powell. In addition to the common thug we've also known him to be, we now see that he's a weasel, too.

    August 28, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. Dr. Ruth

    Chenney is a coward, a low end thief.. he lie to get his company the contracts without proper competitive bids, he and rumsfield should be tried for treason..

    August 28, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. steven harnack

    I think that puppet master Cheney is quite bitter that by the end of his terms in office Bush finally became aware of just how badly he had been used by Cheney and his cohorts. I think that that is why bush has been pretty subdued since leaving office while Cheney, Bolten and others have desperately trying to justify their failures.

    August 28, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Justin

    Why would anyone care, or believe anything that Dick Cheney says. When you consider the consequences of the Bush era government, Cheney will go down in history as one the most diabolical liars in political history.

    August 28, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. Roy

    It's sad that years after the Iraq Debacle the chief players are busy trading blame Why exactly did America invade Iraq? Oh yes, the weapons of mass destruction.

    August 28, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. A keen observer

    Cheney in incapable of anything but cheap shots. He is an intellectual pigmy and a crude, insensitive individual. He is not fit to polish Colin Powell's boots!

    August 28, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Dreamer96

    Powell is a Professional soldier first, and Cheney a Professional Politican first, which do you think lies about, and exaggerates their past more, and brags about their successes more......The Leroy Petry type, or Rick Perry type?

    August 28, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Rocco

    Powell's always been a class act - Cheney has NEVER been a class act. I'll take a pass on this book, not wanting to put money in this loser's pocket.

    August 28, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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