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. WorkingInVA

    Colin Powell is a man, and Dick Cheney is a 5-deferment pathetic excuse for a man. He left a long trail of failures as VP. It's sad to watch him try to re-write history in an attempt to erase his incompetence by throwing decent people under the bus. Good luck with that, Dick, we all know who you really are.

    August 28, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  2. out side the box point of view

    I do not often comment on the internal politics of other countries but honestly. is this what the Great Untied States of America has become ?

    A country where a man who stepped up and excelled in serving his country . A man who is respected around the world . A man so respected by the men he lead that they would follow is orders into combat.

    And now he is put into a position where, he has to defend himself against the accusations of a( I want to call him a coward but won't) 5 time (that's right 5 time) draft dodger oh I'm sorry I mean deferment, how rich do you need to be to get five. This same man was home nice and safe while Powell was fighting the real fight.

    Colin Powell will be remembered as one of the greatest Americans to ever live. Meanwhile Cheney will be remembered as a mean/evil little man.

    I'm not from America but if the American public is going to allow a Hero's like Powell to be treated in this fashion. Where his name and reputation can be smeared so some coward ( there I said it) can make money off of it then I say shame on you all, I'm glad I live in Socialist Canada where respect and goodwill go a long way.

    'm sure that there will be some who will post here and tell me to mind my own business, others who will defend him that's fine. This is just my opinion.

    August 28, 2011 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. 100% ETH

    Two old Dogy-WIGGY.

    Americans are busy on going forward, please discuss those issues somewhere in elementary Schools.

    Afterworld, Cheney will be remember as a sniper and Powell, as a PitBull, by some.

    August 28, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |

    I think the only heads exploding are the ones that Cheney Shot! He has never told the truth so why would anyone believe him now. He really needs to go back to his undisclosed location and Stay there for the rest of his life. He may have been respected at some point in his life, but that was 40 years ago, now Cheney really needs to just go away.

    August 28, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Powell or Cheney? Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I think I'll take Powell's side.

    August 28, 2011 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  6. Exxon

    Vice President Cheney has the gift of perfect knowledge.

    It is the apron strings wisdom, wielded from the safe shelter behind G.W's skirt.

    Isn't Cheney eligible to run for president ? Please run and then if elected it is possible to wield the gift from the exposed quarters in the cold harsh light of day.

    Then he is not artificially encumbered with the over head of some other president.

    And the press can speak to the policies directly, and the people can better understand the wisdom of their benefactor.

    August 28, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. Fly on the wall

    Powell or Cheney? Powell's got my vote.

    August 28, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  8. Jo Ann

    Why can't Mr. Cheney just go to the house! We don't care what he thinks or who he would like to screw for the failures under his watch. We are tired of him. GO HOME!!!!!!

    August 28, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. steven Anderson

    what no snipping remarks at Powell from the right or Super right TP on his view?. so quiet

    August 28, 2011 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  10. Chuck

    Give me break! Cheney knew exactly what he was doing in the lead up to the Iraq war. He's trying to use Powell as a scapegoat. He knew full well that the intelligence was fabricated. In fact, the goal of getting control of Iraqi oil was long on his plate going back to early 2001. Read "Crossing the Rubicon" by Mike Ruppert.

    August 28, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. April

    I have the utmost respect for General Powell and to have someone who in my opinion is an arrogrant little toad malign a man who has served served his country. Cheney's only ambition was to benefit himself personally. I would have voted for General Powell if he had chosen to run. General Powell stands heads and shoulders above the Dick Cheney's of this world..

    August 28, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  12. conandoyle

    With any karma, Cheney will go to his grave still grumbling that he, and he alone, was right about everything, that history bore out his rightness, and everyone else were/are incompetent, vindictive, and stupid.

    What a loser.

    August 28, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  13. Kevin Cantu

    Hey Powell at least you served in the military. Thank you for your service but don't expect the same from the right and from within your own party.

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

    Powell was the only Bush cabinet member with uncommonly good sense and unimpeachable integrity. Until he got roped into giving the infamous WMD speech at the UN, set up as the poster boy of credibility for the Bush admin. Well, he believed it then, as did many (myself included). We were all duped. Cheney, on the other hand, shows himself more and more to be a "man"(?) of low character, having Alzheimer's-like recall and no sense of shame or guilt. He's a WAR CRIMINAL. Why he, Dumsfeld, et al. were never prosecuted will go down as a lost opportunity to impose justice (for once) on governmental maniacs like these.

    August 28, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. Terry B.

    And we will forever remember that it was this administration, not the current one, that got us into this huge mountain of debt. Those wars were never funded, those tax breaks were not intended to be permanent, and deregulation killed us. And some have the audacity to blame the current administration for it all! It's the cat crapping in the litter box and pointing to the dog. My god, are people's memories that short. Powell knows so much more than he will share; Cheney is a criminal.

    August 28, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. Jordan Cole

    What a dick move, Cheney. Does he not realize how much everyone loves Colin Powell?

    August 28, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  17. master flash

    Cheney did more harm to this country than bin ladin or his illk ever will. Go get him Colin and straighten him out.

    August 28, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Dennis1020

    General Powell–served with distinction in Vietnam and throughout his military career. Cheney–something like five deferments to avoid service in Vietnam, but didn't hesitate to commit American lives to the ill-advised Iraq War. I'm a Vietnam combat veteran with a Purple Heart, and in my opinion, Cheney belongs in the same league as Jane Fonda. Cheney isn't good enough to shine General Powell's boots.

    August 28, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. dodo

    I like Powell. I just wish Bush had listened to him...too late now! Obama can only do the much he can to fix what's been broken!

    August 28, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  20. Vigla

    It's clear Bush was an absentee leader. Even with all the false bravado, he was a terrible leader. He couldn't even get his own people in line, much less run the country. It was a cruel scheme that gave us GWB as our President in 2000. A cruel scheme that cost us trilions of dollars, many dead, and a sense of dispair that we feel today, which it seems people are quick to blame the current POTUS and seemingly give a free pass to the ones that put us in this mess to begin with.

    It's a sad age we live in where people know how we got here and yet still feel the need to go with those same people who would continue us on the wrong path. Shame really... I jut hope Obama and Dems can convince Americans that given the opportunity they will do the necesasary things to strengthen the middle class and bring us back.

    August 28, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. Shardik

    "Cheney accuses him in the book of not being forthcoming with his opinions to former President George W. Bush" – – Wow, so it's *Powell's* fault that Bush and Cheney lied to him?

    August 28, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. Adam

    Cheney is scum. It is disgusting he is profiting off a book instead of rotting in prison for war crimes.

    August 28, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. BTown

    Cheney was wrong about deregulation for off shore oil rigs.
    Cheney was wrong about the Iraq war being able to pay for itself.
    Cheney was wrong about being treated as liberators in Iraq.
    Cheney was wrong about the any Iraq – Osama connection.
    Cheney was wrong about weapons of mass destruction.
    Cheney was wrong about "deficits don't matter."
    I honestly can't think of anything he was correct about so if Cheney criticized me I don’t think I would sweat it.

    August 28, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. Amindang Bailan

    Well, Cheney single-handedly has shackeled our nation for generations to come with debt from ill-purposed wars. Why Medicare pays for his pacemaker is beside me.

    August 28, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. James

    Cheney taking cheap shots? News, please...

    August 28, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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