This week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell blasted Dick Cheney for taking "cheap shots" at other members of the Bush administration in his new memoir, In My Time. Powell charged that Cheney was just trying to boost book sales, and said it was "nonsense" for the former vice president to accuse Powell of criticizing George W. Bush's policies to people outside the administration. He also said Cheney's criticism of Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice, was "almost condescending." Does Powell have a legitimate complaint?
Yes. Cheney's book is just mean: Powell "stopped just short of calling [Cheney] a liar," says Jamie Stiehm at U.S. News & World Report. Remember, Cheney let Powell "play the fool in front of the United Nations," attempting to justify the Iraq War with false claims about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Then Cheney persuaded Bush to "dump Powell after one term, for not being a team player." And now Cheney's belittling Powell in his book? Talk about a "sore winner."
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Hold on. Powell is the one taking cheap shots: Powell is no doubt peeved that Cheney lays blame for the Valerie Plame affair, which led to a conviction for Cheney aide Scooter Libby, on Powell deputy Richard Armitage, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. "But on this one Cheney has him dead to rights." Powell sat "stone silent" at Bush's side while the president said he didn't know who had outed Plame as a CIA operative, even though Powell knew the information came from Armitage. "Not very loyal or honest, was it?"
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These two have been feuding for years: Cheney and Powell "have had a rocky relationship for decades," says Yochi J. Dreazen at The Atlantic. During the first Gulf War, Cheney (then Defense secretary) accused Powell (then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) of constantly upstaging him. The tensions only grew as Powell countered Cheney's arguments for invading Iraq under George W. Bush. No matter who wins this round, it's clear the members of the Bush team will "continue to publicly relitigate decisions" they made years ago.
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