Cheney Acted like dick
- From: tac ho <hotachcm@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:14:13 -0700 (PDT)
Former Powell Chief of Staff: Cheney "Fears Being Tried as a War
By SHUSHANNAH WALSHE (@shushwalshe)
Aug. 30, 2011
Former Vice President Dick Cheney's memoir, "In My Time: A Personal
and Political Memoir," is out Tuesday, and it's full of criticism and
attacks on his Bush administration colleagues -- from describing
Condoleezza Rice as "tearfully admitting" he was right on the war in
Iraq to revealing private conversations with George W. Bush on the eve
of the Iraq war.
He reserves much of his ire for former Secretary of State Colin
Powell, and now Powell and his longtime aide and chief of staff, Col.
Lawrence Wilkerson, are attempting to set the record straight. In no
uncertain terms. Cheney, Wilkerson told ABC News, "was president for
all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration"
and "fears being tried as a war criminal."
In his memoir, Cheney claims Powell undermined President Bush. "It was
as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by
criticizing administration policy to people outside the government,"
Cheney writes, adding that he encouraged Powell's removal from the
administration after the 2004 election, writing Powell's resignation
"was for the best."
Powell himself called Cheney's criticism "cheap shots" during an
interview this past Sunday on CBS News' Face the Nation.
"What really sort of got my attention was this way in which he
characterized it: it's going to 'cause heads to explode,'" Powell
said. "That's quite a visual. And in fact, it's the kind of headline I
would expect to come out of a gossip columnist, or the kind of
headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It's not
the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former vice
president of the United States of America."
Before serving as Powell's chief of staff while Powell was Secretary
of State, Wilkerson worked in the first Bush administration as a
special assistant to Powell, who was then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and Cheney was serving as Secretary of Defense. He's known
Cheney for decades, but says now, "I simply don't recognize Mr. Cheney
anymore" and calling him a "very vindictive person."
"I think he's just trying to, one, assert himself so he's not in some
subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he
somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication.
That in itself tells you something about him," Wilkerson told ABC
News, explaining that Cheney may have "angst" because of receiving
deferments instead of serving in the Vietnam War like Wilkerson and
others in the administration.
"He's developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he
fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as
'exploding heads all over Washington' because that's the way someone
who's decided he's not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let's get
out in front of everybody, let's act like we are not concerned and so
forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody
will Pinochet him," Wilkerson said alluding to the former Chilean
dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was arrested for war crimes.
Cheney told NBC News that his revealing memoir would have "heads
exploding all over Washington."
Wilkerson said Powell was "simply not opposed to the war," citing the
former Secretary of State's now infamous trip to the United Nations in
February 2003 in which he testified that Saddam Hussein had weapons of
mass destruction as proof that he wasn't undermining Bush. Instead,
Wilkerson said he actually criticized Powell for "expressing too much
support" for the war and explained that he used his own military
experience to advise Powell that the U.S. military wasn't finished
with its job in Afghanistan and the military would be stretched too
thin. He said he registered "all manner of objections" to Powell,
adding that "some of those probably leaked" but that Powell wasn't
objecting to the war.
"From what I've read, Cheney seems to criticize everyone, including
President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, [Deputy Secretary of
State] Rich Armitage, and a host of others except himself.
Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance… all of which
are crimes. I don't care whether the president authorized him to do it
or not, they are crimes," Wilkerson said. "Cheney was a good secretary
of defense in my view. In fact I would put him up amongst the top
three in the short history of the position. No longer do I feel that
way, and I don't know what happened to Cheney."
Wilkerson levels a serious charge that he believes Powell was misled
before going to the United Nations in 2003, beginning the march to war
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"I think he was misled by the DCI [Director of Central Intelligence]
George Tenet, by the deputy DCI John McLaughlin and by the vice
president of the United States who had put Tenet and McLaughlin under
such pressure that they dared not respond except with the message that
the vice president wanted them to respond with," Wilkerson said.
"[Cheney] had been out there [to the CIA] a dozen times to put his
personal imprint on George Tenet, John McLaughlin and others so that
they would know positively what he wanted, and what he wanted was war
Tenet declined to comment for the article, but he paints a different
picture in his own memoir, "At the Center of the Storm," about how the
U.N. speech came about.
Wilkerson added that he was struck that Cheney doesn't seem to admit
any mistakes or backtrack any of the decisions he made during his time
in the administration.
"There are plenty of people who have written their memoirs and have
had battles to fight in those memoirs who have not been as acidic or
acerbic as Cheney is and I can't think of anyone … who have not at
least admitted to a mistake here and there or at least given some
extenuating circumstances. Cheney doesn't seem capable of that,"
Wilkerson adds, "Something happened to Dick Cheney and it wasn't just
9/11," which Cheney cites as deeply changing him. Wilkerson said the
former vice president always "coveted power" and that Cheney was
"fully expecting that he was going to be vice-president" when he
headed up the search team for Bush.
"I can't speak to the psychosomatic or the genetic problems with heart
attacks or whatever, but I can speak to power," Wilkerson said. "He
wanted desperately to be president of the United States … he knew the
Texas governor was not steeped in anything but baseball, so he knew he
was going to be president and I think he got his dream. He was
president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush
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