Mr. Cheney told interviewer Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” that while there are passages in the book critical of Mr. Powell, there are also chapters about how well the pair worked together at the Pentagon when Cheney was secretary of Defense and Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“So there’s a lot of very positive stuff in there. But a balanced account, I think, also required me to put down what my opinion was, and that’s what I’ve done,” said the ex-veep.
Cheney’s memoir is being officially released Tuesday. Among its most notable overall themes is that the Bush administration cabinet was a team of rivals, a group of antagonists who disagreed with each other – or at least with Vice President Cheney – and fought and backstabbed in the best Washington bureaucratic traditions.
For instance, in the book Cheney accuses Powell of undercutting President Bush’s move to invade Iraq by expressing doubts about the policy to people outside the administration. Things reached the point where after the 2004 election, Cheney pushed Mr. Bush to fire Powell, he writes. Powell’s resignation in November of that year “was for the best,” Cheney writes.
“In My Time” also describes CIA chief George Tenet as resigning in 2004 “when the going got tough.” It includes a scene where Powell’s successor at Foggy Bottom, Condoleezza Rice, “tearfully” admits she’d been wrong to push Bush to apologize for inaccurate statements alleging that Iraq had tried to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger.
Powell, for his part, has not let these allegations go. Appearing Sunday on CBS “Face the Nation,” he denied that he had undercut the war in Iraq, pointing out that it was he who made a presentation to the UN on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (a presentation based on intelligence that turned out to be faulty.)
Powell also said that Cheney did not push him out – he resigned of his own accord. And he accused Cheney of taking “cheap shots” at his former colleagues.
“He has taken the same shots at Condi with an almost condescending tone; she tearfully did this or that. And he’s taken the same shots at George Tenet, and he has also, in some ways, indicated he didn’t always approve of what President Bush was deciding,” said Powell.
On Tuesday, Cheney defended not only his treatment of his colleagues but the invasion of Iraq itself.
Nor is Cheney backing down on his approval of harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, despite polls showing most Americans consider them torture.
“And I would argue, Matt, that it’s important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want to run an effective counterterrorism program,” Cheney told Lauer. “The fact is it worked.”