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Excerpts from ‘In My Time’ by Dick Cheney

In his memoir, Dick Cheney describes not only political opponents but also some fellow administration officials in unflattering ways, including President George W. Bush. Among his comments:

On President George W. Bush, who commuted the prison sentence of Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame affair, but refused to pardon him:

“I was deeply disappointed. I understood that a pardon for Libby was unlikely to be well received in the mainstream media and that it wouldn’t be of short-term help to those around the president who were focused on generating positive press about his last days in office. But in the long term, where doing the right thing counts, George W. Bush was, in my view, making a grave error. ... George Bush made courageous decisions as president, and to this day I wish that pardoning Scooter Libby had been one of them.”

On Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Cheney was Defense secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration, during the 1990 run-up to the first Iraq War:

“Powell seemed more comfortable talking about poll numbers than he was recommending military options. ... I brought the meeting to a close, and afterward, although we normally operated on a first-name basis, I addressed Powell formally. ‘General,’ I said, ‘I need some options.’ The business we were about was deadly serious, and I wanted him to understand he was receiving an order.”

On White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, during a controversy over disputed intelligence findings cited in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address:

“I was under the impression that the president had decided against a public apology, and was therefore surprised a few days later when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told the White House press pool, ‘We wouldn’t have put it in the speech if we had known what we know now.’ The result was the conflagration I had predicted. ... Rice realized sometime later that she had made a major mistake by issuing a public apology. She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk, and tearfully admitted I had been right. Unfortunately, the damage was done.”

On CIA Director George Tenet:

“I was also disappointed on June 2, 2004, when Tenet, citing personal reasons, told the president he would be leaving. The Senate Intelligence Committee was soon to issue a report that many thought would be critical of Tenet, and I suspected that entered into his thinking. The president had kept Tenet on when we came into office, a move I had supported. Throughout the intelligence mistakes of Tenet’s tenure, the president and I had backed him. For him to quit when the going got tough, not to mention in the middle of a presidential campaign, seemed to me unfair to the president, who had put his trust in George Tenet.”

On Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser in the first Bush administration; he wrote an influential op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in 2002 urging the younger Bush’s administration not to invade Iraq.

“As I read Brent’s piece, I found myself thinking that it reflected a pre-9/11 mind-set. … Brent was quoted later saying he believed I had changed since we’d worked together in the first Bush administration. In reality, what had happened was that after an attack on the homeland that had killed three thousand people, the world had changed.”

Source: In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, by Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney



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