Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

POWELL ON CHENEY....Robert Scheer has a short conversation with Colin Powell:

I queried Powell at a reception following a talk he gave in Los Angeles on Monday. Pointing out that the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate showed that his State Department had gotten it right on the nonexistent Iraq nuclear threat, I asked why did the president ignore that wisdom in his stated case for the invasion?

The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote, Powell said. And the Niger reference in Bushs State of the Union speech? That was a big mistake, he said. It should never have been in the speech. I didnt need Wilson to tell me that there wasnt a Niger connection. He didnt tell us anything we didnt already know. I never believed it.

When I pressed further as to why the president played up the Iraq nuclear threat, Powell said it wasnt the president: That was all Cheney.

Is Powell just trying to get George Bush off the hook? Maybe. But it's still interesting that he's now publicly blaming Cheney for all the bad intel. He's only badmouthed Cheney in private before, hasn't he?

Kevin Drum 3:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (56)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Cheney is too evil to even be a pharmacist. He needs to go to jail.

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Even bringing this topic up is racist. Racist Dems!

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, oh, looks like craigie and I have sheared our pins!

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason why it's called "The Cheney Administration" in some circles.

Bush really is an intellectual lightweight, easily led around with glossy slogans and pie-crust promises of just how great he'll be seen if only he'll do X, Y, and Z. The fact is that Cheney, Rummy, and the rest of the neocon cabal were able to both flatter Bush's pretensions and lead him down a path he was eager to tread.

Cheney and the Iraq Special Projects Group simply "filtered" all the information that reached our boy king. And Bush, always lazy, always incurious, and always on the lookout for the self-aggrandizing moment, walked exactly along the line Cheney drew for him.

Posted by: Derelict on April 12, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Niger reference?

Posted by: DemX on April 12, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, oh, looks like craigie and I have sheared our pins!

I don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds cool!

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

And now, speaking of shearing my pins, not to mention hard to swallow, I'm off to Fatburger.

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Powell's words are an indictment not just of Cheney, but of Bush and Powell as well.

Powell could have made the right choice between loyalty to the citizens of America and loyalty to the Bush Administration, but he made the wrong choice - and sold all the fence-sitters on the war in doing so, since everyone believed Powell was the good guy, the levelheaded one, the non-ideologue, in the Bush Administration.

Spill, Colin, spill. But don't think it'll earn you any forgiveness.

And Bush as Cheney's sock puppet - well excuse me, but if that's the truth, then Bush chose to be Cheney's sock puppet. Allowing oneself to be manipulated by one's erstwhile subordinates doesn't exempt anyone from culpability - quite the opposite, really.

Bush could have chosen to reassert himself as President, to cut Cheney out of the action, and find out the truth. There's not a shred of evidence that he cared about the truth then, or that he does now.

That Powell is saying these things is better than his keeping silent, but the time for this was 38 months ago, not now.

Fuck 'em all, the bastards.

Posted by: RT on April 12, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I can hear the 101st keyboarders coordinating their "Powell is disgruntled/out of the loop" talking point...

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Give them all shotguns, and send them out hunting together.

This is going to be a bloodbath of recrimination. God, it will be gorgeous.

Posted by: Mysticdog on April 12, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

RT, i want to second that motion: the person who really looks bad in this quote isn't cheney. powell knew that he was pushing bogus evidence and he proceeded to do so.

i suppose, in the relativistic world of bush lackeys and sycophants, someone who knew he was speaking falsely is a marginal improvement over those who live for propaganda, but here in the real world, powell has proven himself to be nothing but a boot-licker himself.

Posted by: howard on April 12, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

(craigie and shortstop's jargon) reminds me of watching Brokeback on DVD last week. Two euphamisms for sexual intercourse I had not heard before. One was when the one guy was talking about putting his girlfriend on the blocks, and the other was the sheep-herding boss guy accused the cowboys of "trimming rose stems" or something like that - Must be a 1960's thing.

And Bush as Cheney's sock puppet - well excuse me, but if that's the truth, then Bush chose to be Cheney's sock puppet.

You don't know that. It could be that Gannon's job was to gather the blackmail material that keeps Bush loyal to Cheney. All Gannon really needed to do was print out the log from his male-escort service web server.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 12, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

What RT and howard said.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 12, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

They are pushing Cheney aside so as to apoint the new crown prince, perhaps?

Posted by: Boronx on April 12, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals' tendency to believe the Bush supporters only after they have changed their mind about their support lends credence to my suspicion their brains are not quite well developed and like a child they only want to hear sweet songs that please them. That may also explain the liberals' reluctance to speak strongly against the terrorists whose avowed objective is to destroy us. No wonder that they nominated a person like John Kerry for 2004 only to have him summarily rejected by the more mature Americans.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 12, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Powell on Rumsfeld - Mistakes Were Made

Against a backdrop of rumors of a pending resignation, more deadly terror attacks in Iraq, and sinking popularity for the war, Mr. Powell over the weekend said bluntly that missteps were made during the war that led to the current level of the insurgency.

Speaking Saturday to the annual conference of the National School Board Association, Mr. Powell said,"We made some serious mistakes in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad," the Chicago Sun-Times reported. "We didn't have enough troops on the ground. We didn't impose our will. And as a result, an insurgency got started, and ... it got out of control."

While those remarks are hardly out of step today with mainstream opinion in Washington, the timing and source of the remarks is particularly damaging to the White House in an election year. Mr. Powell is the architect of America's failed efforts to get the U.N. Security Council to endorse a resolution for the 2003 invasion and, after retiring in 2005, he expressed anger that the intelligence he presented there turned out to be largely incorrect.

Nonetheless, Mr. Powell has kept his powder relatively dry. While his former chief of staff has given numerous interviews and speeches alleging a "cabal" comprised of Vice President Cheney and secretary of defense, hijacked American foreign policy in the first Bush term, Mr. Powell has been largely shy of speaking out in public.

But Mr. Powell, a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff,may now be opening up, just as some of his old colleagues are also voicing their concerns about the war. On April 2, Mr. Powell's close confidant and the former general in charge of central command, Anthony Zinni, called on Mr. Rumsfeld to resign because of a "series of disastrous mistakes."

http://www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=30753

Powell's former chief of staff has certainly made his opinions clear on Cheney.

Posted by: Catch22 on April 12, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

(craigie and shortstop's jargon) reminds me of watching Brokeback on DVD last week. Two euphamisms for sexual intercourse I had not heard before.

Oh, oh! "Shear the pin" just means going wild. It's a reference to setting a grenade off...wait, or, is it? Did I inadvertently make a sexual reference to go along with all the advertent ones?

Posted by: shortstop on April 12, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

So was Dick Cheney the President back in 2002 and 2003? What was George W. Bush - his front man?

Posted by: pgl on April 12, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx, it's an interesting question, isn't it? i think that the odor of the bush regime will be so bad by 2008 that someone taking over the veephood this year will not be the nominee then, so you could potentially imagine a caretaker type adult vice president, installed primarily to keep the boy wonder from using nukes on iran.

but then again, you'd have to get bush and cheney to agree, and that seems pretty unlikely.

Posted by: howard on April 12, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

POWELL ON CHENEY

Eeeeewwwww! My eyes! my eyeeeeeeessss!

Posted by: ckelly on April 12, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

So was Dick Cheney the President back in 2002 and 2003? What was George W. Bush - his front man?

What do you mean, "was"?

Posted by: craigie on April 12, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Worst (Vice)President Ever. Both of them.

Posted by: Cal Gal on April 12, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

OK, here's what I don't get -- why haven't people pointed out the following point?

Given Powell's current admission, how does he explain his own speech to the UN AFTER his guys contradicted the idea that the tubes were for use in a nuclear program.

From that speech, dated February 5, 2003:

Saddam Hussein already possesses two out of the three key components needed to build a nuclear bomb. He has a cadre of nuclear scientists with the expertise, and he has a bomb design.

Since 1998, his efforts to reconstitute his nuclear program have been focused on acquiring the third and last component, sufficient fissile material to produce a nuclear explosion. To make the fissile material, he needs to develop an ability to enrich uranium.

Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed.

These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group precisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium. By now, just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know that there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for.

Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.

Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes. First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no business buying them for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.

I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Army trooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.

Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so.

How can Powell now pretend that HE himself wasn't part of the deliberate deception?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 12, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz wrote: "Liberals' tendency to believe the Bush supporters only after they have changed their mind about their support lends credence to my suspicion their brains are not quite well developed and like a child they only want to hear sweet songs that please them. That may also explain the liberals' reluctance to speak strongly against the terrorists whose avowed objective is to destroy us. No wonder that they nominated a person like John Kerry for 2004 only to have him summarily rejected by the more mature Americans."

Uh, you'd make a stronger case here if you presented some actual evidence that Powell is in fact wrong. All you've written is just a wordy ad hominem.

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

That'd be the fake tbrosz, Mr. Flibble.
Are you the real Mr. Flibble?

Posted by: Tony on April 12, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Mr. Flibble IS very cross.

Only the real Mr. Flibble would say that.

(PS--do you know the reference?)

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

(PS--do you know the reference?)
Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Flibble?
(either that or Winnie the Pooh, or Thomas the Tank Engine.)

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 12, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Powell's really making a play to be the Albert Speer of this administration, isn't he?

Posted by: Stefan on April 12, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, this is sad.

None of you ever watch Red Dwarf?!? I'm that homicidal penguin sockpuppet! I know you guys know how to Google.

Thomas the Tank Engine? Feh.

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

(Sigh!) Poor General Colin Powell. For all his brocades, battle ribbons, and stars on his collar, the former JCS Chair apparently never understood the difference between the good soldier and the loyal soldier.

The good soldier first and foremost swears his alligiance to his country and never forgets it, while the loyal soldier blindly supports his leaders -- regardless of policy or folly.

This entire mess in Iraq could well have been avoided had Secretary Powell been a good soldier and publicly called out Cheney on his duplicity, instead of acting the part of a loyal soldier heretofore defending the administration's audacity and conduct with his silence.

Now he's learned another hard and bitter lesson: The Bush Cartel's select members are loyal only to themselves, and everyone else is considered an expendable commmodity.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 12, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh no! Now Ken Mehlman CSLGG (closeted, self-loathing, gay-guy) will have to put a spin on this on the Sunday news programs...

Posted by: yoshi on April 12, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

"He's only badmouthed Cheney in private before, hasn't he?"

Depends if you consider talking to Bob Woodward for publication to be "private."

Posted by: Gary Farber on April 12, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Thank you Colin Powell. Another johnnie come lately to the Iraq War critique. He has as much blood on his hands as the rest of the cabal.

Posted by: lina on April 12, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to contradict what Howard said above about Powell going along with the Niger and aluminium tubes canards, but I wasn't sure about the tubes.

Powell didn't reference Niger, but Howard was right, Powell did use the aluminum tubes in the UN speech, although not in a conclusive way.

Looking back on that speech, though, reminds me of what a complete load of bullshit Powell was peddling. tbrosz is right, there is no sense of liberals approvingly citing Powell now.

He was always either a liar or a fool, and he should be locked up with the other criminal perpetrators of this illegal invasion and occupation.

Oh, and by the way, anyone who was convinced by his UN speech should not be allowed anywhere near a keyboard or a microphone until they have completed 100 hours of training in logic and evidence.

Posted by: Ray on April 12, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it hightime that the Dem leaders start placing the responsibility for the deaths of our soldiers directly on the people who took us to war without even planning for the aftermath based on justifications that have now been proven to be totally false? What is the punishment for doing so? Why should the appropriate punishment not be meted out to these people?

Posted by: lib on April 12, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like Powell should be treated no differently than that other recent defector, Gingrich. That is, their belated conversion does not exonerate them in the least. Anymore than a murderer who later feels guilt after getting caught.

But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Every troll that trots out the old story that Wilson was a liar--you can reply with Powell's quote. They already knew the Niger connection was wrong. Powell, if he is being honest, would have told the President. They didn't need Wilson or his report.

They knew. But they went in anyway.

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 12, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The soldiers overwhelmingly voted for this administration. And overwhelmingly still support it. They are, unfortunately for a lot of people, getting what they asked for.

Posted by: js on April 12, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Folks,

Why are we so surprised that Cheney pushed for a way for his cohorts (and himself) to make out like bandits in Iraq?

You've got to recall that he was on the VP SEARCH committee for GWB, then decided that he should be VP (after realizing how rich he could make his buddies).

Halliburton is filthy rich

They did it in Iraq and they did it in La. after Katrina.

Cheney is worse than evil, he's all for a government for the rich and nothing but the rich so help us god.

Powell was just a limp rag during the lead up to the war.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on April 12, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Powell has had more than 30 years to perfect his plausable denyability methodology so actually anything he says should ALWAYS be subject to the fine tooth comb treatment

Does My Lai mean anything to any of you ?

No changing of spots has occurred

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." - Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

Posted by: daCascadian on April 12, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Nicholson has got it nailed

"...Bush is head of state; Cheney is head of government..." - John Dean

Posted by: daCascadian on April 12, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just an amusing point. If you go to the Powell speech at the UN posted on the WH web site, it is featured under an icon which says, "Iraq. Denial and Deception"

Funny how that title seems nowadays to mean something so different from what was originally intended.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 12, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Glad Sheer is putting this out in print. I'll be curious if Powell responds. (I don't trust Sheer to tell the truth.)

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 12, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Powell had a choice:

Be a patriot.

Be a traitor.

He chose traitor.

Hang the dirty fucker.

Posted by: angryspittle on April 12, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I heard that the former Secretary of State had gastric bypass surgery - He can now be referred to as Semi-Colon Powell.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 12, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh but Kevin, Robert Scheer is just so shrill.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 12, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

And the Niger reference in Bushs State of the Union speech? That was a big mistake, he said. It should never have been in the speech. I didnt need Wilson to tell me that there wasnt a Niger connection. He didnt tell us anything we didnt already know. I never believed it.

Thanks Colin Powell, for remaining silent for two years while you let Joe Wilson twist in the wind. Fuck you very much, coward.

Posted by: Another Bruce on April 12, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

howard -- boot licker --- i thought about higher up , the back door at the ( Y ).
tom nicholson ---- get a rope ---right on all counts.

Posted by: OBSERVER on April 12, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

fuck colin powell.

Posted by: linda on April 12, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Powell will go down as someone who was loyal to his president rather than his country.

a coward

Posted by: steve on April 12, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 said: Just an amusing point. If you go to the Powell speech at the UN posted on the WH web site, it is featured under an icon which says, "Iraq. Denial and Deception"

Funny how that title seems nowadays to mean something so different from what was originally intended.

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who'd noticed. I get a kick out of that every time I have to go back and look up what Bush was saying in the run-up to war, and I think more people ought to derive pleasure from this bit of inadvertent 'truth in advertising.'

Posted by: RT on April 12, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious to see comments about not trusting Scheer and how Scheer is "so shrill" when he was uncovering the story behind the Vietnam War, the CIA in America's universities and countless other investigative stories before most of you were born.

Not only that, unlike Drum here, he opposed this war when nobody else but Scott Ritter and the anti-war left were doing so.

Give respect where respect is due.

Posted by: joe on April 12, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

>Fuck 'em all, the bastards.

Powell knew better and could have stopped the whole show. Incredible how he missed his moment.

Posted by: Lucy on April 13, 2006 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK


Mmmm, Fatburger...

Posted by: Andy on April 13, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

Ah Kevin - remember that Powell said in that past that Bush was "impressionable" and Powell tired to be the voice of reason behind the presidental face but Cheney edged Powell out.

Bush has never been more that a face. Cheney IS the president - NOT Bush. All this talk about how Bush listens to God - strange how Bush's God always speaks with the voice and intent of Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 13, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush had let him, Powell would still be Secretary of State and he would not be talking, even now.
Any honorable man would have resigned before making such a dishonest presentation before the world.
He must have known that the German and French Secretaries of State knew he was lying.

Now the lies are coming home to roost and he wants to salvage as much as possible. There is no honor in that, too late.

Posted by: Renate on April 13, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map
map

Posted by: 54534 on April 13, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly