Former Vice-President Dick Cheney spares no one in his memoir due out next week, criticising officials from President George W. Bush on down.
According to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the book, Cheney remains unapologetic about his support for many of the Bush administration’s more controversial policies—including his support for water-boarding.
Notorious for protecting the secrecy of internal White House deliberations, Cheney reveals details about his conversations with Bush that break with the official narrative—including several instances where Bush, who called himself ‘the decider,’ appeared to be less so.
Cheney writes that he saw no reason to apologise for the misleading claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in Niger—a key justification for the Iraq war proven to be false—and says that National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later agreed with him.
“She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully admitted I had been right,” he writes.
Cheney added that Secretary of State Colin Powell’s decision to resign from the administration after the 2004 election “was for the best.” “It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticising administration policy to people outside the government.”
Cheney writes that before the 2004 election he offered to resign or step aside so as not to bring down the GOP ticket, though Bush rebuffed him. In a sign that his influence waned during the course of the administration, Cheney also says he was not consulted when Bush sought to get rid of Secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld.
The memoir opens with Cheney recounting his experiences on September 11, 2001—when Bush was incommunicado at times due to communications breakdowns, and he ran the government response.
“My past government experience,” he wrote, “had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president, and that would be bad for him and for the country.”
“We were at war,” he added. “Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute—as George W. Bush was.”
According to The Drudge Report, Cheney is sharply critical of the Bush administration’s foreign policy in its second term, writing that “concessions delivered” to North Korea, “in the naive hope that despots would respond in kind,” were misguided.
Cheney praised Obama for supporting TARP in the weeks before the 2008 election, but was critical of his his Afghanistan troop withdrawal timeline. He added he is “happy to note” that Obama was unable to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.