History Buzz August 29, 2011: Reviews — Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s No Holds Bar Memoir of the Bush Administration “In My Time” — Will Have “Heads exploding all over Washington”

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History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

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HISTORY BOOK NEWS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY’S NO HOLDS BAR MEMOIR ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

IN MY TIME A Personal and Political Memoir By Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney Illustrated. 565 pages. Simon & Shuster, Threshold Editions. $35.

Browse & Search Inside, Full Text of Dick Cheney’s IN MY TIME A Personal and Political Memoir

In this eagerly anticipated memoir, former Vice President Dick Cheney delivers an unyielding portrait of American politics over nearly forty years and shares personal reflections on his role as one of the most steadfast and influential statesmen in the history of our country.
The public perception of Dick Cheney has long been something of a contradiction. He has been viewed as one of the most powerful vice presidents—secretive, even mysterious, and at the same time opinionated and unflinchingly outspoken. He has been both praised and attacked by his peers, the press, and the public. Through it all, courting only the ideals that define him, he has remained true to himself, his principles, his family, and his country. Now in an enlightening and provocative memoir, a stately page-turner with flashes of surprising humor and remarkable candor, Dick Cheney takes readers through his experiences as family man, policymaker, businessman, and politician during years that shaped our collective history….
Eyewitness to history at the highest levels, Cheney brings to life scenes from past and present. He describes driving through the White House gates on August 9, 1974, just hours after Richard Nixon resigned, to begin work on the Ford transition; and he portrays a time of national crisis a quarter century later when, on September 11, 2001, he was in the White House bunker and conveyed orders to shoot down a hijacked airliner if it would not divert.
With its unique perspective on a remarkable span of American history, In My Time will enlighten. As an intimate and personal chronicle, it will surprise, move, and inspire. Dick Cheney’s is an enduring political vision to be reckoned with and admired for its honesty, its wisdom, and its resonance. In My Time is truly the last word about an incredible political era, by a man who lived it and helped define it—with courage and without compromise. — Publisher Description, Simon & Shuster

    • Cheney’s memoir: heads really did explode: Critics – including former Secretary of State Colin Powell – fulminate over Dick Cheney’s memoir.
      “Even the cover [of Dick Cheney's memoir] is daunting,” writes US News and World Report critic Susan Milligan, noting that it features “a grimacing Cheney inside the White House, looking like he’s deliberately trying to scare away the tourists.”
      Dick Cheney’s anticipated book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” hit bookstores today and – no surprise – like the man himself, it’s already creating a stir.
      The 46th vice president spends the bulk of the book, co-written with his daughter, Liz Cheney, defending his controversial policies and practices, promising more than once that he has no regrets and would repeat his actions “in a heartbeat.”… – CS Monitor, 8-30-11

“Not only do [critics] want apologies. They want the apologies to be on matters they disagreed with you on — on policy.
It’s not good enough if you say, ‘Well, when I was a young man, I had a misspent youth. I got kicked out of Yale twice, arrested twice for driving under the influence.’ I had to straighten my life out. It’s a pretty big mistake that I admit, and talk about very freely in my book. That’s not good enough: It’s got to be some policy issue where they disagreed with you. And I’m not apologetic with respect to the policies of the Bush administration. I think we basically got it right.
I didn’t say no mistakes. But … from the standpoint of what I wanted to put down, what I knew about, what I was intimately involved in, I think we got it right.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney in an Interview with Politico

    • Dick Cheney’s last campaign: ‘We got it right’: His last campaign is an unyielding defense of his legacy, after years of reveling in what he calls his “Darth Vader image.” Dick Cheney says he knew critics and historians would tear apart his new book, but that he wrote it so his seven grandchildren would know why he did what he did…. – Politico, 8-31-11
    • Dick Cheney versus Colin Powell: Memoir feeds the feud: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir, ‘In My Time,’ has passages critical of Colin Powell. The former secretary of State took his shots on Sunday, and Cheney is jabbing back.
      Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday defended the way he treats ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell in his new memoir “In My Time”.
      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…. – CS Monitor, 8-30-11
    • Leaving Regrets to Others, Cheney Speaks: In an interview on NBC’s “Dateline,” former Vice President Dick Cheney says that his new book, “In My Time,” will have “heads exploding all over Washington.” Whatever readers think of Mr. Cheney’s politics, their heads are more likely to explode from frustration than from any sense of revelation. Indeed, the memoir — delivered in dry, often truculent prose — turns out to be mostly a predictable mix of spin, stonewalling, score settling and highly selective reminiscences.
      The book, written with his daughter Liz, reiterates Mr. Cheney’s aggressive approach to foreign policy and his hard-line views on national security, while sidestepping questions about many of the Bush administration’s more controversial decisions, either by cherry-picking information (much the way critics say the White House cherry-picked intelligence in making the case to go to war against Iraq) or by hopping and skipping over awkward subjects with loudly voiced assertions. It’s ironic that Mr. Cheney — who succeeded in promulgating so many of his policy ideas through his sheer mastery of bureaucratic detail — should have written a book that is often so lacking in detail that it feels like a blurred photograph…. – NYT, 8-26-11
    • Cheney’s memoir: few apologies, some evasion, and critical words for Condi Rice: An early review of Cheney’s “In My Time” suggests that readers of the memoir will react more with frustration than with anger. In Cheney’s view of history, the war in Iraq was one of the most significant accomplishments of the Bush administration. … – CS Monitor, 8-25-11
    • Dick Cheney memoir ‘In My Times’ has no apologies: Former Vice President Dick Cheney takes quite a few shots — and makes no apologies — in his long-anticipated autobiography, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” which will be out Tuesday. The book, written with his daughter Liz Cheney…. – Politico, 8-26-11
    • Expected and Unexpected: Dick Cheney’s Memoir Edition: According to his memoir, In My Time, which was “obtained” before its release next week by the New York Times, Dick Cheney urged President George W. Bush to bomb a Syrian … – New York Magazine, 8-25-11
    • Dick Cheney Adds Cable News, CBS and ‘The View’ to His Book Tour Schedule: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is preparing to embark on a major book tour media blitz… – mediabistro.com, 8-25-11
    • Cheney Gears Up Publicity Tour for Memoir: Former Vice President Dick Cheney will emerge from private life next week for a publicity blitz surrounding his 576-page memoir, “In My Time,” and there are few major media outlets in print, radio and television that he will overlook. … – NYT, 8-24-11
    • Bush, Cheney, Rice steal the headlines: Former vice president Dick Cheney is stealing the headlines with his upcoming book, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir. The book hits the stands next week but is already being previewed. Cheney’s unapologetic memoirs defend his administration’s most controversial decisions, including its allegation that Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa to build weapons of mass destruction, the surge of additional troops into Iraq and the use of harsh interrogation tactics to get information from suspected terrorists…. – USA Today, 8-26-11

“I didn’t set out to embarrass the president or not embarrass the president. If you look at the book, there are many places in it where I say some very fine things about George Bush. And believe every word of it.” — Dick Cheney, 70, told NBC’s Jamie Gangel in an intervoiew airing August 29, 2011

    • Dick Cheney says memoir will have heads ‘exploding’: Dick Cheney is already promising there will be “heads exploding all over Washington” when his new book hits stores Tuesday.
      The 46th vice president made that declaration in an interview with NBC — portions of which were aired on the Today Show Wednesday morning — as he embarked on a media blitz to promote the book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.”
      The memoir discusses Cheney’s health, the Sept. 11 attacks, his secret resignation letter, and his thoughts about President George W. Bush and other prominent characters from the Bush White House, NBC reports…. – LAT, 8-25-11
    • A political junkie’s guide to Cheney’s memoir: Since the book leaked, much of the coverage on Dick Cheney’s memoir has focused on the portions he devotes to national security and foreign affairs during his time as vice president. But Cheney’s political career began well before 2000…. – Politico, 8-28-11
    • Dick Cheney’s reading list: A man’s character lives in the books he loves. So perhaps the search for the soul of Dick Cheney should lead to the books that mean enough to him to merit a mention in his new memoir, “In My Time,” which is due out Tuesday. … – WaPo, 8-26-11
    • Dick Cheney’s book is different and it’s because he’s the author: In this book cover image released by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, is shown. (AP Photo/Threshold Editions) (Anonymous – AP) Dick Cheney’s new book has set off a predictable beehive of political gossip in Washington, as the eight years of the Bush administration and its actors are again being prosecuted in the court of public opinion.
      The former vice president’s book, which is harshly critical of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former CIA director George Tenet and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, follows in a long line of political tell-alls from the people involved….
      But Cheney’s memoir could be quite different — if it’s actually the kind of pull-no-punches tell-all that it’s supposed to be — and it’s potential for shock-and-awe has everything to do with the author…. – WaPo, 8-25-11
    • ‘In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir’ by Dick Cheney: If this book were read by an intelligent person who spent the past 10 years on, say, Mars, she would have no idea that Dick Cheney was the vice president in one of the most hapless American administrations of modern times. There are hints, to be sure, that things did not always go swimmingly under President George W. Bush and Cheney, but these are surrounded by triumphalist accounts of events that many readers — and future historians — are unlikely to consider triumphs.
      This is not surprising. The genre of statesman’s memoir rarely produces self-criticism, or even much candor. Apparently, the point is to redeem your large advance from the publisher with a brisk, self-complimenting account of your life and times, with emphasis on your moment in the limelight. There should, of course, be a dash of “news” and a few frank passages about your true feelings — about others, not yourself.
      For Cheney and his daughter Liz, whom Cheney describes as “my collaborator and the CEO of our book team,” the only real point of writing about the vice presidential years is to make clear how right Cheney always was, and how wrongheaded were his critics and bureaucratic rivals. More than once he tells us he would do again exactly what he did the first time, “in a heartbeat.” He acknowledges no serious regrets about anything.
      This big book is not just about being vice president. Its first 255 pages are devoted to Cheney’s eventful life before the day Bush asked him to lead the effort to find him the right running mate for the 2000 campaign…. – WaPo, 8-29-11
    • In memoir, Cheney defends decisions, Bush as president: Former vice president Richard B. Cheney provides an unapologetic defense of the George W. Bush administration in his memoir to be released next week, including explanations of his own decisions on contested national … – WaPo, 8-26-11
    • ‘In My Time’: Dick Cheney’s Unapologetic Memoir: Call it spin, score settling or setting the record straight: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir of his extraordinary political career is out next week. Robert Siegel talks with Charlie Savage of the New York Times. … – NPR, 8-26-11
    • Dick Cheney memoir ‘In My Time’ already making waves: Dick Cheney’s memoir “In My Time,” to be published next week, tells the story of Cheney’s time in Washington and the White House. While the title of the book might indicate he was in charge, he was a two-term vice president under George W. Bush. … – LAT, 8-26-11

“I’m glad members of my family are giving their version of what it was like to serve our country. I did the same thing….
Eventually, objective historians will analyze our administration and will draw objective conclusions.” — Former President George W. Bush in an interview with “Fox & Friends”

    • George W. Bush: I’m fine with Cheney’s memoir: While former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir has garnered some vociferous criticism from some members of his administration, former president George W. Bush says he’s fine with the book — and “glad” to see that members of his administration are telling their stories.
      The book, which paints unflattering portraits of several of Cheney’s former colleagues, has already ruffled the feathers of prominent former Bush administration officials like Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
      Mr. Bush, however, said he wasn’t bothered by the memoir…. – CBS News, 9-1-11
    • Bush Takes the High Road on Cheney’s Book: Former President George W. Bush is taking a tolerant view of a new book by his vice president, Dick Cheney. Bush told Fox and Friends this morning that he encourages members of his administration to give their version of events during his eight-year presidency, even if they disagree.
      In his book, In My Time, Cheney has some negative things to say about former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, which they dispute. But Bush said, “I’m glad members of my ‘family’ are giving their version of what it was like to serve the country…I did the same thing. I put my version out there” in a memoir published last year. [Vote: Is Cheney Taking Cheap Shots in His New Memoir?]
      Bush repeated his long-time assessment that it will take many years to put his administration into proper perspective. “Eventually objective historians will analyze our administration and draw objective conclusions,” he said.
      He declined to give his preference on who should be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, saying that he will “remain an observer, an interested observer.” And he didn’t criticize his Democratic successor, Barack Obama…. – US News, 9-1-11
    • Is Cheney Taking Cheap Shots in His New Memoir? Dick Cheney’s memoir ‘In My Time’ attacks many former colleagues: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir In My Time hit book stores Tuesday and while on the publicity tour he promised that it would cause “heads exploding all over Washington.” In the book, he stands by the controversial waterboarding interrogation technique, reveals that he had a letter of resignation sitting in his desk drawer in case his health failed him , and recalls the details of his personal experience of 9-11. However, what is exploding most heads is the attacks he launches at other Republicans. [See a photo gallery of Bush’s legacy.]
      Cheney claims Arizona Sen. John McCain once angrily stormed out of the room during a discussion of interrogation techniques and the vice president mocks McCain for interrupting his 2008 presidential campaign to return to Washington to address the financial crisis. Cheney calls Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “naïve” for her attempts to negotiate with North Korea and recounts a time when welled up with tears in his office over the Nigerian uranium scandal. Cheney insinuates that he was behind Rice predecessor Colin Powell’s 2004 resignation, saying it was “for the best” even though Powell claims that he always planned to serve as Secretary of State for only one term…. – US News, 8-30-11

“I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans. You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know, I don’t appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies.” — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

    • Condi Rice fires back at Dick Cheney: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins Colin Powell in protesting claims made by Dick Cheney in his memoir.
      The heads are still exploding from former vice president Dick Cheney’s recently published memoir.
      The latest blow-up, on Wednesday, came from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
      Rice spoke out against several claims about her in Cheney’s book, “In My Time: A Personal and Professional Memoir,” saying that she viewed it as an “attack on my integrity.”
      In an interview with Reuters Wednesday, Rice protested Cheney’s suggestion that she had misled President George W. Bush about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea…. – CS Monitor, 9-1-11

“So there’s a lot of very positive stuff in there, but a balanced account also requires me to put down what my opinion was and that’s what I’ve done.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney

“It’s not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and then try to pump a book up by saying, ‘Heads will be exploding.’” I think it’s a bit too far. I think Dick overshot the runway with that kind of comment, if that’s how he plans to sell his book.
From what I’ve read in the newspapers and seen on television it’s essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago. Mr. Cheney had a long and distinguished career and I opened his book that’s what he would focus on, not these cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush.
It was clear by 2004 that the team was not functioning as a team. And we had different views, and not just views, not views that could be reconciled. And so I said to the president that I would be leaving at the end of the year, after the election, and he ought to take a look at his whole team to try to resolve all these issues.” — Colin Powell on CBS’s “Face the Nation”

    • Dick Cheney defends his comments on Colin Powell: Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday defended comments in his new memoir about Colin Powell, saying his take on the former secretary of state is “basically all very positive” and noting that he supported him for promotion to various military positions.
      Cheney, whose long-anticipated autobiography “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir” hit shelves Tuesday, sat down for a live interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show. Lauer did not directly ask Cheney to respond to Powell’s criticism this weekend that the former vice president’s book takes “cheap shots” at him and some of his other colleagues from George W. Bush’s administration.
      Lauer asked Cheney about parts of the book where he takes Powell to task for his opposition to the Iraq War. Cheney responded that in the three chapters in which he details his tenure as secretary of defense working with Powell, “there’s a lot of very positive stuff” and noted that he recommended the general for several jobs in the military…. – Politico, 8-30-11
    • Colin Powell: Dick Cheney Taking ‘Cheap Shots’ In Book (VIDEO): Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is accusing former Vice President Dick Cheney of taking “cheap shots” at him and others in a new book. Powell was the nation’s top diplomat during the first four years of the Bush Administration…. – Huff Post, 8-28-11
    • Powell: Cheney “overshot the runway” in book: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” in his forthcoming memoir, and that he was taking his aggressive promotional techniques “a bit too far.” Powell, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation”…. – CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Powell Accuses Cheney of Cheap Shots: Powell told CBS’ Face the Nation that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” at him in Cheney’s new memoir, In My Time. Cheney writes that Powell undermined President George W. Bush by criticizing the administration. … – Daily Beast, 8-28-11
    • Powell: Cheney ‘Overshot the Runway,’ Took ‘Cheap Shots’: In an interview on Face the Nation this morning, former Bush secretary of state Colin Powell responded to leaked criticism appearing in former vice president Dick Cheney’s forthcoming memoir…. – National Review Online, 8-28-11
    • The Chapter That Went Missing From Dick Cheney’s Book: Dick Cheney’s hyper-hyped autobiography is short on revelations (it turns out that the “secret undisclosed location” was his house) but long, very long, on excuse making when it comes to the wars of whim into which he steered the United States. … – The Nation, 8-26-11
    • Cheney says he pushed to bomb Syria: From the Dick Cheney memoir, the former Vice President says he pressed President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in June 2007, but he was outnumbered by other advisers who were snakebit over the “bad intelligence” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction…. – Politico, 8-25-11
    • Cheney: I wanted to bomb Syrian reactor in ’07: Dick Cheney urged then-President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in 2007, according to the former vice president’s new memoir. According to the New York Times, which obtained an advance copy of the new book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir…. – JTA, 8-28-11
    • Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in ’07: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says in a new memoir that he urged President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian … – NYT, 8-24-11
    • Reading the Pictures: Cheney’s Audacious Memoir Cover (And Claim to the Empire): Well, it’s hard not to be impressed by Cheney’s cojones (and the spiteful swipe at Bush) given the cover photo of his new memoir. Situated in the President’s residence, Cross Hall and the famous red carpet is the space associated with the President of the United States, the backdrop and sanctum recognized, in the American eye, with presidential addresses and presidential processions down the gallery.
      Of course, the dimensions of Cheney’s “top drawer” ego have never been a secret. Perhaps it’s his deteriorating health, though, that motivated this kind of imperial parting shot, compelled to emphasize how much he, not Bush, was the “vision guy” and the true top dog…. – Huff Post, 8-26-11

“I did it because I was concerned that — for a couple of reasons … One was my own health situation. The possibility that I might have a heart attack or a stroke that would be incapacitating. And, there is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice-president who can’t function.”

    • Dick Cheney Memoir Reveals Secret Resignation Letter: In his new memoir, In My Time, former Vice President Dick Cheney talks about a secret letter of resignation that he wrote only two months into office. Worried about his health, he wrote the letter in March 2001 and locked in a safe. – mediabistro.com, 8-25-11
    • Cheney kept secret signed resignation letter while vice president: Former Vice President Dick Cheney kept a signed letter of resignation locked in a safe throughout most of his eight years in the White House, he revealed in an interview to air next week on NBC…. – CBS News, 8-24-11

“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 counter-terrorism program. The fact is it worked. We learned valuable, valuable information from that process and we kept the country safe for over seven years.” — Former VP Dick Cheney

    • Cheney: ‘No regrets’ about waterboarding suspects CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Former VP Cheney says waterboarding justified in interest of protecting national security: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says there’s no contradiction in advocating harsh interrogation tactics against suspected US enemies and opposing those practices when used against American citizens. … – AP, 8-30-11
    • Cheney: Bush authorized leak on Iraq: Dick Cheney writes in his forthcoming book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” that he was surprised to learn that President George W. Bush had personally authorized a leak about Iraq strategy to a Washington Post columnist — a disclosure … – Politico, 8-28-11
    • Bush’s Unanswered 9/11 Questions: By the time the president wrote his 2010 memoir, the call from the vice president had become a call he made to Cheney. Bush’s snap authorization, moreover, had by then transmogrified into a well thought-out plan. “I called Dick Cheney as Air Force One … – Daily Beast
    • Cheney reveals his ‘undisclosed location’: Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney disappeared and was whisked off to a “secure, undisclosed location” to protect his safety. But Cheney never confirmed where exactly he hunkered down. That is, until now.
      Cheney confirms in his new memoir, “In My Time,” that some of the speculation was correct–one of his “undisclosed locations” was his residence in Northwest Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports.
      Which, in turn, means Joe Biden was right. Vice President Biden told the world in 2009 that he discovered the bunker beneath his home during a tour of his new house. Biden revealed during the 2009 Gridiron Club dinner that the room was located “behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment,” Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift wrote at the time.
      In the book, Cheney says that in addition to his D.C. home, the other undisclosed locations were at his home in Wyoming and at Camp David, the presidential retreat.
      Cheney writes that he was surprised by the interest in the location, noting a “Saturday Night Live” skit that placed him in a cave in Afghanistan, according to the Post…. – Yahoo News, 8-26-11
    • Cheney opposed decision to save GM: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he opposed the decision to save General Motors Corp. from collapse in December 2008. In a new memoir “In My Time” published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster, Cheney says he disagreed with President George W. Bush…. – The Detroit News, 8-30-11

“I began my trip with a stop in London to visit one of America’s closest and best allies in the war on terror, British prime minister Tony Blair. I have tremendous respect for Prime Minister Blair. He is a Labour party liberal and I am a conservative Republican, and we didn’t always agree on strategy or tactics. But America had no greater ally during our time in office. His speeches about the war were some of the most eloquent I’ve been privileged to hear.”

“The president wanted to be absolutely clear that if he decided to go to war, we would finish the job. We would remove Saddam Hussein, eliminate the threat he posed and establish a representative government.”

“At the request of the British, I had called a number of the Tories, including Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader. He was, on this issue, a rock of support for Blair.”

    • Dick Cheney autobiography heaps praise on Tony Blair: Dick Cheney, vice-president to George W Bush, pays tribute to ‘one of America’s closest and best allies in the war on terror’….
      In the 565-page In My Time, Cheney is unrepentant about the most controversial decisions taken by the White House, from the waterboarding of Guantánamo Bay detainees to the invasion of Iraq…. – Guardian UK, 8-30-11
    • Dick Cheney speaks out in new memoir: Dick Cheney, one of the most polarizing figures in recent history, has published a memoir. In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir covers Cheney’s 40-year career in American politics, and includes some keen and controversial insights into the George W. Bush administration, in which Cheney served as vice president of the United States.
      Cheney claims that, thanks to his memoir, “heads are going to be exploding all over Washington.” Cheney uses the 565 pages to defend his most controversial policies, including the 2003 decision to invade Iraq, the use of extreme interrogation tactics such as waterboarding and his failed attempt to convince Bush to bomb Syria.
      Cheney was a powerful, controversial and ambitious figure in American politics, perhaps even more divisive than the president he served. As a result, his memoir should be a very controversial and inflammatory read — much like the man himself…. – CBC, 8-28-11

EXCERPTS

“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 President George W. Bush

“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 Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Cheney was Defense secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration

“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 White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice

“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 CIA Director George Tenet

“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.” — On Brent Scowcroft

“He went home instead. … At one point my friend Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma asked why the executive branch had the right to decide when members of Congress, a coequal branch of government, could come back to Washington. ‘Because we’ve got the helicopters, Don,’ I told him.” — Prologue: Cheney opens by describing his experiences on Sept. 11, including the refusal of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who as president pro tempore of the Senate was next in the presidential line of succession after the speaker, to move to a secure location.

“Who RETRACTS a concession? In 1976, the election had also been very close, and we had decided to sleep on it and see how things looked in the morning before, making any decision about conceding to Carter. I thought that if the Gore campaign had been any kind of a professional operation, they would have realized how close the vote was and wouldn’t have conceded in the first place. But to concede and then take it back was amateur hour. And the fact of the concession hurt Gore, I believe, as we headed into the recount.”

“I picked up the phone and called Jim Baker [the night of the Supreme Court decision]. ‘Hello, Mr. Vice President- elect,” he said. ‘Thank you, Jim,’ I said, ‘and congratulations to you. You did a hell of a job. Only under your leadership could we have gone from a lead of eighteen hundred votes to a lead of one hundred fifty votes.’ He laughed heartily. He knew and I knew that his leadership in Florida had been vital.”

“After one late-night rally, my six-year-old granddaughter, Kate, climbed into the seat next to me on the campaign plane. ‘Grandpa,’ she said, ‘if you win, will you come to school as my show-and-tell?’ ‘You only want me if I win?’ I asked. ‘Yep,’ she answered. … [S]o on a snowy February morning, I was Kate’s show-and-tell. My impression was that most of her fellow first-graders were more interested in my Secret Service agents than in Kate’s old grandpa, but I’ll never forget the huge smile on her face as I walked into the classroom.”

“[A]nd why apologize when the British had, in fact, reported that Iraq had sought a significant amount of uranium in Africa? THE SIXTEEN WORDS WERE TRUE.”

“Our choice incensed the White House press pool and the rest of the mainstream media … But … the last thing on my mind was whether I was irritating the New York Times.”

“And, it pains me to note, so did his boss, Colin Powell, whom Armitage told he was [Robert] Novak’s source on October 1, 2003. Less than a week later, … there was a cabinet meeting. … [T]he press came in for a photo opportunity, and there were questions about who had leaked the information that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. The president said he didn’t know, but wanted the truth. Thinking back, I realize that one of the few people in the world who could have told him the truth, Colin Powell, was sitting right next to him.”

“Given the opposition of politicians and the public to putting more troops in Iraq, George Bush was truly courageous to order a new strategy and the surge of troops to carry it out. The next ten months ratified his brave decision. Our troops, together with the Iraqis, defeated the insurgency, dealt a severe blow to al Qaeda, and created a secure environment so that the Iraqi political process could begin to take hold. When historians look back, George Bush’s decision will stand out as one that made a difference for millions and put history on a better track.”

“It is impossible for me not to make a comparison with George Bush in 2007. When President Bush surged troops into Iraq, he encountered significant pressures to reverse course, but he continued in the face of opposition, increasing American forces in order to implement the counterinsurgency strategy that enabled us to prevail. He did not allow domestic political considerations to interfere with his responsibilities as commander in chief.”

“I remember thinking how grounded the president was through the whole economic ordeal. He kept perspective and was very good at handling pressure. He dealt effectively with some of the most difficult and complex issues any president has had to face.”

“I have some medical choices to make in the future, but I’m doing well for now. … I have some fishing planned. … I have reached the biblical three score and ten, and a man who can look back on the things I have seen and the people I have known has no grounds for complaint.”

“My daughter Liz was my collaborator and the CEO of our book team. … It is a rare blessing to have reason to spend so many hours of quality time telling your daughter about your life and work. My wife, Lynne, and my daughter Mary helped with the book as well, making this truly a family project … Mary Matalin has lived this project since its inception … We all treasure her wise counsel and her friendship. … Bob Barnett was a skillful representative … and we have benefited from his sage counsel every step of the way.”

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