POLITICS

Dick Cheney stirs controversy in upcoming book

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney writes in his new memoir that President George W. Bush rejected his advice in 2007 to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site in Syria.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Cheney says he was "a lone voice" for military action against Syria. Other advisers were reluctant, Cheney says, because of "the bad intelligence we had received about Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction" before the 2003 invasion of that country.

The Israelis bombed the Syrian site later in 2007.

Cheney's autobiography, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," also discusses his history of health problems, including multiple heart attacks. In an interview Wednesday with NBC News, Cheney said he had a secret resignation letter signed and stored in a safe in case he became incapacitated.

Cheney said he signed the resignation letter in March 2001, about two months after taking office. Only Bush and one of the vice president's staff members knew the letter existed.

In his book, Cheney writes that he was unconscious for weeks after heart surgery in 2010, The Times reported.

The newspaper said Cheney's book includes criticism of other members of Bush's administration. He accuses former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of naivete and says he believed former Secretary of State Colin Powell tried to undermine Bush "by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government." Powell's resignation after the 2004 election "was for the best," Cheney writes.

'No regrets' about waterboarding suspects

Cheney also says he has "no regrets" about the harsh interrogation policies the Bush administration pursued in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The often controversial Cheney also says "I don't know why" former President George W. Bush should feel betrayed by insider information he reveals in his new memoir.

Asked in an NBC interview if he still embraces waterboarding, Cheney says, "I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk."

And he says former CIA Director George Tenet's decision to resign in 2004 - "when the going got tough" - was "unfair to the president."

"In My Time" will be published next week by Simon & Schuster. Cheney was a lightning-rod for criticism during Bush's presidency, accused by opponents of often advocating a belligerent U.S. stance in world affairs.

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