Aide: Dick Cheney fears arrest for war crimes

Aug. 31, 2011 at 9:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A former aide to one-time U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says former Vice President Dick Cheney fears he will be tried as a war criminal.

Cheney's memoir, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," hit the bookshelves Tuesday, and piles criticisms and attacks on many colleagues during George W. Bush's administration, especially Powell, whom Cheney accused of undermining Bush.

However, Powell's chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, told ABC News Cheney "was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration" and "fears being tried as a war criminal."

On Sunday, Powell called Cheney's criticism "cheap shots" on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

Wilkerson said he's known Cheney for decades, but now, "I simply don't recognize Mr. Cheney anymore," ABC News reported Tuesday.

Wilkerson called the former vice president a "very vindictive person."

"I think he's just trying to, one, assert himself so he's not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him," Wilkerson said.

He said Cheney may have experienced "angst" because he received deferments instead of serving in the Vietnam War as Wilkerson and others in the administration did.

Cheney, Wilkerson said, "seems to criticize everyone … except himself. … Cheney was a good secretary of defense in my view. In fact I would put him up amongst the top three in the short history of the position. No longer do I feel that way, and I don't know what happened to Cheney."

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