Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims that President Obama's policies are putting the nation at risk have no basis, especially since most of the programs and procedures the Bush administration enacted have been continued or heightened under the Obama tenure.
Powell pointed to the ending of waterboarding as an interrogation tool and the success of criminal courts to try terror suspects, both during the Bush administration, as examples of why Cheney's claims of less safety are not "born out by the facts." Powell supported the Obama administration's preference of criminal courts over military commissions for suspects, including 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Christmas day attacker Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who, Powell pointed out, would get a lawyer in a military commission as well as in a civilian court.
Asked about progress in Iraq, Powell, who championed the invasion as secretary of state, said history will be the ultimate judge of events there. He said mistakes were made after the initial fall of Baghdad, but he said he hopes the Iraqi government will seize control of the opportunity they've been given by the United States.
He cautioned fellow conservatives who call President Obama a socialist, saying rough-and-tumble politics is nothing new, but to constantly criticize without attempting to offer new ideas is not productive.
"Have we so lost our faith in this country that we think one person, one man, can suddenly change our entire system?" Powell asked. "That's kind of absurd."