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Dick Cheney book controversy heats up

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"There are gonna be heads exploding all over Washington," Dick Cheney told NBC Monday night. The subject in question? The former vice president's book "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir." The book officially hit bookstore shelves today.

In the book, Cheney defends his support of waterboarding and the war in Iraq. "I was a big advocate of pursuing controversial policies in order to keep the country safe, and obviously the critics extracted their pound of flesh for that," he told Matt Lauer in an interview on the "Today" show.

The critics may have extracted a pound of flesh in the past, but many are back -- heads exploding or not -- with their own take on the statements in Cheney's book.

Colin Powell, former secretary of State, called Cheney's statements about him and Condoleezza Rice "cheap shots." He went on to add, "My head isn't exploding. I haven't noticed any other heads exploding in Washington, D.C."

Conservative commentator George Will said, "Five hundred and sixty five pages and a simple apology would have been in order in some of them. Which is to say, the great fact of those eight years was we went to war -- big war, costly war -- under false pretenses."

The Atlantic lists the reasons "why Americans loathe Dick Cheney," including the war in Iraq, Halliburton, the NSA spying on innocent Americans and using waterboarding in interrogations.

"Cheney defends the indefensible," Human Rights Watch blogs. "To be clear, interrogation techniques Cheney is defending include forms of torture outlawed under both U.S. and international law.

Longtime Powell aide Col. Lawrence Wilkerson described Cheney as a "very vindictive person" to ABC News, saying that Cheney "was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration."

Not that saying someone was in charge is necessarily a bad thing. Cheney is certainly at the center of the political discussion today, and maybe tomorrow. He'll continue making media appearances to support his book, "In My Time."

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Dick Cheney's "In My Time" already making waves

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Dick Cheney, right, interviewed by Matt Lauer on the "Today" show Tuesday. Credit: / Peter Kramer / NBC / Associated Press Photos

 
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