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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) - In May 1990, CNN asked me to serve as its Pentagon correspondent. I was expecting a relatively slow news story since the Cold War was winding down. I thought I would spend most of my time covering base closings and new weapons systems. That was not to be because Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait that August.
It was during the six months of Operation Desert Shield and the six weeks of Operation Desert Storm that I really got to know then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell. They were the leaders of the U.S. military. They became the chief spokesmen for the war buildup and then for the war itself.
During those days, they seemed to be a highly efficient team. They closely coordinated their public and private strategies. In short, they worked well together serving President George H.W. Bush. We used to talk about a Cheney-Powell doctrine.
Flash forward to the years after 9/11 when they again were serving a different President Bush. Things clearly had changed. Cheney, of course, was vice president; Powell was secretary of state. I began to hear grumblings from their respective aides during those years that things were not necessarily all that smooth between them. “No love lost,” I remember one top adviser saying.
I was surprised given what I thought was a strong partnership that had been forged during the first Gulf War.
Now, with the publication of Cheney’s memoir, I can see that that “no love lost” comment was clearly an understatement. Cheney is blunt in blasting Powell.
And even though the book is not officially being released until tomorrow, Powell already has responded with a direct counterassault on his former boss.
All of which goes to show you that relationships here in Washington aren’t always what they seem to be.
I’ll be interviewing Cheney next Tuesday. You’ll see the interview in “The Situation Room.” As you can imagine, I have lots of questions.
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