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Report Claims Cheney Advised Bush to Bomb Syria

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney (file photo)

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney (file photo)

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in a memoir obtained by the New York Times, says he urged former President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in 2007.

The report says Cheney advised Bush to take "military action against the reactor," which was attacked by Israel a short time later. Cheney says his advice was turned down by the president and his advisers in favor of a diplomatic approach.

Cheney's autobiography, entitled, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, also speaks critically about several members of the Bush administration.

The New York Times report says Cheney accuses former Secretary of State Colin Powell of trying to undermine President Bush by privately expressing doubts about the Iraq war, saying Powell's resignation in 2004 was "for the best." Cheney also chastises Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice, saying she was naive during her negotiations with North Korea over nuclear weapons.

While Cheney acknowledges that he underestimated the challenges of invading Iraq in 2003, he continued to defend his stance on tough interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding," denying that such practices amount to torture.

In a recent television interview, the former vice president, who has a long history of heart disease, said that he kept a secret resignation letter locked in a safe in case he became incapacitated. Cheney says he prepared the letter shortly after taking office in 2001.

Cheney's memoir is set to be published by Simon & Schuster next week.