Former press secretary’s book bashes Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) – Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that President Bush relied on an aggressive “political propaganda campaign” instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war, and that the decision to invade pushed Bush’s presidency “terribly off course.’
The Bush White House made “a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed” – a time when the nation was on the brink of war, McClellan writes in the book entitled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”
The way Bush managed the Iraq issue “almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.”
“In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage,” McClellan writes.[..]
McClellan called the Iraq war a “serious strategic blunder,” a surprisingly harsh assessment from the man who was at that time the loyal public voice of the White House who had followed Bush to Washington from Texas.
“The Iraq war was not necessary,” he concludes. “Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake.”
McClellan admits that some of his own words from the podium in the White House briefing room turned out to be “badly misguided.” But he says he was sincere at the time.
“When words I uttered, believing them to be true, were exposed as false, I was constrained by my duties and loyalty to the president and unable to comment,” he said. “But I promised reporters and the public that I would someday tell the whole story of what I knew.”
The former press secretary – the second of four so far in Bush’s presidency – explained his dramatic shift from loyal defender to fierce critic as a difficult act of personal contrition, a way, he wrote, to learn from his mistakes, be true to his Christian faith and become a better person.
“I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be,” McClellan writes. He also blames the media whose questions he fielded, calling them “complicit enablers” in the White House campaign to manipulate public opinion toward the need for war.
McClellan said Bush loyalists will no doubt continue to think the administration’s decisions have been correct and its unpopularity undeserved. “I’ve become genuinely convinced otherwise,” he said.
The book is scheduled to go on sale June 1.
I’d have been impressed if he had come out with this in 2003 or even early 2004 when it might have done some good. As it is, it only appears that he is trying to save his own skin. He seems to think that, in some way, by writing this book his name will not be associated with the most corrupt and deceitful presidency and administration in American history.
Too late, Scotty. You should have spoken up sooner. What you write may come as a revelation to a few people, but most of us have been aware of the truth for quite a while now. We won’t be wasting our money on your sniveling attempt to save your own soul. Good luck with that, by the way.
P.S. Circle this date on your calendars, kids. Today I actually agreed with something Karl Rove said. That does not happen often.
“If he had these moral qualms, he should have spoken up about them.”