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Category

 Political

Published

 May, 2008

Synopsis

 Ex-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's New Book

With Friends Like These…
By Al Owens

Ok, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you STILL think the war in Iraq was started with this nation’s national security in mind?

Just what I thought. John McCain and George W. Bush you can put your hands down. You’ve been out voted by an entire nation.
That number will probably include everybody on planet Earth when former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book lands on book shelves next week.

Even the book’s title, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," won’t be helpful to current presidents and presidential aspirants who cling fast to the notion that Iraq’s national security was (and is) inextricably bound to our own.

Excerpts from the 341 page book were released late last year and they produced a ripple. But large chunks of the book were released earlier this week, and they’re producing a political tsunami.

McClellan, who’d been the president’s press secretary from July of 2003 until April of 2006, seems to know where all the administration’s bodies are buried, even if one of them is his own.

McClellan claims, regarding the build-up to the war in Iraq, the president and some of his key advisers, “confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war."

I’m not going to call the President of the United States a liar. I don’t have to. McClellan just did.

Propaganda is a mighty strong word, especially when it’s used to contrast it with the words candor and honesty.

Tell-all books from disgruntled ex-employees are nothing new. But this is a tell-all book from somebody who once got paid to tell-all as a White House mouthpiece, but who now admits he only told-some.

Even in the book’s preface, McClellan tees off on all the president’s men - and women.
He writes that he’s not sure how history will judge the war, but, "What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

When the original book excerpts were released last year, McClellan indicated he’d been sent out to feed the media information about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plaime that he’d find out weren’t true.

The White House transcript for October 13th, 2003, indicates that McClellan repeatedly told reporters that White House insiders Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams and Lewis “Scooter” Libby had assured him they didn’t have anything to do with leaking Plaime’s CIA credentials to the news media.
"I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood," McClellan writes.

Rove wasted no time responding to the latest set of excerpts. (He’s currently an on-air Fox News contributor. That, I might add, probably makes him even more of a White House partisan than when he actually worked in the White House)
Rove claims the book reflects McClellan’s “irresponsibility,” and that McClellan was really “out of the loop” at the time.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino weighed in with the official White House response.

Now, here’s where I have a real problem, because the current White House Press Secretary is commenting on a previous White House Press Secretary, who has serious claims he was marched out before the press with a handful of fibs.

So I am not willing to believe the current White House Press Secretary’s statements that, “We’re puzzled. We’re sad. This is not the Scott we knew.”
I’m going to reserve judgment on Perino’s statements until she releases HER book.

Meanwhile, McClellan’s charge that Bush was part of another bit of deception is even more troubling.

That while the White House was in a “state of denial” regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a photograph was basically staged of the president gazing out a window on Air Force One at the storm damage on the ground.

The president may respond to that charge when he finally reads McClellan’s book. Right now, he’s finishing the book he’s currently reading – My Pet Goat.