McClellan's Grave Charge

It would be easy to think of Scott McClellan's new book as a piece of dish, designed for sales, pitched for controversy, packed with juicy detail. And it is that, of course. But it is also something more. It is an argument by a man very, very close to the president, and deputed to be his spokesman for many years, that the president deliberately deceived the country about the reasons for going to war. We're not talking mistakes here; we're talking about a deliberate shading of the truth to hide the real motivation for risking the lives of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians:

In Iraq, McClellan added, Bush saw "his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness," something McClellan said Bush has said he believes is only available to wartime presidents.

The president's real motivation for the war, he said, was to transform the Middle East to ensure an enduring peace in the region. But the White House effort to sell the war as necessary due to the stated threat posed by Saddam Hussein was needed because "Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would almost certainly not support a war launched primarily for the ambitions purpose of transforming the Middle East," McClellan wrote.

"Rather than open this Pandora's Box, the administration chose a different path not employing out-and-out deception, but shading the truth," he wrote of the effort to convince the world that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, an effort he said used "innuendo and implication" and "intentional ignoring of intelligence to the contrary."

"President Bush managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option," McClellan concluded, noting, "The lack of candor underlying the campaign for war would severely undermine the president's entire second term in office."

If this is true, if the president intentionally ignored data refuting the existence of Saddam's WMDs, he should be impeached.

 

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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