The Politico reports that former White House press secretary Scott McCellan’s new memoir pretty much confirms what we already knew about the invasion of Iraq: It was sold to the American public with a sophisticated “political propaganda campaign” aimed at “manipulating sources of public opinion” :
In a chapter titled “Selling the War,” [McClellan] alleges that the administration repeatedly shaded the truth and that Bush “managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.”
“Over that summer of 2002,” he writes, “top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war. . . . In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage.”
McClellan, once a staunch defender of the war from the podium, comes to a stark conclusion, writing, “What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”
So, McClellan now admits that, back when he was accusing the Bush administration’s critics of politicizing national security, he was fully aware that it was actually the Bush administration that was politicizing national security. No points for candor, Scott.
But McClellan obviously has not read Doug Feith’s book. If he had, he would know that there was no manipulation of intelligence, only “honest error,” and that the error wasn’t Doug Feith’s, it was the CIA’s.
Writing in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Feith lamented “the damage to the president’s credibility…caused by the CIA’s errors on Iraqi WMD.” Feith neglects to mention that it was he, and his Office of Special Plans operation, who reinterpreted the CIA’s data, removed important qualifiers relating to Iraqi WMD, and then passed the new machined intelligence on to the White House. So, if the CIA was wrong, and it was, Feith was even more wrong.
Last week, continuing his life’s work of trying to repair his (justly) shattered reputation, Feith also insisted that “what we found in Iraq was a serious WMD threat,” by which he meant Saddam’s intention to someday reconstitute a WMD program. McClellan could have Feith in mind when he states that President Bush and his 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.”