Last night, Iraq war architect Douglas Feith appeared on The Daily Show to discuss his war apologia, War and Decision. When Stewart said that many Americans feel the Bush administration misled them into war, Feith replied, “Errors are not lies. I think a lot of what the Administration said was correct.”
Feith insisted that the entire administration conducted a “serious consideration of the very great risks of war.” When Stewart reminded Feith that those risks were never presented to the public, Feith said he was wrong, and that people who felt that way simply “misremembered” the run-up to war:
STEWART: If you knew the perils, but the conversation that you had with the public painted a rosier picture, how is that not deception? The fact that you seemed to know all the risks takes this from manslaughter to homicide. […]
FEITH: When people read this book, I think people will be surprised to be reminded of what was actually said. I think a lot of people’s perceptions of what was said are filtered through the recent history. … I think they misremember a lot.
It’s Feith’s memory, not Americans’, that is faulty here. In January, a Center for Public Integrity study documented the more than 930 false statements made by the Bush Administration in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Feith has shut his eyes to the evidence for months, laughably claiming that the administration never said the war would be easy, even though the White House frequently — and famously — peddled just that notion.
As the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss puts it, “Doug Feith is only small part of a bigger story, an ideologically hidebound bureaucrat condemned to spend the rest of his life frantically and fruitlessly arguing against history’s overwhelmingly clear verdict on his incompetence and mendacity.”