War Against the American People – McClellan Speaks

Scottmcclellanspinfactory "…in a chapter titled "Selling the War," he 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." "  WAPO


" "If I had served my God", the Cardinal said remorsefully, "as diligently as I did my king, He would not have given me over.." " (Wiki)

Change a couple of words and this probably will serve as an epitaph for Scott McClellan.  Perhaps if McClellan had had the welfare of his country closer to his heart than the idea of service to his emperor then fate might have been kinder to him.  Or perhaps not; duty is a hard thing.   "Duty is the most sublime word in the English language"   Apparently, McClellan has only recently developed a sense of duty that the epigramist would have understood.

McClellan’s book will be believed by those who have known or suspected the truth of the massive and continuing propaganda campaigns waged by the Bushies and the Jacobin flatheads.  It will not be accepted by those who still believe that Saddam hid his nuclear program in a lake somewhere, or in Syria or maybe in Ruritania.  In the end his book will have little impact.  I hope it makes him a few dollars.  He will need them.  In Texas where the easily deceived seem legion, he will find it hard to go home again.

Ntryptich_3 I recommend meditation in the Rothko Chapel in Houston as a kind of way station on his journey to the future.

The administration manipulated the "sources" of public opinion?  Really?  Can that be?  (irony alert)  The administration and its Ziocon allies systematically drove truth speakers out of the public square? Really?  Well, folks, the American people were stupid enough and gullible enough to have allowed that….  Are we to believe that the American people have become smarter and more discerning in the eternity of the last years?

The media?  Has the catastrophe of our foreign policy changed the media?  Let us see how much "play" McClellan’s book receives.  pl




This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Fine Art, Prose, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to War Against the American People – McClellan Speaks

  1. linda says:

    remarkable to me is the surprised tone of the wapo story this a.m. apparently, short-term memory loss is rampant among the villagers, because they failed to recall this statement that confirmed what many of us dirty, effing hippies knew from the getgo — the invasion of iraq was nothing about national security and everything about w’s insecurity:
    White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card once famously said of the administration’s 2002 campaign to get support for the invasion of Iraq, ”From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

  2. Duncan Kinder says:

    Another aspect of this is how his book is treated abroad.
    < a href="http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/2008/05/selling_the_iraq_war_former_bu.html">Here is the British Guardian’s response.
    Domestically, in a healthy society, the Iraq War would have caused a major shakeup in the leadership not only of the government but of the media and of other sectors as well.
    Needless to say, that has not happened.

  3. jonst says:

    “Perhaps if McClellan had had the welfare of his country closer to his heart than the idea of service to his emperor then fate might have been kinder to him.”
    Ah, but that is the rub, is it not. Rhetorical question…I know you know the answer as well, or, more likely, better, than I do.
    If thoughts like that were in his area code, never mind his mind and his heart, he would not have gotten within hailing distance of the real power in this nation.

  4. searp says:

    My only complaint with this rant was that I do not think “the American people” have any short-term control at all over what is presented to them as “news”.
    It took a while to burn through the propaganda, but it seems to me that in spite of the obfuscations of the Fourth Estate the people got to the truth about our war in Iraq: dumb at the outset, and too costly in every single way.

  5. Cujo359 says:

    It will not be accepted by those who still believe that Saddam hid his nuclear program in a lake somewhere, or in Syria or maybe in Ruritania. In the end his book will have little impact.
    I’ve always suspected Santa Claus, personally. What does he carry on those return trips to the Pole?
    As for your questions, no, I don’t think people are any smarter, really. We were fooled like this forty years ago, when LBJ manipulated the truth about Vietnam. If we weren’t prepared to be deceived by our government after that, we certainly can’t claim to be smarter.
    The press in this country have been turned into a joke. The best traditional news companies rarely dare to scratch the surface. The remainder seem like little more than propaganda outlets for their corporate sponsors and their owners.
    If anything, things are worse, I think.

  6. The cynical answer would be that those who pay the piper (big business: financiers, Wall Street, the last four industrialists who remain American) are now ready to call a halt to this warmongering. Finally they realize it might not be so good for business to spill American blood and treasure in a distant desert.
    But I don’t want to be so cynical. Maybe our prayers are being answered???

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    Rant? Rant? “Guards, kill this man!” pl

  8. zanzibar says:

    Is this the way that falling empires fade into the dust? Where the people who are supposedly sovereign are so easily deceived?
    Its not just in Texas that the easily deceived are legion. Pretty much every sentient American knows that there was a major information operation to propagandize the American people to invade and occupy Iraq. That fear was the tactic used to destroy the fundamental principles of our constitution from habeas corpus, torture and spying on citizens. Liberty was stripped with nary a squeak. The corporate media was an active collaborator in the effort. The Pentagon pundit management is an excellent example. Elected “leaders” of both parties were either active participants or complicit in the deception.
    Yet there is no constituency demanding accountability.
    Like Iran-Contra all will be “forgotten” to enable the perpetrators to once again rise to play their fantasy.
    Our 200 year experiment with constitutional democracy is effectively over the oligarchs have won and the sovereign gave up without a fight.

  9. jon says:

    Looks like McClellan is auditioning for the speaking circuit, op-eds and punditry. Maybe McCain needs a little help soon? If McClellan can rehab his reputation and put some distance between himself and Bush, he might just be able to avoid the undertow and the edifice goes under.
    McClellan’s position is similar to Powell’s: If he didn’t know any better, it shows poor judgement. If he did know better, then he was lying and has sold his soul, which also renders him unfit to serve.
    It’s as if we’ve interiorized the willing suspension of disbelief needed to become engrossed in a novel. All we ask now is to be told a good story, without too many ill-fitting parts or visible supporting apparatus creaking too closely to the center of our vision. An amusing, full throated and preposterous lie will do just fine. Just make sure it’s a good story.
    And yes, the press fell down on the job. They haven’t gotten up, either. But that hardly excuses the Administration from lying, stonewalling and prevaricating with every breath.
    Perhaps Mr. McClellan could be persuaded to dilate a bit on his statements, while under oath?
    The excerpts of the book do suggest that McClellan has identified the Administration’s disdain for actual governance. Rather, they treated the government as a candy store to be ransacked at their pleasure, doled out to favored friends, and manipulated to make them look good, heedless oof what they leave in their wake. ‘Apres moi, le deluge!’
    Also notable, was the decision making process involved in Bush’s denial that he ever did cocaine. It revolved around his being so high on everything else that he really couldn’t remember.
    An assiduous press might have asked for clarifications: what color pills, snorting or shooting, fungal, cacti or pharmaceutical, baggies or bushels? Conveniently it seems that the final year of his National Guard ‘service’ also fell into a similar black hole.
    The portrait of the Administration that emerges is unworthy of Rothko’s subtle tonalities. It is simply craven, incompetent and arrogant, but of unimaginable, suffocating vastness.

  10. John Howley says:

    What the Bush camp failed to appreciate was the extent to which the post-WWII order that so benefited the United States was based on the Rule of Law, both international and domestic.
    Sure, there were violations and exceptions but they were understood to be deviations from the Norm of Law.
    The testing time nears. Will there be hearings, investigations and trials? (Not now, after the elections, silly!) Or will all be swept under the rug?
    This is critical not only for citizens of the United States (hey! wake up!) but also for elites around the world who are wondering about the wisdom of continuing to hitch their wagons to Uncle Sam.
    Or make other arrangements.

  11. Charles I says:

    Wow, that’s one bleak way station. Looks discomfortingly unidirectional – away from the white light. . .
    So shame on Scottie for not rearing up on his hind legs for a spot of confession before cashing this cheque, we’re all appalled, its deja vu all over again.
    But as a recovering Leninist (yes, Pat, a poly sci student) goddammit, What Is To Be Done? Only blogging this train wreck? It won’t be stopped? Taking Russia out of WW I is as good as it gets in the throw-a-spanner-in-the-skoda dept? Couldn’t somebody poke Colin Powell or SOMEBODY in the ass or the conscience, get ’em to stand up and say “We shouldn’t do this, this is crazy, everybody take ten slow deep breaths and THINK with the brains God gave us?” Is there no troublesome Cardinal to be found in all the land? Where is the constituency Zanzibar looks for? Only here? What the hell is in that koolaid?
    Er, those aren’t rhetorical questions from this Canadian. Nobody can/will stop this?
    And Leila, sadly, the industrialists don’t give a whit for war or peace. All their risk, all the U.S. indebtedness, the oil prices, global instability, speculation, consumer confidence, lack thereof, donkey or elephant, its all been seamlessly incorporated into a globalized financial whirlygig that hedges all their bets, insures returns and mobility while depositing losses (as economic costs, ie a car plant closure) into the local economy as they walk out the door, bank card in hand, headed for tomorrow’s leaner, greener, pasture, and the fantastic new bubbles they will grow there.
    They will, however, stick around to purchase the capital stock of your government’s services, parts of which they shall rent back to you, some in in garishly mutated form, – ie the Homeland Security/GWOT industries – generating a subsistence service economy of mcjobs . . . generating the tax revenues to pay the cost plus contracts. . . .
    Like, won’t the Chinese be using just a wee bit less oil for a few months? Doesn’t matter, some futures guy somewhere nips that in bud even while foreseeing increased Chinese oil imports later, as the full extent of damage to the coal economy and hydroelectric generation emerges next winter. . . No, don’t be looking to anybody with money bulging out of their pockets for anything but the narrowest, most liquid of perspectives – which cannot take in the greater interests of the greater good, or we’d all be rich.

  12. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    So, we now hear the bleatings from a newly contrite Scott McClellan, a modern day prodigal son yearning to put the past behind him. ‘Scuse me if I demur to slaughter a fatted calf to celebrate his return, let alone forgive his complicity in selling the atrocity in the Middle East.
    In other news, that eccentric ex-peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, has gone off the reservation yet again. Not that you will hear anything reported (or at least anything accurately reported) about the things that he had to say in our ever dependable Corporate Media here in Eternal Rome.
    I mean, who exactly does this guy think he is, some sort of expert at bringing together implacable enemies or something? Now if he had something like the Camp David Accords to his credit, he might have something to offer. Oh, well then…hmm. Somebody say something about a Concert of Nations?

  13. egl says:

    “Perhaps if McClellan had had the welfare of his country closer to his heart than the idea of service to his emperor then fate might have been kinder to him. Or perhaps not; duty is a hard thing.”
    Substitute “Colin Powell” for “McClellan”.

  14. Montag says:

    Scotty is truly “a man for all seasons.” I love how Bush’s enablers carp that such a book shouldn’t have been published during Bush’s term. They’re not against Freedom of the Press, mind you, just inconvenient Freedom of the Press. No doubt if Scotty had waited until Bush left office they would have criticized him for that too.

  15. Will says:

    Sociologist James Petras’ term “Zioncon.” Glad to see it gaining circulation.
    Of course the Zioncons control the media as well as the government.
    Part of the consequence of the IQ shift. American Jews have an average IQ of 115. No big deal on the surface, but an astounding impact on the shoulders of the Gaussian or bell shaped curve of distribution. One of every four Americans with an IQ of over 140 is a Jewish Americans. This is where the action is– people with IQ’s in the exceptional range. 30% of the student body of Yale, Harvard- etc. 13 U.S. Senators, 43 representatives. Not bad for 2% of the population.
    Wish they were not with notable exceptions so attached to the settlement of the West Bank to the detriment of the indigenous population and the harm to the soul of these United States and its principles, to wit:
    Human Rights in a Nutshell
    United States Declaration of Independence We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    United States Constitution Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    No, you may not. Powell proved himself to be a good courtier not a good soldier.
    The media drivel about a “good soldier” being someone who behaves with “corpse like” obedience is just that. pl

  17. In an administration as full of rats as the presidency of George II, it surprises me not in the least that Scott McClellan would finally spill his guts about what happened in the White House these past few years. I mean, did anyone really think that little piss hound of a man (McClellan) would not do as much as he possibly could to blame someone else for the lies and criminal fraud that he and his buddies colluded to put forth about the war, Katrina, Climate Change, Tax Cuts…
    Here was a guy who went along with it at every step of the way. And now he has a book about it, bemoaning the lies and dishonesty of his former comrades in arms. Too bad he was about 5 years to late.
    He could have done something to alert the American public early on (before the war started) and told them what Dick and George had in store (Abu Graib, Guantonamo, Extrajudicial Rendition, spying on your email) but instead, he went along, just doing his job, only following orders, a “Good German” I guess you could say.
    Scott McClellan is a pasty faced, lying, rat. He was a rat when he was working for George W Bush, and he’s still a rat now that he’s working for himself.
    SubKommander Dred

  18. PeterE says:

    Judging from the comments on McClellan by people such as “SubKommander Dred”, McClellan is as least as bad as Cheney, or perhaps worse, because he was tardy in spilling the beans.
    Am I missing something? McClellan didn’t make decisions; he was a loyal Republican follower of Bush from whom information was kept; he will pay a price for his book (while making a great deal of money). He’s not among the angels, but he has a fair degree of moral courage. The spleen of these comments seems petty and craven to me. We should be grateful that the book has been written– at a time in which we have a Republican candidate who endorses Bush’s position and a media and punditry that are still on the whole shills for the Bush agenda.

  19. kennyb says:

    You people amaze me. The fact that this turncoat now plays your preferred brand of muzak in your echo chamber automatically makes him credible, when previously he wasn’t?
    “Texas where the easily deceived seem legion”??? I would say sic semper tyrannis wins this round.

  20. Paul says:

    Whenever dealing with the U.S. Government, the public is required to “execute” (sign and swear) some form of certificate that places them in legal jeopardy if they lied or misled about the facts.
    Even without a certificate, one can be held liable for factual repressentation (or misrepresentations.
    Bush/Cheney/McClellan did not say: “we think they have WMDs”; they emphatically stated that “they have WMDs”. (I personally think that Bush is too slow to think as he speaks; indeed he has a tendency to express things as if they are facts.)
    McClellan may make a few bucks on his book, but he is part and parcel of a conspiracy that “misprepresented” the situation leading to the invasion of Iraq. They should be held criminally liable for their spoken deeds.
    Maybe the incoming admistration will have the balls to go after these guys.

  21. Will says:

    Of course as far as Will is concerned, I refuse to use the terms Zioncon or Neocon, prefering ZionKon and NeoKon, because these these Flathead Jacobin people know nothing of Conservation.
    Likewise I prefer the French spelling of Iraq, namely Irak- because they invaded the Irak of their dreams as they fantasized it- not the real flesh and blood one that existed.

  22. meletius says:

    I’m glad for the memoir while still condemning the man. “Better late than never” is the about the best we can hope for for the Bushists’ sense of public service–not good enough by far, Scotty, but thanks for the confirmation of what we knew all along.
    Not that it will matter in the least, unfortunately, to the “deliberations” of the republic, to the extent we even have “deliberations”. The president’s press sec declares that he (and his boss) engaged in a “propaganda campaign” in selling and presenting a war while carrying out his official duties. The Congress yawns, the Press declares it “old news” and hardly asks a single question. Pass the vodka.
    As for Pinhead Majority, they were well aware of all McClellan says as of Nov 2004 yet couldn’t find any reason not to reward Bushco with another term—Bush had done so much to deserve it, of course!
    Pinhead Majority will do no better this time around, whatever the corporate press decides to present as the “issues” of the presidential “campaign”, ha-ha.

  23. Very interesting to see the comments on this posting. White House lead press officials really reverse the “Beware the Trust of Princes” guidance as in “Beware the Trust of White House Press Officers.” They knowingly accept a position that will require the truth to be compromised on behalf of their Prince but if any morality left they are shamed and made guilty by that fact. Eventually depending on their character confession seems to sooth their soul. But let’s face it, Congress allows this charade to go on. Now with missing e-mails even the history of the war-runup will be distorted. But there is ultimately a test of Presidential actions and words, whether through the Press Office or otherwise (Speeches) in that deeds not words become very significant. And now after 5 years it becomes time to ask what are the benefits of that invasion and who exactly has received those benefits from the invasion of Iraq and in what form did they recieve them and how. We know many of the costs, but now it is time to examine the benefits, if any? This may be the only accurate way to assess this White House’s words and ultimately actions. Certainly the dead and wounded on all sides did not benefit. Certainly it appears long-term damage done to US institutions and international standing. So again what are the benefits from this invasion? Time to weigh the benefits versus costs?

  24. Patrick Lang says:

    Are you interested at all in whether or not what McClellan says is true?
    Tucker Carlson said quite clearly last night on “Hardball” that trying to start a social revolution in the Middle East by invading Iraq is not a conservative idea. He said that it is a “utopian” idea.
    I agree with that. Do you? pl

  25. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Does he explain WHY Bush went to war? WHY the White House went to war? Not just that they lied about it, which we already knew.
    Also, perhaps SST lawyer-readers can indicate whether we are reaching issues relating to treason as more light is cast on the decision-deception for war? Or to misprision of treason, also a federal offense, for which see:
    2. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/2382.html

  26. Propagandist says:

    Interesting that there has been no attempt by the media to reconnect McClellan’s “disclosures” with the outing and destruction of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson or the President’s eventual commutation of the convicted Scooter Libby.
    It will be interesting to find out what McClellan has to say about this whole sorry affair.

  27. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Powell proved himself to be a good courtier not a good soldier.
    Powell is a very difficult person for me. To me, a good soldier is someone who will let his objections be known, and will make his case, but ultimately will do what he’s told (or resign if possible). For a long time I believed he was being a good soldier by trying to reign in the madness from the inside, and making his case, but he was ultimately forced to decide whether staying inside and doing what he was told or resigning were the best options. I think he may have felt he could do some good by staying inside. And that was not true.
    That’s my view from off the top of my head.

  28. Bill W, NH says:

    Just think again if Bush,Cheney, and Cabinet had done the right and honorable thing by resigning on Sep 12th, 2001 for their abject failure to protect the USA’s airspace, Scotty wouldn’t have become the liar that he is. I’m sure he was honorable once but now it’s too late.

  29. Peter VE says:

    I hope the boy has a remote starter on his car. He really seems to have poked the “liberal” media where it hurts.

  30. James Pratt says:

    I suppose the President might be comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln again, who had a former subordinate named McClellan turn on him, too.
    This book is valuable, as are those by Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke in making a future attempt to revise history a bit harder. If those nefarious New York publishers who are reputed to have corrupted Scott McClellan could repeat the feat with Steven Hadley, David Addington, or Scooter Libby that would be even better.

  31. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    As for the American “news” media, as is well known to the world it is held in concentrated ownership by “pro-Israel” interests. These interests were only too happy to push the White House line for war.
    There were a few brave souls, editorial writers, who opposed the Iraq War in print. As a sometime working journalist myself, I respect them.
    BUT, American journalists, like others, have considerations of their jobs, their careers, their spouses, their children’s college payments, their mortgage payments and all the rest. Not a good career move to be perceived as “anti-Israel”.
    Just ask the pro-Zionist media watchdog CAMERA
    or Israeli-based HonestReporting
    A “free” press in America??? Well now….
    As for Colin Powell, his son, Michael, had a fat job in the Bush Administration (hold over from Clinton Admin). Nepotism?
    And Michael “backed a change in media ownership rules that allowed for greater consolidation by the industry’s largest conglomerates.”
    So if the White House is lying the public into a war, and the “news” media is facilitating and spreading the lies…is the real issue the stupidity-gullibility of the American people? Or is it the manipulation of the American people by plutocratic powers of darkness over which they have no control? And no possibility of control owing to a supine Congress in the pocket of the pro-Israel interests?

  32. J says:

    virtually every u.s. mainstream media political talk show shares the blame for hyping the iraq war on behalf of the bush admin. from chris matthews’s hardball to cbsnew’s face the nation, to nbc’s meet the press, and cnn late edition, and war specials. all u.s. msm war whores (cbs, nbc, abc, cnn, fox, wapo, nytimes) who are just as culpable as the bush propaganda machine known as the white house spokesperson/asst. spokesperson office that included flescher, mcclellan, barlett, snow, perino.
    notice how the u.s. mainstream media whores are using the mcclellan item as a sideshow to cast suspicion on the fact that bush led america into a war based on lies.
    the yellow bellied corporate whores at the nytimes, wapo, washtimes, and others who gleefully echoed bush and cheney’s propaganda and lies about iraq’s non-existent wmd program in exchange for getting their media heads patted by the bush-cheney spin machine.
    what mcclellan is saying — one plus one equals two — bush propaganda machine spews lies about iraq and iraq wmds to start a unnecessary war + u.s. mainstream media whores embellish bush lies and propaganda knowing full well that the bush propaganda machine is feeding them lies = a unnecessary war based on bush-cheney lies to the nation and causes needless u.s military deaths as a result.

  33. Mark K Logan says:

    “Duty is the most sublime word in the English language” -RE Lee
    (Humor alert)
    “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.” -George Benard Shaw
    After reading the Preface of McClellans book I have the impression it will be somewhat confessional. Absolution will be given by
    some, I’m sure. He is at a
    crossroads. It could be said America is also.
    The Rothko Chapel does indeed seem an appropriate place to contemplate simple, plain truths.

  34. jdledell says:

    I place much of the blame on the mainstream media. The unquestioned acceptance of the drivel put out by politicians of all stripes is NOT journalism. The best that they can do is put two talking heads (or their print equivelent) in a “he said, she said” debate that clarifies nothing. Does the media even care about “truth” anymore? Does anyone seriously believe that something like the Washington Post expose of Watergate could happen in today’s world? Until the media wakes up and cares about “truth” nothing will change and Iraq, economic boondogles and sleazy political and business activities will continue.
    p.s.- Congress gets the other half of the blame. What a collection of gutless wimps. Congress needs some serious redesign(redistricting reform, term limits etc etc) if it is ever going to perform it’s constitutional duties satisfactorly.

  35. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Verrrry Interesting.
    Our disparate reactions to Scott McClellan’s book remind me of Arte Johnson on Laugh-In who played a German soldier who formed his view of the world by peering at it from between the fronds of a potted palm in a hotel lobby. Like Arte we will do little more than take disconnected snapshots of McClellan and his book if we don’t ask what really informed his view of his job as Bush’s press secretary. The central question is, ‘why did he write the book?’ The corollary is, ‘how did it get to that point?’
    Initially, it was McClellan’s long and positive relationship with Texas Republican politics which led to his being hired at age 32 by Karen Hughes to be then Governor Bush’s traveling press secretary during the 2000 presidential election. A graduate of the University of Texas, a former chief of staff to a Texas state senator, Scott was filled with energy, belief in the potential of George Bush and his 70 percent approval rating as Texas governor, and confident that only good would come from his election as president. He was loyal and dedicated but not politically naïve.
    When Bush assumed office, McClellan became the deputy to Bush’s first press secretary, Ari Fleisher. Fleisher resigned July 15, 2003. One day earlier, July 14, 2003, the Valerie Plame affair had erupted with the publication by Robert Novak of Plame’s previously undisclosed status as a CIA operative.
    Wikipedia describes the Plame matter: “Beginning in mid July 2003, according to federal court records, Bush administration officials, including Richard Armitage, Karl Rove, and Lewis Libby, discussed with various reporters the employment of a then classified, covert CIA officer, Valerie E. Wilson (also known as Valerie Plame).”
    Was Fleisher’s resignation a coincidence? We don’t know. It’s difficult to believe, however, that Fleisher was unaware of the machinations of Karl Rove and Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice-President Cheney, who were involved in the run-up to the Plame affair. In fact, in February of 2004 Fleisher testified in the Plame matter before the grand jury only after being granted immunity from prosecution.(Wikipedia)
    Regardless, this was a big part of the new job that McClellan took on. He inherited a major cover up that over the three years of his tenure as press secretary would lead to the criminal conviction of Lewis Libby for perjury. Not exactly the kind of thing that would endear itself to someone with McClellan’s background but something that might easily challenge him to do the best he could in order to serve the interests of his president.
    Although we don’t know how much he knew about the President’s ‘cover-up’ culture in his role as deputy to Fleisher, we can be confident that he found out a great deal more about it when he was promoted to full press secretary, a “senior White House official with a rank one step below Presidential Cabinet level.” For example, at a press briefing of October 10, 2003, McClellan, relying on personal conversations he had had with Libby and Rove, asserted to the press that the allegations of their involvement in the leak of Plame’s identify as a CIA agent were false.
    McClellan was to find out later that it was true that Libby and Rove had “misled” him, or, in effect, lied to him. After he found out he would express frustration to colleagues that his credibility had been called into question.
    Given the context to this point, one can easily infer that McClellan, despite evidence to the contrary, may have been unwilling to accept that Libby and Rove had lied to him until Libby was indicted in the Plame matter in October of 2005 for perjury and obstruction of justice. His disappointment at finally having to accept that he had been duped must have been bitter indeed and his feelings of having been betrayed hard to reconcile with his earlier hopeful expectations.
    The final nail in McClellan’s coffin of disillusionment probably came when he recognized and accepted that Rove too was likely complicit in his deception. Rove testified five times before the grand jury beginning in February of 2004. But it was not until his final appearance April 26, 2006, a week after McClellan’s resignation that the federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, decided not to indict him. By the time he resigned McClellan had lived with this problem for almost three years.
    In an article published in Salon December 16, 2005 Joe Conason viewed McClellan’s problem with Rove this way: “Rove quite consciously allowed White House press secretary Scott McClellan to mislead the press and public by denying that he had played any part in revealing Plame’s identity. (Clearly he must have lied to McClellan’s face about his involvement around that time.)”
    In October of 2005 Lewis Libby was indicted by a grand jury on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury, and false statements. Wikipedia reports that he resigned his position as chief of staff to the Vice-President October 28, 2005 “hours after the indictment.”
    Brought to trial January 8, 2007, on March 6, 2007 he was convicted on four counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. On July 2, 2007 President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence by eliminating the 30 month prison term.
    For McClellan, I believe that Libby’s and Rove’s lying to him in a way so that he could no longer view himself as a credible spokesperson for the Bush administration meant that a line had been crossed that required his resignation. He conveys clearly in his book that he had trusted his colleagues and the president and felt violated when he recognized that he had been duped into deceiving the White House press corps.
    The resignation on March 28, 2006 of Andrew Card as Bush chief of staff must have come to him as a heaven sent opportunity. McClellan’s reasons for his resignation were reported April 20, 2006 in the Washington Post. It should be noted that they correspond in their essentials to the statements he makes today.
    Peter Baker and Jim VanderHei write: “With endless patience, McClellan has absorbed months of battering at daily briefings over the president’s second-term problems. Although he never expressed it publicly, McClellan’s colleagues said he was frustrated that his credibility had been questioned after he relayed Rove’s assertion in 2003 that Bush’s top adviser had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA operative’s identity — a claim later discredited by grand jury testimony.”
    McClellan must also have known that to resign meant that he would eventually have to explain why he did it. In December of 2007 less than 18 months after his resignation, but several months before the book’s actual publication, he was sufficiently confident of its contents so as to discuss them with the media. In this way he aggressively got to work on dispelling the clouds of deception and deceit to which he had been subjected and which he believed had tainted his reputation.
    From my perspective, McClellan’s critics have it wrong when they say that they’re puzzled as to why he wrote this book. They say that this is not the man they knew and worked with. That he never, ever told them that he was upset or distressed or needed to blow the whistle. As if, were he to have done so they would have listened. Implied too in their comments is not so much anger as a hint of faux sadness that somewhere, somehow Scott McClellan has been led astray against his will. They do not seem to understand that the man may have principles.
    I also believe his critics say these things because they refuse to acknowledge that the only difference between today’s Scott McClellan and the one they believed they knew is that today he knows that he was deceived by the President of the United States and White House colleagues. Before the indictment of Libby at the end of 2005 he had no reason to believe that he was being used by the White House as a patsy, that his integrity was being violated and that his job as press secretary was perhaps being used to further criminal ends.
    When he found this out did he react in a prompt and timely way? I think he did. With Libby indicted and the prospect of Rove’s indictment not yet resolved, and with the strong possibility, later borne out after Libby’s conviction at trial, that the president and the White House would act as if neither Rove nor Libby had done anything wrong, he knew that he had no choice but to resign and acted accordingly.
    We’ll see what the future holds. I strongly believe that the only question remaining now is how useful the book and its author will be in helping to develop a better understanding of any legal action that might be taken against President Bush and his administration.

  36. Farmer Don says:

    What is the problem? McClellan was paid to Make the best face posssible of the Pres. actions.
    Do lawyers write “Gee if I had known he had actually killed the fellow, I would not have defended him”
    A lawyers job is to defend his client. McClellan’s job was to make Bush look as good as possible.
    The facts had nothing to do with it. If McClellan hadn’t taken the job, some one else would have. What does any of this have to do with truth?? Its not in the job desciption.
    The whole world saw that the USA was heading to war, no matter what the facts where.
    The only question was, Are the american people so dumb as to believe the story fed to them, or do they not care what happens to other humans who are not citizens of the US of A.

  37. zanzibar says:

    As we sort through the sordid affair that was the intense war of deception led by Bush and Cheney as well as the craven behavior of the corporate media and many members of Congress who held positions of trust and responsibility there were some folks who had a greater loyalty. The Knight Ridder team certainly comes to mind. And the countless others who had the courage to stand up in the face of vitriol and their patriotism impugned. In that context Sen. Kennedy’s speech in September 2002 that was widely ignored by the media is worth reading.
    I hope if there is one lesson we learn from the disaster of the past 8 years it ought to be that we should listen more to those that got it right and had the courage to stand up in 2002 and early 2003. And those that were part of the cheerleading propaganda team should at the minimum deserve our ridicule and be shunned as those with no credibility.
    I would venture to say that if we are to ever prevent this from happening a generation or two later then we need a public accounting of the propaganda effort, the extra-legal and extra-judicial activities from torture, rendition, indefinite detention of enemy combatants with no charges to spying on Americans with no probable cause, and most importantly naming and holding to account all those that aided and abetted the subversion of our Constitution.

  38. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Interesting post.
    1. Per some legal issues, here is a CRS study anent obstruction of justice and SST lawyer- readers can offer other ideas:
    No doubt there are counterintelligence issues as well.
    2. As for the “news” media, the media empires of Hearst and Luce were in the service of empire and, one could add, a certain Americanized form of European fascism.
    Any coincidence that the Ziocons took the Luce Time-Life-Fortune slogan of the “American Century” to create their “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC)?
    Any coincidence that Henry Luce, like both George Bushes. was a member of the Yale “final society” Skull and Bones? Just what is the ethos of Bonesmen…preppy-imperial? 322 and all that.
    Is Bush43’s “New Middle East” just a part of daddy’s/Skull and Bones’ “New World Order?”

  39. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    What I find fascinating is that the mouthpiece of the WH is stepping forward, and it appears that over a period of several days his story is picking up steam rather than losing it.
    The first day or two, the WH wailed that this wasn’t the Scotty they’d known. Now, the narrative seems to be shifting; a larger number of points he raises in his book are being discussed and much of it seems to focus on Rove and Libby.
    Inherently, there’s some sympathy — deserved or not — for a man who looked like an utter fool, waking up and trying to come clean. In this instance, McClellan is the underdog and given the fact that he’s willing to at least step out into the world and risk the Wrath of All Bushies makes him a somewhat sympathetic character. Perfect? No. Human…? Finally, he is looking human.
    He’s coming across like a walking morality play. That’s powerful.

  40. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “Yellin’s admission is but the latest in a growing mountain of evidence demonstrating that corporate executives forced their news reporters to propagandize in favor of the Bush administration and the war, and censored stories that were critical of the Government….”
    Concentrated US media owned and operated by the “pro-Israel” crowd. Executives dictate to the journalists who are career minded and so toe the “pro-Israel” line and their bosses guidance.
    A “free press” in America?…hardly.

  41. JBV says:

    Ziocon indeed – heaven please protect America from these scoundrels in the future.

  42. Dana Jones says:

    In my opinion, Scotty waited with perfect timing. GB is on the way out, Rove is gone, what better time to get a little even.
    Think: If he’d come out right after quitting, the Rove machine would have ground him up like hamburger. Probably cooler heads in his family talked him into the book so that there would be documentation, and as some here well know, a book isn’t published overnight. The publisher probably had it fact checked to death. But I think the timing is great if Scott is trying to get a little even, on the eve of Bush’s Legacy.

Comments are closed.