Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fallout from McClellan book: The Iraq war’s “complicit enablers,” then and now

By Bill Van Auken, WSWS

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book indicting the Bush administration for employing a “political propaganda campaign” and deception to drag the US into an “unnecessary war” in Iraq has unleashed a wave of bitter recriminations from the Republican right, while prompting opportunist attempts by Democrats to exploit the tell-all memoir for their own political purposes.

As McClellan began making the rounds of television news interviews, former White House counselor Dan Bartlett described the book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” as “total crap” and called the ex-press secretary’s actions “beyond the pale.” Former White House counter-terror aide Frances Townsend told CNN that McClellan was “self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional.”

Meanwhile, both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton worked McClellan’s book into their Democratic presidential campaigns.

Clinton lionized McClellan, declaring “this young man essentially apologizes for having been part of misleading America for three years. He talks about how difficult it was that our president and those working with him didn’t, either level with the American people, or didn’t change course when circumstances demanded it.”

Apparently anxious to shift the subject from the run-up to the Iraq war, when Clinton was one of the majority of Democrats in the Senate voting Bush a blank check to invade Iraq, she continued: “There isn’t any doubt that President Bush has misled us. The question now is, what kind of president do we need going forward.”

The Obama campaign used the book to counter charges by Republican candidate Senator John McCain that the Democratic front-runner lacked experience in relation to Iraq. “On the day after the former White House press secretary conceded that the Bush administration used deception and propaganda to take us to war, it seems odd that Senator McCain, who bought the flawed rationale for war so readily, would be lecturing others on their depth of understanding about Iraq,” read a statement issued by the Obama campaign.

No attempt was made to draw out the staggering implications of the confirmation, from inside the White House, that a war that has cost over one million Iraqi lives and killed or wounded tens of thousands of US troops was launched through “deception and propaganda.” It was merely used as a talking point to promote Obama as a better candidate than his Republican rival...[Open in new window]


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