Bush intentionally lied about Iraq

President Bush’s former press secretary says President George W. Bush intentionally lied about the reasons for invading Iraq and about so-called “progress” in that war-torn country.

Scott McClellan says Bush relied on “propaganda” instead of fact to mislead the American public about his failed Iraq war.

The White House fired back Wednesday by claiming McClellan is “disgruntled.”

Reports The Associated Press:

Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that President Bush relied on an aggressive “political propaganda campaign” instead of the truth to sell the Iraq war, and that the decision to invade pushed Bush’s presidency “terribly off course.’

The Bush White House made “a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed” — a time when the nation was on the brink of war, McClellan writes in the book entitled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”

The way Bush managed the Iraq issue “almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.”

“In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president’s advantage,” McClellan writes.

White House aides seemed stunned by the scathing tone of the book, and Bush press secretary Dana Perino issued a statement that was highly critical of their former colleague.

“Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House,” she said. “For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad – this is not the Scott we knew.”

Perino said the reports on the book had been described to Bush, and that she did not expect him to comment. “He has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers,” she said.

The book provoked strong reactions from former staffers as well.

“For him to do this now strikes me as self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional,” Fran Townsend, former head of the White House-based counterterrorism office, told CNN.

Said former top aide Karl Rove, in an interview with Fox News Channel, “If he had these moral qualms, he should have spoken up about them. And frankly I don’t remember him speaking up about these things. I don’t remember a single word.”

Richard Clarke, another former counterterrorism adviser who also came out with a book critical of administration policy, said he could understand McClellan’s thinking, however. Clarke told CNN that he, too, was harshly criticized, saying that “I can show you the tire tracks.”

McClellan called the Iraq war a “serious strategic blunder,” a surprisingly harsh assessment from the man who was at that time the loyal public voice of the White House who had followed Bush to Washington from Texas.

“The Iraq war was not necessary,” he concludes. “Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake.”

McClellan admits that some of his own words from the podium in the White House briefing room turned out to be “badly misguided.” But he says he was sincere at the time.

“When words I uttered, believing them to be true, were exposed as false, I was constrained by my duties and loyalty to the president and unable to comment,” he said. “But I promised reporters and the public that I would someday tell the whole story of what I knew.”

The former press secretary — the second of four so far in Bush’s presidency — explained his dramatic shift from loyal defender to fierce critic as a difficult act of personal contrition, a way, he wrote, to learn from his mistakes, be true to his Christian faith and become a better person.

“I fell far short of living up to the kind of public servant I wanted to be,” McClellan writes. He also blames the media whose questions he fielded, calling them “complicit enablers” in the White House campaign to manipulate public opinion toward the need for war.

McClellan said Bush loyalists will no doubt continue to think the administration’s decisions have been correct and its unpopularity undeserved. “I’ve become genuinely convinced otherwise,” he said.

The book is scheduled to go on sale June 1. Quotes from the book were first reported Tuesday night by the Web site Politico, which said it found McClellan’s memoir on sale early at a bookstore.

McClellan draws a portrait of Bush as possessing “personal charm, wit and enormous political skill.” He said Bush’s record as Texas governor and “disarming personality” inspired him to follow him and that his administration early on possessed “seeds of greatness.”

But, McClellan said, Bush’s unwillingness to admit mistakes and belief in his own spin contributed to turning the president into “not quite the leader I once imagined him to be.” He faults Bush for a “lack of inquisitiveness” and “a degree of self-deception that may be psychologically necessary to justify the tactics needed to win the political game.”

Bush “convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment,” McClellan writes.


  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    A vote for Obama is a vote for McCain; a vote for McCain is a vote for Obama.

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for McCain; a vote for McCain is a vote for Hillary

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for Obama; a vote for Obama is a vote for Hillary.

    Now That Make Everything Clear now (whew!!!)

  2. pollchecker

    I have found that certain groups are raised with the attitude that the system is set up against them therefore there is no point in participating. This same group seems to think that Senator Obama will never make it to the presidency and they are the lowest voting group in America. Can you guess what group of voters they are?

  3. Sandra Price

    It seems to be a tradition in the entire government. The voters are unconcerned with the people they put into the Senate and the House. They seem to leave the White House up to the Congress.

    But it is the voters who ignore the whole concept of politics. Most people refuse to talk about religion and politics as it seems almost below them to pay attention to these most necessary subjects.

    Until we can get the voters as interested in politics as we are, they will often not bother to vote. They end up falling into the same patterns as their parents and grandparents and introducing them to another point of view is nearly impossible.

    Hopefully this rotten war in Iraq will wake the voters up to act.

  4. ekaton

    “The Press” is wholly owned by the same big corporate globalist interests as the representatives and the senators, INCLUDING Clinton, Obama and McCain.

    — Kent Shaw

  5. pollchecker

    CNN’s Yellin On Run-Up To War: Corporate Execs Pushed For Positive Coverage Of Bush

    EVERYONE has their excuse!

    And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president.

    The Press can no longer be trusted to tell the truth anymore. They are as badly up for sale as the politicians.

  6. pollchecker

    I’ll be watching with popcorn and red wine (hahah).

    I was just thinking why would anyone that worked for GW step up to the plate and speak the truth. They would be slaughtered like a lamb.

    No I don’t blame Scott for waiting to leave the Bush WH to tell the truth. Isn’t there something about serving at the pleasure of the President? And wouldn’t someone who is allegedly serving at the pleasure of the President be cast as a traitor and immediately devoured by the attack dogs?

    So at least now he has a way to live until he can figure out how to make a living.

    Sandra, what makes Bush and the rest of these guys unaccountable for their actions? I just don’t understand why no one is holding them responsible for all these lies. It is very frustrating to say the least.

  7. Sandra Price

    Well the talking points will make McClellan look like he had mental breakdown so Bush will keep his legacy. Tonight Keith Olbermann has Scott on his program and it should be a doozy…..

  8. pollchecker

    Yeah, talk to Anita Hill about stepping up to the plate and telling the truth. That wasn’t anything like turning on a Bush would be. They are already trying to devour Scott for lunch. The problem is their credibility is totally shot so Scott’s allegations aren’t easily discredited. If I were Valerie Plame I would be subpeoning Scott immediately if not sooner. Of course he has to live to testify.

    Wasn’t it Hillary that pointed out that anything can happen? She should know since lots of things happened during the Clintons 8 years in the WH.

    We will only begin to unravel the misdeeds of GW and cronies AFTER they have left the WH and we begin to exterminate and eliminate their stench.

  9. WWWexler

    McClellan should have said something when he could have made a difference, but he didn’t. That opportunity was missed, and if he could have stopped the Iraq war we all know what he could have saved. But I don’t think it’s likely that he would have stopped it. He would, however, have lost his job and possibly his life.

    Some people say “too little too late”. I think it’s “better late than never”. This book is useful in that it dumps boatloads of tar on the Iraq invasion, which is the cornerstone of McCain’s campaign. It points out that there is no reason to ask the WH Press Secretary questions because you are only going to get propaganda and lies. It shows that anything the Bushies tell us about national security policy (such as why we need to bomb Iran) is highly suspect and should be ignored. It provides an internal framework for events we have only been able to see from the outside.

    But one highly publicized piece of this is really hilarious. It’s the recounting of Bush saying he “really doesn’t remember if he tried cocaine”. LOL! If so, he must have wondered why he had to get up every morning and go downtown to the Martin Luther King Center in Houston for 9 months to do community service. “Didn’t remember”. What a lame-ass excuse. I could see someone not remembering if they smoked opium, or took reds, or something like that, but if you snort coke you ARE going to remember it. That’s really funny.


  10. pollchecker

    McClellan: Plame leak case was turning point

    “My hope is that by writing this book and sharing openly and honestly what I learned is that in some small way it might help us move beyond the partisan warfare of the past 15 years. There’s a larger purpose to this book. It’s about looking at the permanent campaign culture in Washington D.C. and how we can move beyond it,” he said.

    People don’t understand the power of the backlash that comes from turning on GW. People are scared of this power. Why do you think that no one ever stepped up and talked about George’s partying and womanizing days? Either they still are good friends with the Bushs or they are scared of the consequences of turning against this powerful family.

    I will buy Scott’s book because he should be able to make a living after serving GW faithfully. And I want to encourage MORE Bushies to step up and tell the truth.

    People around here are talking about the perverse power of politics. Well Scott is exposing the ugly side of power. Everyone should read it.

    And as far as it goes, you guys don’t know half of the truth about GW.

  11. Sandra Price

    Wayne, I called out this Administration’s duplicity and corruption long before the 2000 election. I am no spiritualist but damnit I can call an enemy of America from miles away. Bush’s entire campaign was laid out and was there in front us all the time. His father’s dream of an Empire of One World Order size. Bush 41 lost his reelection because of this neoconservative plan making the world peaceful under Democracy. All Bush 43 did, was pick up the plans and convince the religious right to make it happen.

    I ruined my own contacts for my articles before the election and was pushed off 5 sites for daring to question a Republican.

    The day I witnessed those airplanes flying into the towers, I knew that we would be in war in the middle east as quickly as possible. Almost immediately the neoconservative sites like the PNAC, Bush began his plans to build this filthy empire.

    I went from one site to another asking the readers to look more closely at the Bush Administration and stop the assault on our nation.

    I was the first one here to read Richard Clarke’s book on that terrible day in the White House when Bush and Cheney were in hiding. I was the first one here to question whether Bush was involved in 9/11. I was told to shut up!

    One of the Reader Rant members clued me into the book written about peak oil and why 9/11 was necessary to give more power to the Administration. I won’t give his name but he was right!

    This entire Administration must be shown the door as it is would be impossible to bring them all to justice. All the justice is now under Bush control and it will destroy this nation. Stalin didn’t have it this easy.

  12. Wayne K Dolik

    It took us all a few years to figure things out like both the run up to the invitation of Iraq and the scam pulled upon the public post September 11, 2001. So, yes Griff we have figured a few things out. But, it takes some folks a little longer to get the big picture.

    For example the media still fails to get it. Perhaps they relish living the big lie. They enjoy their big paychecks paid to them by the media corporatists? I don’t fault this guy one bit for coming forward. At least he finally did! But, the vultures are out to destroy him.

    And, so many of those cowardly bums in the media continue to live buried in the sand. Mustn’t violate the rules of corporate self-censorship. There is a day of reckoning coming and a whole lot of well-healed people are going to be very surprised. Perhaps they will explain to us what they have done in the name of the First Amendment.

    There is a whole lot more to come. Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls.

  13. staunchdem

    To his credit Scott did say that he could no longer stand to hide the lies due to his Christian faith.
    As noted above he should have raised his hand when he first became aware of the lies and deceit.
    Just as Colin Powell knowingly deceived us, so did Scott.
    Only the guilty have to hide things and lie.
    This cabal that overthrew our government in 2000 has changed the course of America and the world.
    It will take a generation of quality leadership to repair the damage done.

  14. jgw

    This is the big news of the day and I have been duly following it on TV. Seems this guy also noted the failure of the media, insofar as the run up to the war is concerned. I suspect that he is telling the truth as far as he knows it. This is just one of the many books written by ex members of this administration. I believe that they are all just folks trying desperately to ‘set the record right’ and, while they are at it, point out that THEY had nothing to do with anything but were duped by the really bad guys. The newsies are taking the same tac, incidentally. I am equally sure that once this administration is out of office there are going to be many more of these self serving tell all books.

    The question as to why they never mentioned their concerns while they were serving is simply bogus. There is, however, the fact that these people went along with it all. They didn’t raise their hand and they didn’t question. What they (including media) did do is facilitate this administration every way they could. I am equally sure this administration is going down in history as one of the very worst on history. These self serving personal revisions of known fact are going to make very little difference in the end.

    Port Angeles, WA