(From Washington Post):
In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness. Intoxicated by the influence and power of America, Bush believed that a successful transformation of Iraq could be the linchpin for realizing his dream of a free Middle East. But there was a problem here, which has become obvious to me only in retrospect...Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would almost certainly not support a war launched primarily for the ambitious purpose of transforming the Middle East.[snip]
Rather than open this Pandora's box, the administration chose a different path -- not employing out-and-out deception but shading the truth; downplaying the major reason for going to war and emphasizing a lesser motivation that could arguably be dealt with in other ways (such as intensified diplomatic pressure); trying to make the WMD threat and the Iraqi connection to terrorism appear just a little more certain, a little less questionable, than they were; quietly ignoring or disregarding some of the crucial caveats in the intelligence and minimizing evidence that pointed in the opposite drection; using innuendo and implication to encourage Americans to believe as fact some things that were unclear and possibly false (such as the idea that Saddam had an active nuclear weapons program) and other things that were overplayed or completely wrong (such as implying Saddam might have an operational relationship with al Qaeda).I'll take it one step further than McClellan here. By trying to make a case "a little more certain" they were lying. Even if everything they said was the absolute truth (which, as wel all know, it wasn't) by presenting something to be true when they knew it wasn't cleart that it was true, that's a lie.
A lie that lead to 4,000+ American servicemen and women dying.
I was curious to see what event that was in April, 2006. As far as I can tell, it was this one at Central Piedmont Community College.
And McClellan recalled a day in April 2006, when the unfolding perjury case against Libby revealed that the president had secretly declassified portions of a 2002 intelligence report about Iraq's weapons capabilities to help his aides deflect criticism that his case for war was weak. Some of the most high-profile criticism was coming from Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson.
The president was leaving an event in North Carolina, McClellan recalled, and as they walked to Air Force One a reporter yelled out a question: Had the president, who had repeatedly condemned the selective release of secret intelligence information, enabled Scooter Libby to leak classified information to The New York Times to bolster the administration's arguments for war?
McClellan took the question to the president, telling Bush: "He's saying you yourself were the one that authorized the leaking of this information."
"And he said, 'Yeah, I did.' And I was kind of taken aback," McClellan said.
Curious thing happened at that Town Hall meeting - Harry Taylor happened:
So in the same day he's crowing about committing a felony (and that is what he did by bypassing the FISA court with his warrantless wiretapping) he admitted to Scott McClellan that he authorized releasing Valerie Plame's name to the press.
Then came Taylor, 61, a commercial real estate broker, who got Bush's attention from the balcony.
"You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that," Taylor told him. "But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food."
Bush interrupted with a smile. "I'm not your favorite guy," he joked, provoking laughter.
"What I want to say to you," Taylor continued, "is that I, in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by, my leadership in Washington."
Many in the audience booed.
"Let him speak," Bush said.
"I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," Taylor added.
Bush took it in stride but offered no regrets. In response, he dealt only with the National Security Agency program to eavesdrop without court approval on telephone calls and e-mails between people inside the United States and people overseas when one person is suspected of terrorist ties.
"I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program, and I'll tell you why," Bush said, launching into his explanation of how he approved the program to avoid another Sept. 11. "If we're at war," he said, "we ought to be using tools necessary within the Constitution on a very limited basis, a program that's reviewed constantly, to protect us."
So let's assume dubya was telling the truth there. That meant he was so drunk he had no idea he was committing a felony.
McClellan tracks Bush's penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.
The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest." Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.
"'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'"
"I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?" McClellan wrote. "How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."
Bush, according to McClellan, "isn't the kind of person to flat-out lie."
"So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It's the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true," McClellan wrote.
"And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience."
Now if only that information was known in 1999.