Posted by Curt on 30 May, 2008 at 8:24 am. 21 comments already!

The McClellan fiasco continues and boy is it getting funny. First, take a look at the preface to his book….speaks volumes:

Writing it wasn’t easy. Some of the best advice I received as I began came from a senior editor at a publishing house that expressed interest in my book. He said the hardest challenge for me would be to keep questioning my own beliefs and perceptions throughout the writing process. His advice was prescient. I’ve found myself continually questioning my own thinking, my assumptions, my interpretations of events. Many of the conclusions I’ve reached are quite different from those I would have embraced at the start of the process. The quest for truth has been a struggle for me, but a rewarding one. I don’t claim a monopoly on truth. But after wrestling with my experiences over the past several months, I’ve come much closer to my truth than ever before.

Whose that publisher?

We’d merely note that the book’s publisher is PublicAffairs, an imprint founded by left-wing editor Peter Osnos and which has published six books by George Soros. PublicAffairs is owned by Perseus Books, which is owned by Perseus LLC, a merchant bank whose board includes Democrats Richard Holbrooke and Jim Johnson, who is now doing Barack Obama’s vice presidential vetting. One of Perseus’s investment funds, Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical, is co-managed with Mr. Soros.

And now we find that the original book was quite boring and turned down by publishers until the Soros company got into the mix. How could they not? No one said Soros is stupid, he can recognize an empty suit when he sees him and an opportunity to put the screws to the Bush administration was just too good to pass up:

…what appears to be Scott’s existential journey has led him to make sweeping and reckless allegations that are at odds with reality. He would have us believe that the Bush administration was, at bottom, massively and deeply deceitful and corrupt — but this has only dawned on Scott since he started writing his book, years after the fact. Let’s just say that for these revelations to spring forth as if truth were like a time-released capsule, in which things magically get clearer with the passage of time (and the signing of book contracts), is, well, suspicious. And my former colleagues are absolutely right to point out that Scott not only never raised any objections contemporaneously, in meetings or with his superiors; in fact, he said almost nothing at all, at any time, about anything of consequence.

But nevermind all that. The left and the MSM (I know, one and the same) have latched onto this book as the next “smoking gun” to bring down the Bush White House. Hows this for an unbiased look from the tabloid news agency McClatchy:

Until now, we’ve resisted the temptation to post on former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book, which accuses the Bush White House of launching a propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq.

Why? It’s not news. At least not to some of us who’ve covered the story from the start.

Second, we find it a wee bit preposterous — and we are being diplomatic here — that a man who slavishly – no, robotically! — defended President Bush’s policies in Iraq and elsewhere is trying to “set the record straight” (and sell a few books) five years and more after the invasion, with U.S. troops still bravely fighting and dying to stabilize that country.

But the responses to McClellan from the Bush administration and media bigwigs, history-bending as they are, compel us to jump in. As we like to say around here, it’s truth to power time, not just for the politicians but also for some folks in our own business.”

Their truth?

The Bush administration was gunning for Iraq within days of the 9/11 attacks, dispatching a former CIA director, on a flight authorized by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, to find evidence for a bizarre theory that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. (Note: See also Richard Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill on this point).

Oh please. The United States had been gunning for Saddam for a dozen years.

The idea that overthrowing Saddam Hussein sprung out of the minds of a few people in Washington forgets an awful lot of history. In the 2000 election, both candidates spoke openly about the need to deal with Saddam Hussein. Al Gore was actually more emphatic on the topic than George Bush was. In 1998, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act. Just to show how conspiratorial they were, they put it in the Congressional record. In 1995, the CIA tried to organize a coup against Saddam Hussein and it failed. The coup was secret, but it has been written about in 5 or 6 books that I know of. In 1991, representatives of President George H. W. Bush went on the radio and urged the Iraqi people to rise up against Saddam Hussein. So America’s policy on Saddam has been consistent. What we have been arguing about for years are the methods. First, we tried to encourage a rebellion in Iraq, that didn’t work. Then we tried coups; that didn’t work. Then in 1998, we tried funding Iraqi opposition. That might have worked, but the money never actually got appropriated. Then, ultimately we tried direct military power. The idea that Saddam should go has been the policy of the United States since 1991.

The truth is that Saddam had ties to terrorists, and as Bush said after 9/11, this kind of regime cannot be allowed to continue to exist:

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Especially a regime that everyone believed had WMD, who thumbed his nose at the world for 13 years, and who broke the cease fire many times. It would have been criminal for Saddam to have been allowed to continue on after 9/11.

McLatchy continues:

An exhaustive review of Saddam Hussein’s regime’s own documents, released in March 2008, found no operational relationship between Saddam and al Qaida.

Really? Seriously? This is how this newspaper wants to report on those ties?

As Scott has shown in multiple posts (here, here and here), not only was the review of the documents NOT exhaustive, but the Pentagon report itself contradicts McLatchy’s assertion. There indeed WERE ties to terrorist groups including those that made up al-Qaeda.

Just more evidence that the MSM and the left are trying the best to sell a narrative that isn’t true to damage Bush anyway possible. The latest being the book from the empty suit, Scott McClellan.

OLBERMANN: Scott McClellan, I don’t want to get too fulsome on you, I don’t think you’re going to be dining out on the book for the rest of your life, but I think this is a primary document of American history. I’m very impressed with it and I think at some point, people will be teaching history classes based on it.

No more evidence needed… closed!


Bob Dole unloads on Scott:

“There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. “No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.”


“In my nearly 36 years of public service I’ve known of a few like you,” Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. “No doubt you will ‘clean up’ as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, ‘Biting The Hand That Fed Me.’ Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years”

Dole assures McClellan that he won’t read the book — “because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job”

“That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively,” Dole concludes. “You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?”


Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:

An English professor at Dartmouth used to say, “I don’t really know what I think until I write it.” He was referring to the fact that thoughts crystallize when subjected to the rigors of the English language and its rules of usage and grammar. And he was paying homage to the magic of the lonely, and in his mind sacred, encounter between author and (in those days) paper.

Scott McClellan seems to be relying on the same point. He claims that he did not set out to write a memoir sharply critical of the administration but that in the process of actually writing the book, the scales dropped from eyes. This would explain, I suppose, why McClellan’s book so flatly contradicts many of his public (and to colleagues, private) pronouncements. He never really knew what he thought until he wrote it.

There are a few problems with this defense, however. First. my English professor wasn’t making the absurd claim that facts change when you write them. Second, McClellan’s book is not the product of a lonely encounter with his keyboard; he had help. The help came from, among others, Peter Osnos, a former Washington Post writer. Osnos is the head of the liberal publishing company that published McClellan’s book. It is he who helped transform McClellan’s early concept — a “not very interesting , typical press secretary book” — into a vitriolic attack on the Bush White House.

Osnos denies that he ghost-wrote or heavily edited McClellan’s book. However, he does take credit for making sure that the book “pass[ed] our test for independence, integrity, and candor.”

The question then becomes, what would that test look like as applied by Osnos. Here, we encounter the fact that, according to Brett Baker of Newsbusters, Osnos’ publishing house is affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine and is the publisher of books by George Soros. It also published The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. Since that book apparently passed Osnos’ test for integrity and candor, one can infer that McClellan’s original account of his time in the Bush administration did not, and that a major shift in tone and content was required of him before the book could see the light of day. In this regard, Osnos admits to having worked very closely with McClellan and the book’s official editor, Lisa Kaufman.

Based on this information, and perhaps on his time at the White House too, one might truly say that Scott McClellan never really knows what he thinks until someone else tells him what that ought to be.

Pretty fair assessment on what we now know to be the journey Scott took to write this thing. Any writer who allows a man like Osnos to have such huge input on the book is a man willing to sell his soul for a few bucks.

More here.

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