by Ewen MacAskill
A former senior aide to President Bush claims that the White House
deliberately mounted a dishonest propaganda campaign to sell the Iraq
invasion to the US public, in the most damning insider account of the
presidency so far.
Scott McClellan, who worked for Bush for seven years, including three as
White House spokesman, brands the war a "serious strategic blunder" and "not
The scathing comments stunned Washington yesterday because the Bush team,
until now, has had a reputation for intense loyalty to their boss.
Republican strategists and former White House colleagues turned on
McClellan, accusing him of writing the book for the money and asking why, if
he felt as he had, he did not resign at the time. The White House expressed
sadness and puzzlement.
McClellan's comments are from What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and
Washington's Culture of Deception, to be published on Monday but excerpts of
which appeared on the Washington-based Politico website.
On Iraq, McClellan says Bush and his advisers "confused the propaganda
campaign with the high level of candour and honesty so fundamentally needed
to build and then sustain public support during a time of war".
He accuses Bush and his advisers of being more interested in permanent
campaigning for re-election in 2004 than what was best for the country. . . .
Julian Borger, "The Spies Who Pushed
for War," Guardian, July 17, 2003
"THE ORIGINS OF
THE IRAQ WAR: The 'Neoconservative' Agenda for Middle East
Conflict," goalsforamericans.org, July 2004
Laura Barcella, "The Failures of
Post-9/11 Media," AlterNet, January 2, 2006
David Barstow, "Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's
Hidden Hand," Washington Post, April 20, 2008
Robert Scheer, "The
Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened
America," Twelve (June 9, 2008)
[Katie Couric, the anchor of "CBS Evening News," said on Wednesday that she
had felt pressure from government officials and corporate executives to cast
the war in a positive light.
Another broadcast journalist also weighed in. Jessica Yellin, who worked for
MSNBC in 2003 and now reports for CNN, said on Wednesday that journalists
had been "under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to
make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with
the patriotic fever in the nation."--Brian Stelter, "Was
Press a War 'Enabler'? 2 Offer a Nod From Inside," New York Times,
May 30, 2008
John Brown, "The Pentagon's new Iraq propaganda: The US is
spending $300m to 'engage and inspire' Iraqis," Guardian, October 27, 2008