Let's Beat Up On Scott McLellan Some More
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Douglas Feith's Much Better Book | Miscellanea | Political Opportunism | Scott McClellan — Comments (10) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Because, Heaven knows, he keeps giving us reason to:
Scott McClellan's most explosive charges about the Iraq war are based not on any new evidence but rather on his reading of books and magazine articles after leaving the White House and on a period of "reflection."
On morning talk shows this morning, Mr. McClellan repeated a statement from his book: that he charges President Bush with a misleading the country into war based on reading a book by reporter Bob Woodward.
Mr. McClellan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he realized Mr. Bush had in late 2001 made up his mind to invade Iraq "when the president did interviews with Bob Woodward for his book."
[. . .]
During the interview, the 40-year old former Bush administration press secretary defended his portrait of Mr. Bush as "too stubborn to change and grow," but also admitted he should have voiced his doubts and questions about the march to war in 2002 and 2003.
There's more. Read on . . .
Mr. McClellan made no effort, however, to bolster the sourcing for the most serious charge in his book, that the president based the case for war on possible weapons of mass destruction only to hide his true motivation: the introduction of "coercive democracy" in the Middle East.
This charge has been given great authority because of Mr. McClellan's former status as a White House insider.
But a close reading of his book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washingtons Culture of Corruption," shows that he reveals no new information about the presidents motives.
[. . .]
Reed Dickens, one of Mr. McClellans former deputies, said he found his former boss' book "pathetic in substance."
"He didn't have any damning evidence or quotes or conversation. I was flipping through the book, waiting to find something damning, and there wasn't really anything," Mr. Dickens said Friday night on "Larry King Live."
Dan Bartlett, the president's former counselor, has also repeatedly said on TV that there are no new facts presented in the book.
Conservative blogger Paul Mirengoff on Thursday noted that Mr. McClellan's book "is devoid of footnotes, endnotes, and supporting documentation."
Mr. Mirengoff, a Washington attorney who writes for the Powerline blog, says Mr. McClellan's book is a sharp contrast to former Pentagon official and war architect Douglas J. Feith's book "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism."
Mr. Feith's book "provides detailed accounts of key meetings based on contemporaneous notes," wrote Mr. Mirengoff. "And it includes more than 30 pages of original source material plus almost 90 pages of endnotes. Readers can thus determine for themselves whether the author is providing a reliable account or merely settling scores and/or trying to make a buck."
And here I thought that books are supposed to be original, interesting and that they should provide something new and fresh to the public discourse.