So Scott McClellan wrote a tell-all about the Bush White House, eh? He makes “extraordinary” claims about Karl Rove and Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney orchestrating wars and smear campaigns for political ends. He uses words like “propaganda” when describing how the American people (and the world) was convinced that war in Iraq was necessary. But is any of this really news? Can anyone actually say with a straight face that they are shocked at these so-called revelations? I mean, other than the fact that this is coming from a highly ranked former employee (White House Press Secretary is an enviable job title), is any of this stuff “news”?

We have known for a long time that the Bush Administration has simply made up “intelligence” to suit their feeble egos and wicked intentions. They spew lines about God and country, American security, family values and morals, and say that the war was a “War of Necessity, not a War of Choice.” They make us imagine the shadows in the corners are trying to kills us, and they spend lots and lots of money that we don’t have to fleece the nation and tell us that we’re safer because of it. All lies.

If the media had done their jobs, they would not have blindly taken a White House Press Secretary’s word for anything and have investigated other sources for confirmation. When officials claimed that Bush was not planning on invading Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein prior to 9/11, the media should have run a continuous loop of the second debate during the 2000 election. Here’s my favorite part:

BUSH: . . . I think credibility is going to be very important in the future in the Middle East. I want everybody to know should I be the president Israel’s going to be our friend. I’m going to stand by Israel. Secondly, that I think it’s important to reach out to moderate Arab nations, like Jordan and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It’s important to be friends with people when you don’t need each other so that when you do there’s a strong bond of friendship. And that’s going to be particularly important in dealing not only with situations such as now occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein. The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it’s unraveling, let’s put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don’t know whether he’s developing weapons of mass destruction. He better not be or there’s going to be a consequence should I be the president. But it’s important to have credibility and credibility is formed by being strong with your friends and resoluting your determination. One of the reasons why I think it’s important for this nation to develop an anti-ballistic missile system that we can share with our allies in the Middle East if need be to keep the peace is to be able to say to the Saddam Husseins of the world or the Iranians, don’t dare threaten our friends. It’s also important to keep strong ties in the Middle East, credible ties, because of the energy crisis we’re now in. After all, a lot of the energy is produced from the Middle East, and so I appreciate what the administration is doing. I hope to get a sense of should I be fortunate to be the president how my administration will react to the Middle East.

. . .

BUSH: That’s hard to tell. I think that, you know, I would hope to be able to convince people I could handle the Iraqi situation better.

MODERATOR: Saddam Hussein, you mean, get him out of there?

BUSH: I would like to, of course, and I presume this administration would as well. We don’t know — there are no inspectors now in Iraq, the coalition that was in place isn’t as strong as it used to be. He is a danger. We don’t want him fishing in troubled waters in the Middle East. And it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.

MODERATOR: You feel that is a failure of the Clinton administration?

BUSH: I do.

It is important to remember that this debate occurred on October 11, 2000 — exactly 11 months before the September 11th attacks. Israel and Palestine were engaged in bloody battle, and I had not heard the words “Saddam Hussein” in any serious way in almost 8 years. I sat on the couch, incredulous at this exchange, and said to Brent, “This guy is going to start a war.” September 11th gave a convenient excuse for said war, but the media completely failed this country when the Iraq War/WMD/”get Saddam Hussein” rhetoric started by not reminding everyone of this very publicized debate. Is this not evidence in itself that a war with Iraq had been on the minds of officials well before our War on Terror? Not to mention every other incident subsequent to that where the media just followed along with the official talking points like little puppies. And people wonder why we turn to The Daily Show to find out what’s really going on in the country. . .

Throughout this “media firestorm” surrounding Scott McClellan, only David Gregory got closest to admitting that the media failed:

MATTHEWS: . . . David, what do you make of that? What do we say when we realize “The New York Times” was used, in sequence used—and other media were used as well?

GREGORY: We got it wrong.

. . .

MATTHEWS: No, you didn‘t get it wrong. You were manipulated, weren‘t we?

GREGORY: Well, I mean, if you believe that our job is to try to get it right, and to…

. . .

GREGORY: … sort of pierce past that manipulation, the press, the body politic of the press, wasn‘t able to do that in this particular case.

. . .

There were no WMD in Iraq. The basis of the congressional resolution was based on the nuclear threat that was presented by Saddam Hussein.


GREGORY: A lot of people believed that, Democrats, Republicans, and the White House, and reporters who were trying to report the story as best they could.


GREGORY: You know, we didn‘t get it right. The facts are what they are. And the press didn‘t get it right.

So, yes, the question of manipulation, the administration did what it did.

Not quite an apology, and no one’s losing their jobs over it, but it’s a start.