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McClellan : Badly Misguided?

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  • McClellan : Badly Misguided?

    Yet another ex-Bush administration staffer has come out with a book lambasting the White House. Even if it's hyped up to sell books (as we know everything is), it's hard to deny the long list of former staff members lashing out against this White House as not abnormally high.

    Originally posted by McClellan
    "...he and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war. … In this regard, he was terribly ill-served by his top advisers, especially those involved directly in national security.
    Story link: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10649.html

    Hyping a book aside, I think staments like the one above are hard to disagree with. Over six years out and now knowing the details of the intelligence operation specifically with regard to George Tenet and the CIA, Donald Rumsfeld and other key advisors to Bush, it's difficult to deny that the lead-up to the Iraq war was hand crafted and driven by a select group of officials. It's now a known truth that they were ill-prepared on most fronts - pre-war intelligence, post-war planning (looting, militias, intermediate government), budget, troop levels and timeline. Does that list constitute 'ill-served?' I would think so. Hindsight is always 20/20, but it would seem yet another ex-Bush White House staff member agrees.

  • #2
    Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

    "Buy my book, and read the fascinating things I have to tell you about my lack of moral courage." If he felt this way at the time, and didn't speak up about it, then he's not worth listening to. If he didn't feel this way at the time, but now does because there's money available, then he doesn't have any credibility.
    ---
    Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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    • #3
      Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

      Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
      "Buy my book, and read the fascinating things I have to tell you about my lack of moral courage." If he felt this way at the time, and didn't speak up about it, then he's not worth listening to. If he didn't feel this way at the time, but now does because there's money available, then he doesn't have any credibility.
      How conveniently that argument deflects any suggestion of wrongdoing away from the administration and on to McClellan, completely ignoring any question of the veracity or content of his statements. Circle the wagons!
      In game handle: Steel Scion
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      • #4
        Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

        I always got a kick out of watching those press conferences with McClellan. The man always had the look of a sweating deer caught in headlights all while trying to justify the stupid policy decisions of the Bush Administration.

        Here's a random example of the dribble he was forced to repeat like some sock puppet:

        "And the President pointed back to the 20th century. He pointed out that in World War II, freedom prevailed over fascism and Nazism. And in the Cold War, freedom prevailed over communism. Freedom is a powerful force for defeating an ideology such as the one that the terrorists espouse. And that's why it's so important to continue working to advance freedom and democracy in the broader Middle East. And that's what we will continue to do. And the President also talked about the great progress we've made at home to protect the home front."

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/relea...50711-3.html#3
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        • #5
          Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

          Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
          "Buy my book, and read the fascinating things I have to tell you about my lack of moral courage." If he felt this way at the time, and didn't speak up about it, then he's not worth listening to. If he didn't feel this way at the time, but now does because there's money available, then he doesn't have any credibility.
          I don't think his morals or credibility are in question at all here - just the legitimacy of his opinions, especially because they run counter to specific things he had said in the past. His book apparently alludes to recent facts (through the press and other ex-officials) which brought to light his assertion that he (and the President) were deceived by advisers, and that he did not know it at the time.

          He has undeniable credibility based on his employment history with George Bush as a Governor and as a President, so you really can't claim otherwise. Obviously his opinions and observations are made in hindsight, though, and it can't be denied that negative comments about the Bush administration sell books (an interesting sideshow phenomenon by itself). Yet even if he had spoken out in 2005 or 2006, I'm sure that would have been considered in poor taste. Critics of the war in the early phases were written off as unpatriotic or even unfounded - take Richard Clarke and Bob Woodward for example. He didn't really cite reasons for resigning his position in 2006, but we know the departure was unexpected by the administration because they did not have a replacement candidate and did not get one (Tony Snow) for quite some time. He also didn't just quit the post of press secretary (a difficult job) - he quit the whole program. I don't think his morals or credibility are in question at all here - just the legitimacy of some of his opinions.

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          • #6
            Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

            Originally posted by Steeler View Post
            How conveniently that argument deflects any suggestion of wrongdoing away from the administration and on to McClellan, completely ignoring any question of the veracity or content of his statements. Circle the wagons!
            Where in that quote did you see me defending the administration? I just don't see any reason to pretend that McClellan has not just become part of a different sort of propaganda campaign. AMosely recognizes it. Am I really supposed to just take the word of someone who stands to make some pretty serious money at the moment? Scott McClellan may believe everything he says now, sure. But his security clearance hasn't increased since then, which means he either just recently decided to change his opinions, or he had the same opinions back then but made a deal with his publisher not to make on-the-record comments about those opinions until they went on sale.
            Originally posted by CNN
            McClellan said he cannot give on-the-record quotes yet because of an agreement with his publisher.
            I'm not defending Bush, I'm saying that it appears Scott's opinion has a price tag on it. But even if it didn't, I think there is something seriously wrong when none of his colleagues remember him even expressing private misgivings about something he now apparently feels is "fundamentally needed...during a time of war." So, what am I supposed to think? He either knowingly participated in this and held out saying anything until it made him money, or he made it up because it made him money, or he participated in it, didn't believe anything he did was wrong, until someone long after the fact convinced him it was wrong but he shouldn't say anything about it until it made him money. In none of thos situations do I think "this is the guy whose new and improved opinion can now be trusted."
            ---
            Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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            • #7
              Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

              Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one-and-a-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he’s raising these grave concerns that he claims he had. And I think you have to look at some of the facts. One, he is bringing this up in the heat of a presidential campaign. He has written a book and he certainly wants to go out there and promote that book.

              ~Scott McClellan March 22, 2004 when asked about Richard Clarke’s book blasting the Bush Administration.
              New to TG?

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              • #8
                Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                I don't think his morals or credibility are in question at all here - just the legitimacy of his opinions, especially because they run counter to specific things he had said in the past. His book apparently alludes to recent facts (through the press and other ex-officials) which brought to light his assertion that he (and the President) were deceived by advisers, and that he did not know it at the time.

                He has undeniable credibility based on his employment history with George Bush as a Governor and as a President, so you really can't claim otherwise. Obviously his opinions and observations are made in hindsight, though, and it can't be denied that negative comments about the Bush administration sell books (an interesting sideshow phenomenon by itself). Yet even if he had spoken out in 2005 or 2006, I'm sure that would have been considered in poor taste. Critics of the war in the early phases were written off as unpatriotic or even unfounded - take Richard Clarke and Bob Woodward for example. He didn't really cite reasons for resigning his position in 2006, but we know the departure was unexpected by the administration because they did not have a replacement candidate and did not get one (Tony Snow) for quite some time. He also didn't just quit the post of press secretary (a difficult job) - he quit the whole program. I don't think his morals or credibility are in question at all here - just the legitimacy of some of his opinions.
                Not morals: moral courage. If you see people around you doing something that you believe is wrong, you should speak up about it. Morals: seeing your friend commit murder and knowing it's wrong. Moral courage: testifying about the murder, even if it means your friend won't like you anymore.

                I want to highlight this post and say that AMosely has stunned me by claiming that working for George W. Bush gives one undeniable credibility.

                And I'd like someone to maybe start a thread identifying the early critics of the war who the administration labeled "unpatriotic." Because I'm pretty sure that never happened.
                ---
                Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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                • #9
                  Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                  Originally posted by USN_Squid View Post
                  Well, why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner? This is one-and-a-half years after he left the administration. And now, all of a sudden, he’s raising these grave concerns that he claims he had. And I think you have to look at some of the facts. One, he is bringing this up in the heat of a presidential campaign. He has written a book and he certainly wants to go out there and promote that book.

                  ~Scott McClellan March 22, 2004 when asked about Richard Clarke’s book blasting the Bush Administration.
                  HA! I had forgotten.
                  ---
                  Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                    I think Switch is on to something here. I'm just not seeing the scenario where McClellans's defection tells us anything worthwhile and credible. He would have been readily accepted and lauded by the Liberal DC community for saying this stuff years ago, as far back as 2004 when he was still working as press secretary, but he says nothing until he can make money off the book deal.

                    From the snippets mentioned in Mosely's news link, it doesn't appear McClellan is even bringing us any new facts we didn't already know. He's just giving us his new-and-improved personal opinion on those facts, which is apparently different from the opinion he held on those facts 2 or 3 years back. I particularly love his description of the sinister meeting between Rove and Libby about the Plame case, where he "[had] no idea what they discussed, but it seemed suspicious for these two...to visit privately." That's pretty damning evidence right there. Or something.

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                    • #11
                      Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                      Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                      HA! I had forgotten.
                      Squid's quote goes to my point. The "he should have said something sooner" talking point is the standard line they trot out when a former insider tells all. McClellan used it like a good little soldier when Clarke published, and now Rove and all the other good little soldiers are dropping the same line on him. It's in the playbook.

                      I'm not going to defend Scotty - he was part of the propaganda machine he now tut-tuts, and Kero is right that there is very little he could offer that we didn't already know about the mendacity of the administration and the press corps. But it is (dear God, I'm going to say it) DISINGENUOUS to make the story about McClellan at this late stage. He's basically confirming that he was a conduit for lies and half-truths on the part of the administration. That should be the story. Look at how far we've already gotten into the thread and we haven't even talked about his actual claims yet.
                      In game handle: Steel Scion
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                      • #12
                        Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                        Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                        Squid's quote goes to my point. The "he should have said something sooned" talking point is the standard line they trot out when a former insider tells all. McClellan used it like a good little soldier when Clarke published, and now Rove and all the other good little soldiers are dropping the same line on him. It's in the playbook.

                        I'm not going to defend Scotty - he was part of the propaganda machine he now tut-tuts. But it is (dear God, I'm going to say it) DISINGENUOUS to make the story about McClellan at this late stage. He's basically confirming that he was a conduit for lies and half-truths on the part of the administration. That should be the story. Look at how far we've already gotten into the thread and we haven't even talked about his actual claims yet.
                        Because you haven't seen his claims, because he's bound by contract not to discuss them until the book goes on sale. Right now the story is absolutely about Scott, because there's nothing else to discuss. Was he lying before? For what? Job security? But now he's telling the truth when more money is on the line? It was propaganda before when it was about the administration and the Iraq war, but it's not propaganda now that it's about sales and an upcoming election?
                        ---
                        Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                          Just focusing on McClellan and all the other traitors to the cause...

                          It is interesting that in an administration so dedicated to loyalty there are so many turncoats coming from it.

                          I wonder why? And I wonder what Bush/Cheney/Rove are really thinking.
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                          • #14
                            Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                            I've been reading some more excerpts and more recent statements on this and I think McClellan is claiming that he didn't know the extent of deception in 2004/5/6. He's making these claims and observations based on subsequent knowledge and introspection. Knowing how the White House works, and especially how this White House works (think executive priviledge), it's not surprising the the press secretary was kept out of the loop.

                            In my opinion the debate here is not over whether McClellan himself is misguided or poorly timed, but whether his current observations of past events are justified. Among those that have been presented, I believe that there is enough evidence today to show that Bush was grossly misled by his advisors, including the Vice President and his staff, during the lead-up and early execution of the Iraq war. I also think there is ample evidence to show that the federal response to hurricane Katrina was woefully if not criminally inadequate under Bush's leadership. McClellan or no McClellan, there is no getting around those facts - and they are facts. That so many ex-members of the administration are humming the same tune is significant - regardless of the individual circumstances.

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                            • #15
                              Re: McClellan : Badly Misguided?

                              I heard this discussion on the radio, why if he thought it was propaganda did he accept the job? He should have let everyone know at the time, not after it's all happened.

                              He could have at very least just not accepted his job as press secretary and quit!

                              This "don't shoot the messenger" deal gets really old, really fast.

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