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Washington's culture of deception

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By Chuck Baldwin

A bomb exploded inside Washington, DC, last week, and, no, it was not the work of a Middle Eastern terrorist. It was the work of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. He, perhaps more than anyone else, was the face of President Bush's White House. He faithfully served President George W Bush for close to a decade and served as Bush's Press Secretary for some three years, resigning on April 19, 2006. He was also regarded as one of the most loyal and tight-lipped of the Bush insiders.

However, his new book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception" has exploded in the face of what history will probably regard as one of the most deceptive and manipulative Presidential administrations in American government. The Washington Post (and a host of other media) released a report regarding McClellan's book last Wednesday.

According to McClellan's book, the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by Bush himself. McClellan charges that Bush aimed at "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war." He also says he was deceived by some within the President's inner circle about the leak of a CIA operative's name.

He has especially harsh criticism for former White House adviser Karl Rove for misleading him about his role in the CIA case. He also accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of being "deft . . . at protecting her reputation," and called Vice President Dick Cheney "the magic man" who steered policy behind the scenes.

In a chapter titled "Selling the War," McClellan says the administration repeatedly "shaded the truth." He also stated, "In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage." In what might be the most disturbing statement in the book (at least among those that were released by press reports), McClellan said, "What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

McClellan said his motive for writing the book was this: "Like many Americans, I am concerned about the poisonous atmosphere in Washington. I wanted to take readers inside the White House and provide them an open and honest look at how things went off course and what can be learned from it. Hopefully in some small way it will contribute to changing Washington for the better and move us beyond the hyper-partisan environment that has permeated Washington over the past 15 years."

I am confident the reaction that will spew forth from both sides of the political aisle will simply reinforce McClellan's basic assertion. Republicans will attempt to impugn McClellan's credibility, while Democrats will shout, "We told you so!"

In previous columns, I have written much regarding the poison of deception that emanates from Washington, DC, which is mostly due to the preoccupation with political partisanship. It seems the only time the Republican and Democratic parties care about "ethics" and "honesty" is when it condemns the other party. Otherwise, life in Washington, DC, is exactly as McClellan describes it: a culture of deception.

McClellan's book will be a bitter pill to swallow. To think that the war in Iraq was "unnecessary" creates angst and even anger in the meekest of men. Yet, how many times have governments spent the lives and fortunes of their people for causes and reasons that historians would later judge to be "unnecessary?" It might even be safe to say that most of history's wars have been "unnecessary."

The propensity of rulers to engage in war for personal, transient, or even adolescent purposes is exactly why America's Founding Fathers created a constitutional republic in this country. In America, the Constitution -- not the president, congress, or even the Supreme Court -- is the Supreme Law of the land. Each branch of government is to remain separate from the other, and no branch is supposed to be able to run roughshod over the other. It is fidelity to constitutional government that forms the vanguard of our liberty, not to mention our safety.

This is why the president and members of congress take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. They are not sworn to uphold the will of party bosses or special interest groups, or even the whim of the people. They are required to uphold the constitution.

Sadly, America's civil magistrates (especially at the federal level) have been ignoring the constitution for much of the 20th century, and -- for the most part -- still ignore the constitution today. And it has not mattered to a tinker's dam which party has been in power. Both major parties are equal opportunity violators of the constitution.

None of us (including this writer) wants to believe that McClellan's bold assertion is true. None of us wants to believe that we are spending trillions of hard-earned tax dollars and sending thousands of brave soldiers and Marines (not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis) to their deaths "unnecessarily." I sincerely pray that McClellan is wrong about that.

One thing I do believe to be true, however, is this: Unless the American people begin demanding that their civil magistrates uphold their oaths to the constitution, and until the American people rid themselves of this blind loyalty to the two major political parties, we are going to be continually subjected to "Washington's Culture of Deception."

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19 Comments
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"......None of us (including this writer) wants to believe that McClellan’s bold assertion is true. None of us wants to believe that we are spending trillions of hard-earned tax dollars and sending thousands of brave soldiers and Marines (not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis) to their deaths “unnecessarily.” I sincerely pray that McClellan is wrong about that....."

I agree with this statement. But many of those American (and coalition) deaths could have been prevented had Bush himself taken post occupation seriously. He definitely bears responsibility for much of the current mess in Iraq.

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Washington's Culture of Lies and Corruption should lead directly to the http://www.prosecutionofbush.com/ Period.

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The prosecution of Bush would not bring anyone back to life, only a small piece of justice... and it is not even likely to happen. Iraq war is already engraved in our history, along with many others. May we all remember what war means the next time some crazy leader tries to force us into it.

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Ho-hum, imagine this, more America bashing ! Fact is this headline should read:

"(Insert political city of choice) culture of deception"

Tokyo would fit ! London ? You bet ! Toronto ? Absolutely ! Paris ? I think so ! Seoul ? Definitely ! Moscow ? Gotta laugh... fer sure ! Cmon JT, you can do better than these ill conceved liberal commentaries ! I mean does this really have any affect on the lives of J civilians or any of us living in Japan ? I think not... ho-hum !

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McClellan’s book will be a bitter pill to swallow. To think that the war in Iraq was “unnecessary” creates angst and even anger in the meekest of men. Yet, how many times have governments spent the lives and fortunes of their people for causes and reasons that historians would later judge to be “unnecessary?” It might even be safe to say that most of history’s wars have been “unnecessary.”

Even a 3year old could see there was no need for this war. And most of the wars in our history only served one purpose, that was to give everyone something to discuss in History class. As for saying we learn from our mistakes... well we obviously don`t.

I have no major thoughts yet on who is the best candidate for presidency But the the very timely release of this book just embodies the whole corruption ideals shared by the author,(and most of the world) If there is some kind of connection it is probably one of the most underhanded ways of democratic campaigning yet. If it is just a lucky coincidence I would be very surprised.

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Another Chuck Baldwin article.

Why not go to straight your main man, Ron Paul?

It's not cuz he's from Texayass, is it?

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So much for returning honor and dignity to the White House. Bush and his crew have been a total disgrace.

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According to McClellan’s book, the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated “political propaganda campaign” led by Bush himself. McClellan charges that Bush aimed at “manipulating sources of public opinion” and “downplaying the major reason for going to war.”

What is new about this? Is it really of any greater consequence that it is being said by Scott McClellan this time?

“What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”

Congrats, Scott, on being the umpteenth writer to say this.

McClellan said his motive for writing the book was this: “Like many Americans, I am concerned about the poisonous atmosphere in Washington. I wanted to take readers inside the White House and provide them an open and honest look at how things went off course and what can be learned from it. Hopefully in some small way it will contribute to changing Washington for the better and move us beyond the hyper-partisan environment that has permeated Washington over the past 15 years.”

And how is the present "poisonous atmosphere in Washington", the "hyper-partisan environment" really any different than at most times in our nation`s history, especially post-WWII?

McClellan`s real motive for writing the book was to try to make millions of dollars so he does not have to work again other than when he wants to.

This is why the president and members of congress take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. They are not sworn to uphold the will of party bosses or special interest groups, or even the whim of the people. They are required to uphold the constitution.

Take off the shades with the rose-colored lenses, Baldwin. Politics is an inherently dirty business, and the business of America is business.

None of us (including this writer) wants to believe that McClellan’s bold assertion is true. None of us wants to believe that we are spending trillions of hard-earned tax dollars and sending thousands of brave soldiers and Marines (not to mention tens of thousands of Iraqis) to their deaths “unnecessarily.” I sincerely pray that McClellan is wrong about that.

O.K., you still do not get it, Baldwin, so I will say it for the zillionth and one time: McClellan`s "bold assertion" is the gospel truth, an apt description to my mind since the George W. Bush administration likes religion so much.

and until the American people rid themselves of this blind loyalty to the two major political parties, we are going to be continually subjected to “Washington’s Culture of Deception.”

And your solution to this mess as you see it is this?

Have a nice day, Baldwin, and be sure to thank McClellan for giving you something to write about.

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Golly, is it true?! Bush actually lied the US into a war with Iraq?! How shocking!

You know this is what I and many others have been saying since that damn war started. This is old news. The only thing interesting is who is saying that Bush and his crew are liars.

But just watch. The stupid Americans will vote in McBrainless and it will be four more years or more of the same old doo-doo.

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"The Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by Bush himself"

Led by Bush himself? That "idiot in the White House"? Impossible!

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Whatever, McClellan's book is not a bomb. The fact the Bush and his cronies are liars was not a news flash that,s why his approval rating is at 27% or some such. The only notable thing is that McClellan came out with the truth which is odd for one of Bush's inner circle to break ranks.

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the us gov needs to be far more transparent and open then it ever has, if we want to restore any credabilty at home or abroad.

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credibilty

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So many of you believe this book...how pathetic! Like it was mentioned in an earlier post. This is all strategy and I doubt this guy has any credibility by the timing of the release. Everyone who dislikes Bush and the war will love this book even if it is not true. I for one felt we needed to go kick some ass after what they did in our country. Perhaps other countries will sit and have them blow up their cities away but I'm sure glad we did not stand by and say, well, we are just like every other country now. We had a president who took the bull by the horns and did what he had to. I supported him then and am sticking to it unlike many democrats that held hands and agreed and now go back on their word; so un- American. If anything is false about the reasoning behind going, do you really think Congress did not know before agreeing on this action? Please...it is all political.

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In this disinformation age, who do you believe?

Most people choose to believe what they want to believe and never take a good hard look at the facts or comprehend the level of manipulation.

Both parties do it and anyone that takes a hard line position one way or the other are idiots.

I haven't read the book or paid much attention to the commentary as I haven't made up my mind whether he is a saint or a sleeze. His association with some of the worst offenders of far left propaganda machine and the kid glove treatment by the media leaves me highly suspect that Mclelland is nothing more than a sell out.

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I liked the article. The writer went beyond political lines and essentially indicted all of Washington:

It seems the only time the Republican and Democratic parties care about “ethics” and “honesty” is when it condemns the other party.

Very true.

Baldwin does a good job of describing the politics of Washington, but if you read the comments here you see people engaging in the same activities. So are the politicians a reflection of the people, or are the people a reflection of the politicians?

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"So much for returning honor and dignity to the White House. Bush and his crew have been a total disgrace."

So...Bill's playtime with what's her face and a cigar in the oval office was more dignified?

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So...Bill's playtime with what's her face and a cigar in the oval office was more dignified?

Bush was supposed to represent a total change from his predecessor. A culture of corruption and deception: some change.

I'll leave it to you to decide whether playing fast and loose with the truth about some sex act is more or less dignified than doing the same when taking the nation to war with Iraq. That is by no means the only example of Bush's lying and deception.

At least Clinton had some degree of competence. How many times did we hear from the Bush administration that the Iraq war would practically pay for itself?

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Most of what McClellan has to say is self-serving and not particularly revelatory. Indeed, those who read papers published by the now defunct Knight Ridder chain were aware the administration was lying even before the attack on Iraq began. Nevertheless, McClellan's book will have served a purpose (other than enriching McClellan) if it causes people who pay attention to the news to demand that those who call themselves journalists actually investigate the facts and report the results of those investigations, rather than merely parrot the propaganda fed to them by the government.

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