Scott McClellan confirming Bush pre-war propaganda is like God confirming evolution: of course that’s what happened. But in the context of the current presidential election, our lame duck president’s past propaganda campaign is not the main story.
Everyone agrees that the Bush administration engaged in a propaganda effort to sell the invasion of Iraq to the American public. Everyone also knows that John McCain voted in favor of that war.
But not everyone knows that John McCain also helped to actively sell the war. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman were honorary co-chairs of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI). CLI was set up at the behest of the Bush administration in the fall of 2002 to help sell the already-decided upon war against Saddam Hussein, part of the propaganda campaign described by McClellan in his forthcoming book. First reported in the Washington Post on November 4, 2002, the CLI story was headlined “New Group Aims to Drum Up Backing for Ousting Hussein; Effort Seeks to Reverse Decline in Support for Attacking Iraq.”
The Washington Post article, by Peter Slevin, stated “With the administration's blessing, a new group is forming to press the case in the United States and Europe for ejecting Hussein from power. Called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, the organization is modeled on a successful lobbying campaign to expand the NATO alliance. Members include former secretary of state George P. Shultz, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).”
Slevin also reported that “A series of upcoming briefings of foreign policy groups, Iraq specialists and other opinion makers will be a "new phase," said a White House spokesman, who described the goal as building fresh public support for U.S. policy. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, will be much involved.”
The article also said that “While the Iraq committee is an independent entity, committee officers said they expect to work closely with the administration. They already have met with Hadley and Bush political adviser Karl Rove. Committee officers and a White House spokesman said Rice, Hadley and Cheney will soon meet with the group.” Note the phrase “Committee officers and a White House spokesman” in the preceding sentence. The CLI and the White House were apparently functionally one and the same.
1. Scott McClellan confirms Bush propaganda campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people and U.S. allies;
2. “With the administration’s blessing” the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was established in the fall of 2002 as part of that propaganda effort;
3. John McCain and Joseph Lieberman were members of CLI and the honorary co-chairs.
4. John McCain voted for Bush’s Iraq War;
5. John McCain helped “sell” the war to the American people.
6. John McCain, was not only a supporter of Bush’s Iraq War, but a cheerleader for it as well. He helped sway public opinion to accept, if not actively support, one of the greatest blunders in U.S. history.
7. John McCain exercised poor judgment.