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Conservatives with a Conscience?

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Scott McClellan, ex-White House spokesperson, has written a book about his experience as resident Bush administration propagandist. His main conclusion is that the Bush administration is in permanent campaign mode, and will lie, distort and manipulate to get its political way, even when going to war against a nation that did not attack the US.

The book "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception”, is scheduled to be released on Monday. Scott McClellan was known for his “deer-in-the-headlights” style of press conference, constantly looking flummoxed and off balance. This turns out to be the case, as he describes how "I could feel something fall out of me into the abyss as each reporter took a turn whacking me. It was my reputation crumbling away, bit by bit."

So, as many have hoped over the last 7 years, it looks like some conservatives do have a conscience, and need to set the record straight after being forced to lie and deceive as a part of their job description. Let us hope further that this is the tip of the iceberg, and that more conscience-tattered administration officials end up spilling their guts to assuage their guilt.

There is really nothing new in the book that we haven't heard before, it’s just that we haven't heard some of the details straight from one of the perpetrator’s mouth. McClellan details how the Bush administration, through him and others, lied the United States into a war in Iraq: “Over that summer of 2002, top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war. . . . In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the president's advantage. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

So McClellan confirms what the White House has denied since the run-up to the Iraq war, that it was a war of choice undertaken for political reasons. Untold thousands are dead as a result.

McClellan also confirms that he was lied to about Scooter Libby’s and Karl Rove's involvement in the CIA leak case. They were not only involved, they had private meetings at the White House in order to get their falsified testimony straight.

One of the more important confirmations in McClellan’s book is the fact that Bush is insecure and incapable of admitting mistakes. McClellan noted that a more secure person would have had the wherewithal to admit error. But not Bush Jr., who is so insecure and stubborn that he cannot change his mind, and cannot admit that he has made any mistakes. Combined with the unyielding, toxic political atmosphere created by Bush, Cheney and Rove, this intransigence has harmed the United States domestically and internationally in ways that will continue to play out for years to come.

Conservatives with a conscience? Bring ‘em on!


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John R. Moffett PhD is a research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Moffett's main area of research focuses on the brain metabolite N-acetylaspartate, and an associated genetic disorder known as Canavan disease.

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