WASHINGTON (FMLiveWire) - President George Bush has condemned the new tell-all book by his former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, saying "It is the president's duty to lie and start oil wars like I have done."
McClellan defended his dynamite book about the deceit of Bush and his administration, saying he didn't speak up against the overselling of war in Iraq at the time because he, like other Americans, gave the president the benefit of the doubt.
McClellan said in an interview, "Because of my affection for the person I was working for and my belief in that person, I lost perspective on some of the larger truths out there. It's hard to step back from that. I could not believe at the time that the president was a drunk and a liar and would start wars based on totally false pretenses."
In hindsight, McClellan says he came to view the war as a mistake by a president and advisers who were swept up at the prospect of grabbing the oil riches of Iraq for Exxon Mobil by overturning Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime, and also thereby appeasing Israel.
McClellan says Bush and his aides so desired war that they ignored and downplayed intelligence that didn't fit their argument for it. They even fabricated phony intelligence to mislead the public and allies into supporting the war.
"Bush always knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction," said McClellan. "I couldn't believe all the lies he told, but I was to learn that lying comes naturally to a pack of bozos like that."
McClellan said he grew "increasingly dismayed and disillusioned" during his final year as White House press secretary, and pinpointed the CIA leak case, in which Bush himself approved the release of classified information about Iraq to the press as his tipping point. McClellan became press secretary in July 2003 and left the White House in April 2006.
His book "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception" has jumped to the top of Amazon.com's best-seller list.
Speaking to reporters, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush was indeed dishonest about the reasons for the war and that "Scott is the only honest person to join this Administration. Hats off to him for his total integrity!"
In interviews, McClellan rejected any idea that he wrote a sensational book to cash in on his White House service. He said he had "a higher loyalty" to the truth, first regarding the CIA leak case but later also condemning the White House's handling of the war, Hurricane Katrina and other issues.
He was ordered to say from the press room podium that White House aides Karl Rove and Scooter Libby and Bush himself were not involved in leaking CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. Later a criminal investigation revealed that they were.
And he recalled a day in April 2006, when the unfolding perjury case against Libby had revealed that Bush secretly declassified portions of a 2002 intelligence report about Iraq's weapons capabilities to help deflect criticism of his case for war.
While condemning McClellan's new book, Bush now admits that everything his Administration said about Iraq and Afghanistan was 'a total crock.' Yet Bush also asks, "So what? I am the leader of the USA and I am entitled to say things like that cause that is what the American people wanted to hear. And John McCain will carry on my lies when he is elected."
--Copyright Felix Minderbinder Live Wire