Monday, June 02, 2008

Honestly, has he been honest? The McClellan Follies

Peggy Noonan says Scott McClellan seems honest and that his memoir should be viewed as such. Why? Her general instinct about him and the book.

Just one problem -- Robert Novak (no friend of the Bush Administration) says that McClellan did not allow truth to get in the way of his own story. This is why McClellan continues to parrot the now-disproven Democratic interpretation of the Valerie Plame affair:

In claiming he was misled about the Plame affair, McClellan mentions [Richard] Armitage only twice. Armitage being the leaker undermines the Democratic theory, now accepted by McClellan, that Bush, Vice President Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove aimed to delegitimize Wilson as a war critic. The way that McClellan handles the leak leads former colleagues to suggest he could not have written this book by himself.

On Page 173, McClellan first mentions my Plame leak, but he does not identify Armitage as the leaker until Page 306 of the 323-page book -- and then only in passing. Armitage, who was antiwar and anti-Cheney, does not fit the conspiracy theory that McClellan now buys into. When, after two years, Armitage publicly admitted that he was my source, the life went out of Wilson's campaign. In "What Happened," McClellan dwells on Rove's alleged deceptions as if the real leaker were still unknown.

While at the White House podium, McClellan never knew the facts about the CIA leak, and his memoir reads as though he has tried to maintain his ignorance. He omits the fact that Armitage identified Mrs. Wilson to The Post's Bob Woodward weeks before [Armitage] talked to me. [McClellan] does not mention that Armitage turned himself in to the Justice Department even before Patrick Fitzgerald was named as special prosecutor.

So Scott McClellan is peddling false concepts in his memoir. There is no value in false history. There is no value in false testimony -- that is why knowingly giving false testimony under oath is a criminal act. That's why Noonan's position -- "In that sense one should always say of memoirs of those who hold or have held power: More, please" -- is wrong. If there is a legitimate viewpoint or fact to add to an ongoing debate, by all means, add it. In this case, however, the issue is dead and the "Karl Rove outed Plame as revenge" notion is only alive in the fevered minds of the worst Bush-haters.

Considering that Novak says most of McClellan's memoir is about this incident, it means most of McClellan's memoir is untrue. That's not history; it's historical fiction.

No comments: