In the famous Saturday Night Live skit featuring Peyton Manning, Manning, in frustration, demands of one of the hapless kids he’s playing football with “Okay, I’m sorry — do you want to lose?”
It is difficult to read the report this week by Eli Lake alleging that Karl Rove suppressed any push-back on the meme that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq without this question springing to mind: does Rove like to lose? This comes on the heels of a New York Times report that not only were WMD found in Iraq, but several US servicemembers were injured by them. (As an aside, some of what the Times reports on was known, Wikileaks, for instance, contained evidence of WMD and my friend, Jim Lacey, did an extensive article at National Review on what was known.)
Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”
Lake goes on to report on efforts by Rick Santorum, then engaged in a hotly contested senatorial campaign, and others to get the White House to go on the offensive over the issue. I agree with Rove that it is best to let sleeping dogs lie, but the absence of WMD in Iraq was not a sleeping dog. It was a rabid Rottweiler hanging onto the ass of the Bush Administration. More from Lake:
One might think a politically vulnerable Bush White House would’ve seized on Santorum’s discovery. After all, Bush and his subordinates famously accused Iraq of having active weapons of mass destruction programs.
But at least in 2005 and 2006, the Bush White House wasn’t interested. “We don’t want to look back,” Santorum recalled Rove as saying (though Santorum stressed he was not quoting verbatim conversations he had more than eight years ago). “I will say that the gist of the comments from the president’s senior people was ‘We don’t want to look back, we want to look forward.’”
It is difficult to conceive how, given the way the Bush Lied became embedded in the political vernacular, anyone pretending to political skills would have let the story metastasize. For instance, when Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial” was published it contained an interview with President Bush and …read more