James Robbins offers his defense of Bush’s selective abuse of declassification of intelligence for partisan purposes by recounting a story when LBJ wanted to go after Roger Hilsman’s claim that the Vietnam War was a mistake. But – that war and the Iraq invasion were both mistakes and examples of how Administrations will lie to the American people. Thanks James for the analogy!
He continues with this canard:
It is odd that the president’s critics are taking umbrage that this release of declassified material was intended to discredit Wilson. Of course it was. What else could it be? Wilson was defaming the administration by saying that the president was a liar, in particular regarding the claim in the 2003 State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein’s regime was seeking to acquire uranium in Africa.
The problem with this defense of Bush’s partisan attack on Mr. Wilson comes from the simple fact that the White House WAS lying – and Mr. Wilson told the truth in the now famous oped. Once one understands this simple fact, the rest of Mr. Robbins’ spin is mute.
Update: Andrew McCarthy tries to justify Bush’s leak by saying Clinton did it too:
After the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in 1998, the Clinton Administration retaliated, in part, by bombing the al Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Almost immediately, President Clinton was attacked politically: we had taken out a mere aspirin factory, Sudan was not a threat to us, it was a gratuitous act of American aggression, etc. So what did the Clinton Administration do? Exactly what it should have done. It had intelligence officials leak to the media previously undisclosed, previously classified information which put President Clinton’s decision in sensible context. Besides anonymous leakers, the Administration later sent its top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, to provide – selectively – some of the available intelligence, so the public would understand why President Clinton’s actions had been justified.
Given the fact that the rightwing continued to falsely claim this was a mere aspirin factory, it is refreshing to see that the National Review has finally decided that Clinton did the right thing here. So let’s summarize McCarthy’s position. Clinton revealed information showing he was telling the truth and this somehow justifies Bush’s selective cherry picking of information to spin and spin and avoid letting us realize that he lied? I have news for Mr. McCarthy – we already KNOW this Administration lied about Iraq. Get over it!