A Willing Pawn in a Propaganda Campaign


Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’€™s new book, What Happened, describes the White House’€™s ‘€œpropaganda campaign‘€ surrounding the War in Iraq. Rather than fact checking and holding the White House accountable, Senator John McCain chose to use his seat in the U.S. Senate to cheerlead and help amplify the Bush propaganda on the war. An analysis by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (5/28/08) shows that the Bush Administration, McClellan, and McCain all towed the same party line to make the case for an unnecessary war.

In 2003 during a radio address Bush insisted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. McClellan also said in a White House Breifing (7-23-03) that ‘€œwe judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction programs.’€ Early on McCain also latched onto this talking point saying that ‘€œHussein continues to acquire, amass and improve on his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.’€ (Ashenville Citizen-Times, 10/13/02)

Vice President Dick Cheney infamously declared on NBC’€™s Meet the Press (3/16/03) that ‘€œI really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.’€ McClellan announced in a 4/30/03 briefing that ‘€œwe are liberators.’€ And John McCain said on The Today Show (3/20/03) that ‘€œthe Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.’€

Before Congress on 3/27/03, Paul Wolfowitz said that Iraqi oil revenues would help pay for reconstruction in Iraq. In a 12/7/05 White House briefing, Scott McClellan implied that Iraqi oil revenues would help pay for reconstruction. The National Journal reported on 2/15/03 that John McCain also said that Iraqi oil reserves would cover the cost of the war.

During his remarks in Bucharest, Romania on 4/2/08, Bush said that ‘€œwhen Iraqi and Coalition Forces defeat this enemy, the effects will reverberate beyond Iraq’€™s borders.’€ McClellan said in a briefing on 12/6/05 that liberating Iraq would ‘€œspread democracy in the broader Middle East.’€ Not to be outdone, John McCain said in a Meet the Press appearance on 3/30/03, that the war will be ‘€œone of the best things that’€™s happened to America’€ and that it will ‘€œreverberate throughout the Middle East.’€

In a 4/19/04 issue of Newsweek George W. Bush is quoted as saying ‘€œwe’€™ve got to stay the course’€ in Iraq. McClellan said that ‘€œIt’€™s important that we continue to stay the course’€ in a 10/27/03 White House briefing. John McCain told ABC News on 10/24/04 that ‘€œwe’€™ve got to stay the course’€ in Iraq.

The Washington Post quoted Bush in a 11/17/03 story saying that the U.S. will not cut and run in Iraq. McClellan repeated the line in a 11/30/05 briefing saying that ‘€œwe will never cut and run.’€ John McCain told the Associated Press on 9/22/05 that ‘€œthe U.S. can’€™t cut and run.’€

The examples go on and on from issue to issue. Rather than being a check on the White House in the U.S. Senate, John McCain has been little more than a rubber stamp. Particularly on the war in Iraq, John McCain has been a willing pawn in the Bush Administration’€™s now admitted propaganda campaign.

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