Thursday, June 05, 2008

A New "WHIG of the Week", Scott McClellan

This is crossposted from WHIGgate Update at

OK. I know that has been very inactive lately, but the fact is that it started with high hopes (and what turned out, of course, to have been false hopes) that the American people and their representatives in Congress and the "independent" flag-waving American mass media would come to their senses and hold the war criminals of the Bush Administration responsible for waging a war of aggression on manufactured evidence. The White House Iraq Group seemed like the perfect frame in which to tell the story of those lies, and the way they were sold to us.

Despite the fact that we seem to be OK with being lied to, I couldn't help posting this new entry for nobody to read when I ran across the following question and answer in the transcript of a Washington Post Book World online discussion from May 30:

Rhode Island: Hi. I hope this question doesn't sound confrontational. My understanding is that you didn't become press secretary until a year or so after the Iraq war began. Can you tell us about what your role was before that? Were you privy to high-level discussions in the lead-up to the war? Thanks.
Scott McClellan: I became press secretary on July 15, 2003, a few months after the initial invasion. Prior to that, I served as the principal deputy press secretary. I was not involved in the policy-making on Iraq or in developing the overall marketing strategy for selling the war to the public. I did fill in for my predecessor at times, and even participated in some White House Iraq Group, or WHIG meetings. WHIG was set up as the marketing arm for selling the war to the public.

I'm not sure that I've seen the White House Iraq Group referred to by name and by its WHIG designation so clearly by a White House official who took part in their meetings. I find it very impressive that the author of What Happened was not responding to a specific question about the Group or its role; Scott McClellan brought the names up unprompted, and followed up with the perfect one-sentence definition: "WHIG was set up as the marketing arm for selling the war to the public."

When America's Paper of Record, The New York Times, still has not mentioned the "White House Iraq Group" in its news pages [only in Frank Rich's columns], then it's not surprising that even some of us who track down these scattered references begin to doubt the group's existence and/or importance. Scott's nonchalant confirmation of its name and its role is striking (but not as striking as the continuing silence from the "liberal" Times). WHIGgate Update will come roaring back with another post if the Times ever writes about the Group in its news pages [click here to see if they do], but don't hold your breath. We don't expect to see anything until we're well into the Obama administration and they can treat this Bush-regime story in quaint historical context, not as a crime that demands immediate prosecution.

This is crossposted from WHIGgate Update at

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