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The Bush Chronicles: A Tell-All Tally

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Former press secretary Scott McClellan is only the latest former Bush administration insider to point a finger at White House failures in a tell-all book. But you can't settle scores without a score card, so here's how the president's onetime mouthpiece stacks up alongside other recent they-a culpas:

-- Paul Farhi

Book:"What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," by Scott McClellan.

Published: June 2008.

Debacles discovered: War sold with "propaganda," failure to plan after invasion of Iraq, general lack of candor, "culture of deception," officials in "permanent campaign mode," Rove and Libby lied.

Don't Blame Me. Blame . . .: Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby, Rice, the news media.

NOW You Tell Us?:" . . . the Iraq war was not necessary."

Arrogance/Hubris Factor: High.

Book: "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism," by Douglas J. Feith (former Pentagon official).

Published: April 2008.

Debacles discovered: Destructive agency turf battles, poor planning after invasion of Iraq, poor intel, strategic leaks to media by rivals.

Don't Blame Me. Blame . . . : Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Rice, the CIA, L. Paul Bremer, Gen. Tommy Franks.

NOW You Tell Us?: Bush declared "war is inevitable" in December 2002, before U.N. weapons inspectors had finished their work in Iraq. State Department anticipated a "many year" occupation.

Arrogance/Hubris Factor: High.

Book:"At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA," by George Tenet (former CIA director).

Published: April 2007.

Debacles discovered: Destructive agency turf battles, lack of communication, apathy led to Sept. 11. Also says Bush decided to go to war in December 2002.

Don't Blame Me. Blame . . . : Bush, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Libby, CIA officer Tyler Drumheller, German intelligence service, Iraqi source "Curveball."

NOW You Tell Us?:" 'There will be a significant terrorist attack in the coming weeks or months,' [a CIA operative] told Rice in July, 2001."

Arrogance/Hubris Factor: Moderate.

Book:"Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story," by retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, former commander of coalition forces in Iraq (2003-04).

Published: April 2008.

Debacles discovered: War's aftermath poorly planned, political meddling in military decisions, prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib, war used by administration "for political gains."

Don't Blame Me. Blame . . . : Bush, Rumsfeld, Bremer.

NOW You Tell Us?: Postwar troop levels were far too low to stop deadly insurgency.

Arrogance/Hubris Factor: High.

Book: "My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope," by L. Paul Bremer III, former administrator of Iraqi provisional authority, 2003-04 (written with Malcolm McConnell).

Published: February 2006.

Debacles discovered: White House's failure to supply sufficient troops, Iraqi forces weren't up to the job of securing the country.

Don't Blame Me. Blame . . . : Rumsfeld, Gen. John Abizaid.

NOW You Tell Us?: "Coalition forces were spread too thin on the ground."

Arrogance/Hubris Factor: Moderate to high.

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