March 27, 2006

Tap-dancing galore at today's White House press briefing.

Dubya's administration is really nervous about how all those pre-war memos about conversations between the prez and PM Tony Blair. How can I tell? Because nothing else could have made Dubya press secretary Scott McClellan work so hard to avoid giving an answer to tenacious questioning, mostly by Helen Thomas. [Scroll down to where Scotty says, 'Helen, go ahead.'] As near as this magpie could tell, the only substantive piece of information that Scotty admitted to was the fact that he read the NY Timestoday.

[For more details about the questioning, see the longer version of this post over at Magpie.]

Of course, the reason that Scotty was so evasive — even by his standards — is the wide divergence between Dubya's public statements during the immediate pre-Iraq war period and his statements as revealed in the memos quoted today by the NY Times. Think Progress has thoughtfully compiled a list of the major contradictions:

Public statement: Bush: "I've not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully." [3/6/03]

Private statement:
“The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,” Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. “This was when the bombing would begin.” [Bush/Blair meeting, 1/31/03]

Public statement:
Bush: "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq." [3/8/03]

Private statement:
“The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours,” the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.” [Bush/Blair meeting, 1/31/03]

Public statement:
Bush: "Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it." [3/17/03]

Private statement:
“But [Bush] had to say that if we ultimately failed [to get a second U.N. resolution], military action would follow anyway.” [Bush/Blair meeting, 1/31/03]

And those contradictions merely scratch the surface. It's going to be fun watching the administration duck and weave over the next few days. And to see how much this new information affects Dubya's standing in the polls.

Posted by Magpie at March 27, 2006 02:34 PM | Iraq | TrackBack(0) | Technorati links |