The Democrats’ claim that Bush lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction a “poison-tipped dagger aimed at the heart of the Bush presidency,”
When I served as a Senior Speechwriter in George W. Bush’s White House, Karl Rove was the bane of my existence. The rule was that no speech could ever go to the President without its first being reviewed by Mr. Rove, and since Karl was an extremely busy man, he often didn’t call in his comments to the Speechwriting Office till eight or nine in the evening. By the time these comments reached me, they often seemed hopelessly cryptic and unintelligible, yet somehow I had to figure out a way to work them into my draft without offending all the other big-shots whose comments I had previously incorporated…And all the while, of course, the President was waiting for his speech.
But despite the grief he caused me, I am one of Karl Rove’s biggest fans. Karl is a truly nice man — modest, personable, and extremely approachable — yet you couldn’t spend more than five minutes with him without recognizing that you were in the presence of a towering intellect. But having just read his memoir, Courage and Consequence, I am forced to conclude that Rove, perhaps more than anyone else, was responsible for the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
Let me recount a bit of personal history by way of background. About four years ago, around the time when Democrats were heatedly charging that Bush had “lied” about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in order to build a case for war (after all, they argued, if the weapons had existed, why weren’t we able to find them after liberating Iraq?), I was having lunch with Dr. Laurie Mylroie, one of America’s leading students of terrorism in general, and Iraqi terrorism in particular. Laurie was beside herself with anger. Why wasn’t the Bush administration citing Gen. James Clapper, the Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, who said that satellite imagery proved conclusively that shortly before the war’s outbreak, Iraq had transferred its weapons of mass destruction to Syria? Why wasn’t it quoting Gen. Georges Sada, deputy chief of Saddam’s air force, or Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s chief-of-staff, both of whom also claimed that Saddam’s weapons had been transferred to Syria? Why was it so tongue-tied, so unsure of itself, so unwilling to answer its critics? Didn’t anybody in the White House realize that if the Democrats’ charges went unanswered, they would fatally undermine the entire case for the war?
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