Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan has taken up arms against his former boss in a new book, painting US President George W. Bush as having "veered terribly off course" and "rushing" to an unnecessary war in Iraq, US media reported on Tuesday.
In the scathing What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, the one-time presidential aide also blasted the White House staff over the disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by saying they “spent most of the first week in a state of denial,” Washington-based Politico magazine said.
“One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency,” McClellan wrote in the excerpts released to Politico.
“The perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath,” he wrote.
McClellan, 40, wrote that with Bush still in office the American public has already concluded “that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder.”
“No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary,” McClellan wrote.
He also accused former senior Bush strategist and adviser Karl Rove and Lewis “Scooter Libby,” the vice president’s chief of staff, of deceiving him on their role in an explosive CIA leak scandal involving the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.
“Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President [Dick] Cheney allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie” that Rove and Libby were not involved in the leak, McClellan wrote.