Karl Rove’s “Courage and Consequence”

I will not be reading Karl Rove’s upcoming blockbuster with the self-aggrandizing title, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.” However, copies have been released to the press and there are enough previews of the book to satisfy my curiosity about what this man, affectionately called “turd blossom,” is trying to peddle.

Furthermore, after watching this man—this brain—for eight years directly manipulate the President of the United States and, indirectly, the American people, I have heard and seen more than enough.

As I said, there are many previews floating around, most notably in the New York Times.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

For the most part, his book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” to be published by Threshold Editions on Tuesday, is an unapologetic defense of Mr. Bush and his presidency, and takes aim at Democrats, the news media and disloyal Republicans for what he describes as hypocrisy, deceit and vanity.

::

In offering his take on history, Mr. Rove ruminates on what would have happened had Mr. Bush known the truth about the absent unconventional weapons, known as weapons of mass destruction, or W.M.D., in Iraq. While the opportunity to bring democracy to the Middle East as a bulwark against Islamic extremism “justified the decision to remove Saddam Hussein,” Mr. Rove says the suspected weapons were the primary justification for war.

“Would the Iraq War have occurred without W.M.D.? I doubt it,” he writes. “Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the W.M.D. threat. The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam, bring about regime change, and deal with Iraq’s horrendous human rights violations.”

From the reviews, it appears that Mr. Rove is more concerned about having offered a “weak response” to accusations that his hero “lied us into a war” than about the Bush administration’s incompetence, exaggerations, misrepresentations and, yes, the lies themselves that were used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

As to the weapons of mass destruction allegedly possessed by Iraq, and perhaps the primary reason to take our country to war, Rove—unlike some neocons—does admit that Iraq did not have them and finally tells us so.

Mr. Rove, now you tell us. After you, along with your Vice-President and others, did everything in your power—including abusing such power—to lead Congress and the American people to believe that there was such a “real and imminent” threat. Efforts that included leaking the identity of a C.I.A. operative, Valerie Plame, and besmirching the reputation of her husband, Joseph Wilson.

“Courage and Consequence”?

Mr. Rove, there is nothing courageous about your instrumental role in taking our country to war under false pretenses; there is nothing courageous about your role in committing hundreds of thousands of our troops to a war that would have never occurred if you and those you advised had done due diligence.

Finally, Mr. Rove, the real consequence of your “courage” is the loss of over 4,000 brave American troops and the horrific injuries sustained by tens of thousands servicemen and women.

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Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

  • Rambie

    He's on Fox News often enough if you get nostalgic.

  • Silhouette

    Gee, I wonder then if Dick Cheney has ties to Fox News and how the arab prince owning Newscorp under the OIC mandate of infiltrating foreign media to affect internal policy ties Cheney to the arab-agenda?

    We think we know Al Qaida. I got [Fox] news for ya..

    The cat is publicy out of the bag as of last night. The senior aide to Gen. Colin Powell declared on national TV yesterday that Rove, Cheneyco et al. got together and planned how to lie to Congress in order to invade Iraq for oil.

    There's your nugget for indictment. *Waits to see if the new testicles this administration apprears to be growing extends to holding out our harbored fugitives to world justice..*

  • JSpencer

    One word: Scum.

  • Zzzzz

    Cowardice and Arrogance: My Life in the Conservative Fight against Constitutional Principals

  • JSpencer

    Geeze, where are all the proud defenders of Rove from years gone by? Are they really going to miss this opportunity to defend the great brain of the GOP? Ah… love is so fickle. ;-)

  • gcotharn

    I will defend. I much enjoy Mr. De Wind's writings, yet I often disagree with his reasoning. Another disagreement here: Mr. Rove is slandered in this blogpost.

    I understand giving an opinion, inside a blogpost, without having full evidence to back that opinion. However, in the instance of WMDs, the evidence that Mr. Rove and Pres. Bush did not lie is so strong, the evidence that they did lie is so weak, that to say Mr. Rove lied amounts to “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.”

    Re WMD in Iraq:
    Saddam, in a bid to make Iraq look powerful, in a bid to control his own people and maintain control over Iraq, in a bid to protect himself from Iran, in a bid to wield influence throughout the Middle East and Persia: intentionally led the world to believe he had WMDs. The U.S., Britain, France, and most of Europe truly believed WMDs existed in Iraq. To call the public sharing of this belief “a lie” is a slander. Mr. Rove and VP Cheney believed Iraqi WMD existed and were a threat. So far as we know: any intelligence agency in the world which had an opinion on the matter adjudged that Iraqi WMD existed. Saddam's subterfuge was successful.

    Saddam made a strategic miscalculation, yet it was a close call: Saddam almost got away with it. Saddam conspired with France. Saddam knew France would, at the last second, betray the U.S. inside the U.N., knew France would rally support against any invasion of Iraq. Saddam used Oil For Food bribes of oil, plus promises to France of future oil deals, in a coordinated Iraq and French effort to stave off invasion. And Saddam came very close to pulling it off.

    Had Saddam pulled it off: already ineffective U.N. inspections would have crumbled completely, moderately effective economic and trade sanctions would have crumbled completely, and Saddam would have been free to operate in the Middle East with impunity — including continuing his program of financial rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He almost did it. He was so close. The appearance of having WMDs helped him get that close to achieving his goal.

    Re Plame/Wilson
    Mr. Rove, despite a vigorous investigation, was neither tried nor convicted of a crime.

    IMO, Joe Wilson outed Valerie Plame via including a politically motivated lie in his NYT article: i.e. Joe Wilson wrote that there was no evidence that Iraq was seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger. Wilson's NYT article contradicted his own report to the CIA and his own testimony about what he found. When Wilson wrote his conflicting account in the NYT, and when his when his conflicting account appeared at a moment and in a way which ensured it would become a Presidential Campaign issue, then Wilson created a circumstance in which information about his wife was almost certain to become public. For all intents and purposes: Joe Wilson outed his wife.

    I will remind anyone reading, as most have forgotten: the actual verbal outing of Valerie Plame was done by Colin Powell's Assistant Sec. of State Richard Armitage. Armitage was not a fan of the Bush Administration, in many ways was an opponent of the Bush Administration, and no one who is familiar with Washington has ever believed Armitage outed Plame in an attempt to help the Bush Administration.

    I further remind, as most have forgotten (if they ever knew), that Scooter Libby was not convicted of outing Plame, but of perjury.

    Finally, I remind that one positive consequence (amongst many) of the conquest of Iraq will be the democratic elections which will occur the day after tomorrow.

  • gcotharn

    After Joe Wilson visited Niger, he testified to learning that Iraqi officials had come to Niger seeking “trade” with Niger. Wikipedia reports uranium provides 72% of Niger's export proceeds. The rest of Niger's meager “trade” consists of minerals, phosphates, and foodstuffs which Niger trades with surrounding nations. Based on Niger's meager trade offerings, the CIA had suspicion that Iraq's vague solicitation of “trade” could mean solicitation of yellowcake uranium.

    Joe Wilson had to have been aware of this. Yet, in his NYT article, Wilson omitted his discovery of Iraq's vague solicitation of trade with Niger, and thus mischaracterized – likely for political purpose – what he found in Niger.

  • jeff_pickens

    I had the opportunity to read Ron Suskind's “The Price of Loyalty,” as well as Richard Clarke's ” Against All Enemies”, and “Your Government Failed You, Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters.”

    These books were a shocking revelation of the pre-emptive mindset of going to war in Iraq, and about how political loyalty brought about the whole mess of this Iraq debacle.

    I was alive and well during this time, and even supported the invasion based on Mr. Cheney's “…there is NO DOUBT” statement about WMDs, and Colin Powell's readings before the United Nations, even to the point of quoting specific amounts of the weapons and etc.

    The only thing that redeems the president in my view is that he didn't actually go out and have someone at least “plant” a few WMDs to justify the invasion, and thus satisfy his condition of war.

    I remember nothing from Karl Rove but endless tripe about “patriotism” and “you're with us or against us” or “liberals are ruining our country” and other less-worthy filth. The man is despicable.

    We NEVER need another Karl Rove in American politics. Karl Rove has not been a good thing for any American. Karl Rove represents the disease state of politics incarnate.

  • JSpencer

    There are ample reason to be disgusted by Karl Rove even without taking Iraq into consideration. His work in American politics created a new low in the realm of dirty tricks and misinformation. As for the invasion of Iraq, there is a great deal of blood on the hands of it's creators, and no amount of excuse making will remove it. Rove is a prime example of the bad result when loyalty to party trumps loyalty to country. If I had his karma I'd just put a gun to my head and be done with it.

  • dduck12

    Rove is a prime example of the bad result when loyalty to party trumps loyalty to country.”

    I can't wait to see Rahm's book: “How We Managed to Mismanage For Eight Years”, if he lasts that long.

  • DdW

    cgotharn:

    I appreciate your picking up the gauntlet in defense of Mr. Rove and the Bush administration on the rationale for taking our nation to war against Iraq.

    Especially today, when the preponderance of evidence and opinion unmistakably point to—and I will say it again—Rove’s and the Bush administration’s” incompetence, exaggerations, misrepresentations and, yes, the lies themselves that were used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.”

    You, I and the vast majority of Americans who were not within earshot of Bush administration key players when those fateful decisions were made, have to rely on reports from what we believe are reputable sources—journalists, authors, historians, legislators, military officials, present and former government officials, etc., etc.—to form an opinion on this and similar matters.

    You obviously have formed one opinion. I, on the other hand, have a much different opinion. I disagree with yours, but I respect it.

    While you express your opinions and provide a couple of anecdotal instances—“evidence”– supporting them, it does not even begin to chip at the massive volume of “evidence” that contradicts your opinion and that of your unnamed sources.

    For example, there are 992,000 entries that appear when one googles “Bush administration lies on wmd.” Of course, thousands of these links take one to some not very reliable or reputable sources, but thousands of others do take one to reputable, authoritative sources.

    Even if only one percent of these sources are reliable, we are still talking about nearly 1,000 sources that honestly believe that the Bush administration misled the nation on the Iraq war.

    Of course, you may now quote specific sources, and I will produce sources to the contrary. If you want to, we can play that “game.” Although, I don’t believe that what the Bush administration did is a game.

    As to, saying that Rove lied amounts to “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name,” I respectfully but very strongly say “poppycock.”

    Finally, as to your “reminder” that “one positive consequence (amongst many) of the conquest of Iraq will be the democratic elections which will occur the day after tomorrow”:

    First, I don’t think you really meant to say “conquest.”

    Second, I am glad that after eight years of horror the Iraqi people are having elections, and I sincerely hope that they go well and that after our troops leave, that country will not be torn apart by sectarian or other violence.

    Third, wonderfully as it sounds, I hope we will think twice in the future before we decide to “install Democracy” by the barrel of a gun in some distant country.

    Thank you for your comments.

  • gcotharn

    DdW,

    I will stand by my two stated disagreements with you:

    1. re WMD, b/c the evidence is so strong that neither Rove nor GWB lied, b/c the argument that they did lie is premised upon slogans and hypnotism, therefore to say they lied is to slander them.
    2. neither Rove nor Bush outed (or arranged the outing of) Valerie Plame.

    Separately: if the U.S. and friends did not conquer Iraq, how do you characterize what happened there?

  • gcotharn

    DdW,

    I will stand by my two stated disagreements with you:

    1. re WMD, b/c the evidence is so strong that neither Rove nor GWB lied, b/c the argument that they did lie is premised upon slogans and hypnotism, therefore to say they lied is to slander them.
    2. neither Rove nor Bush outed (or arranged the outing of) Valerie Plame.

    Separately: if the U.S. and friends did not conquer Iraq, how do you characterize what happened there?

  • DdW

    cgotharn:

    I stand by my post and by my comments, too.

    As to:

    Separately: if the U.S. and friends did not conquer Iraq, how do you characterize what happened there

    BBC News, Friday, January 3, 2003

    US President George W Bush rallied US troops on Friday, telling them that a war in Iraq would be “not to conquer but to liberate”.

    Added:

    Could you explain:

    1. re WMD, b/c the evidence is so strong that neither Rove nor GWB lied, b/c the argument that they did lie is premised upon slogans and hypnotism, therefore to say they lied is to slander them

    Especially the” hypnotism” part.

    Thank you

  • gcotharn

    hypnotism = literary license. I enjoyed it.

    But, I do have a hunch which will never be proven/disproven. I suspect many on the left, when they first heard “Bush lied people died”, knew it was a politcal slogan. Over time, however, the slogan was so much fun; the slogan felt so good; the slogan was so effective as a political cudgel: many of those same persons forgot it was just a slogan. Gradually, over time, they forgot there was no evidence to support that Bush lied about WMD. Gradually, over time, via mental sloppiness, they came to believe “Bush lied people died” was true.

    I've a similar hunch about the meme that Bush was arrogant and it damaged our foreign relations. I remember exactly when this began: in the runup to the 2004 Presidential Election. John Kerry frequently referenced it as a reason to vote for John Kerry. I suspect many on the left knew this was just political posturing; knew nations act in their own self interest, irregardless of the arrogance of the leaders of other nations; knew nations do not choose foreign policy b/c other nations make nicey nice with them. However, over time, some of the left persons who knew this was posturing sort of forgot what they knew: they came to believe nations truly do conduct foreign policy on the basis of nicey nice.

    Anyway, those are just theories. I only suspect them, and will never know if they are correct or incorrect. The alternative is that most of the left are idiots who believed Nancy Pelosi's and John Kerry's political slogans from the beginning; believed Bush went to war for Halliburton; believed nations conduct foreign policy based on nicey nice. My theories are more generous to the leftist ability to perceive the world as it is.

    Of course, some of the left have been idiots from the beginning. For instance, both Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama have always believed nicey nice will motivate other nations to make foreign policy agreements with us.

  • gcotharn

    and thanks for responding re conquest. IMO, we conquered and we liberated. When Bush spoke, he had to be cognizant of everyone around the world who studied his words. When he said, “not to conquer but to liberate”, he was sending a message to Iraq and to the world about our intentions. He was speaking into the listening which was available.

  • gcotharn

    And I just noticed you requested response re

    strong evidence that Rove and Bush did not lie re WMD
    ~~~ that evidence is that intelligence agencies around the world believed Saddam had WMD; that George Tenet told GWB it was a “slam dunk” that Saddam had WMD.

    weak evidence that Rove and GWB knew that Saddam had only small stocks and/or out of date stocks of WMD
    ~~~ where is any evidence that Rove and GWB knew this? How could Rove and GWB have known this?

  • JSpencer

    It's ludicrous (especially at this late juncture) to imagine that Bush and Co. were not going to invade Iraq, regardless of their knowledge about WMDs – it was on the drawing board and they only needed an excuse. As for the idea that we “conquered” Iraq, I guess you can call it anything you want, but the reality is what happened, what we lost, and what the Iraqi people are currently living with. My guess is that they have a different name for it. Not a good time in history for either of our countries, and no amount of revisionist history will justify it.

  • gcotharn

    I never said GWB only invaded due to WMD.

    “conquest” is a minor characterization which is irrelevant to the conversation. I only wondered what the heck DdW was talking about when he made note of it, and he was good enough to respond.

    The reality in Iraq is both what was lost and what is gained. You are excluding what is gained.

    re “what the Iraqi people are currently living with”:
    What are you referencing? Are you asserting that Iraq would be better off with
    Saddam and sons still in power? If so, are you asserting that the Shia (60% of the population) and the Kurds (10% of the population) would be happier with Saddam still in power?

    re “no amount of revisionist history will justify it”:
    Again, what are you referencing? Are you asserting that the cost of liberating the Iraqi people was too high to be justified? If so, what cost would have been acceptable? Where do you draw the line? Could a low enough cost have been accurately predicted and then accomplished?

    re: “Not a good time for either of our countries”
    We liberated 25ish million people; we did not steal their resources; we poured money into the liberation effort. This is one of the finest efforts and one of the finest moments in human history, and is certainly one of the finest moments in both U.S. and Iraq history. Barack might still give it away via incompetence and delusion. But, for now, it remains one of the finest moments.

  • WagglebutII

    It is still my fervrent hope to see a formal inquest into the Iraq invasion either by Congress or a special prosecutor. Treason is a recurring theme which will emanate from such a process and it will focus on Dubya, Dick, Turd Blossom, Rummy, Wolfie & possibly Condi. We owe this to our country and to the men and women who died on both sides of the illegal invasion of a non-offending sovereign state.

  • DdW

    My apologies, gcotharn. I was wrong about Karl Rove, We were all wrong.

    Please read:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar

  • gcotharn

    The WaPo article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar

    In the article, Dana Milbank is a sputtering Elmer Fudd.

    #1 Milbank fails to rebut re “trashed” the White House

    “[Rove] describes at length how Clinton staffers 'trashed' the White House”

    Milbank protests “trashed”. If Rove said “trashed” w/o then describing the damage, then Milbank would have an argument (a losing argument, imo, as the degree of trashing has no bearing upon the accuracy of “trashed” as a descriptor). However, Milbank doesn't understand that Rove's description of the damage allows readers to make up their own minds; that Rove's description of the damage means Rove is not misleading any readers.

    Milbank, trying to make a case against “trashed”, props up a straw man: “though investigators were 'unable to conclude whether the 2001 transition was worse than previous ones'”. Milbank's straw man does not rebut Rove's point that Clinton staffers trashed the White House; does not rebut or contradict Rove's descriptions of the damage.

    #2 Milbank fails to rebut; extends his own mischaracterization of Dick Cheney

    “[Rove] says it was a 'dangerous falsehood' that administration officials 'claimed Iraq had been behind 9/11,' so he must have forgotten Dick Cheney calling Iraq 'the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.'”

    Milbank is repeating his own Dowd-like misrepresentation of Cheney's Meet the Press remarks in Sept 2003. In actuality, the “geographic base” of which Cheney was speaking was the entire Middle East. Milbank omitted the first part of Cheney's statement, in which Cheney was explaining the overall strategic goal of the WOT. The overall strategic vision is for a good representative government in Iraq to secure the larger region of the Middle East in such a way that actors in the Middle East do not become future threats to the U.S., do not seek WMD, do not provide safe haven for terrorists. This is a strategic vision which extends 10 years into the future, and 50 years into the future, and more. It is a strategic vision which most of the anti war left has refused to acknowledge. Cheney was speaking of overall strategic vision; was speaking of the Middle East as “the heart of the base, if you will” of violent fundamentalist Islam. Here's Cheney's unDowdified quote on Meet the Press:

    “If we're successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it's not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it's not a safe haven for terrorists, then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”

    John at Powerlineblog pointed to this on Sept 29, 2003: The Post Misquotes Cheney Again, and drew this conclusion:

    The Post's twisting of Cheney's statement to make it sound as if he said that Iraq was the geographic base of the 9/11 hijackers–which neither Cheney nor any other administration official has ever claimed–can only be a deliberate misrepresentation.

    #3 Score! Milbank scores(!) by pointing out that Rove mischaracterized a 2000 Bush apology to McCain

    This is assuming Milbank accurately characterizes Rove's book, which – given my low opinion of Milbank's reliability – I do not fully believe unless I read Rove's words for myself. But, for purposes of our discussion, I will address this as if Milbank is correctly characterizing Rove's words.

    Here's what Rove allegedly referenced, via
    http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/09
    quoting the 2007 book “Dead Certain”:
    Page 81: Meeting McCain privately in May of 2000 before picking up his former rival’s endorsement, Bush finally apologized for not denouncing the statement by Thomas Burch in the South Carolina primary. Burch was the veteran who, with Bush present, accused McCain of forgetting about Vietnam veterans.

    A Bush apology, after the South Carolina primary was over, was politically meaningless. If Rove implied differently, then Rove was disingenuous.

    #4 Milbank, in full Elmer Fudd mode, sputters about the alleged “RATS” ad in 2000

    Yes, and a Hillary ad put a child in pajamas which had “NIG” on them. RATS and NIG were never stories; were, instead, examples of media (with Milbank front and center) choosing sides and promoting one candidate over another. Milbank quotes Rove: “Our defense was the truth — we thought it was an accident”, and offers no factual rebuttal to Rove's simple assertion. There never was a story: there was only media speculation and sensationalism.

    #5 Milbank sneers about Rove's characterization of Cheney's selection as VP

    Milbank offers no factual rebuttal to counter Rove's assertion it is “far-fetched” that Cheney engineered his own selection. First, if Rove had no new information on Cheney's selection as VP, why would Rove include “far-fetched” speculation in the book? However, Rove is an amateur author/ghosted author. Milbank is a professional. If a professional writer has no new information, why include the Cheney-as-VP tidbit in a WaPo article which is already compressed by a word limit? Was Milbank merely searching for another opportunity to sneer? Apparently. Is this the best Milbank can do in however many words he has available in his hit job? Apparently. Weak tea.

    #6 Milbank sneers: “Rove didn't find it far-fetched to blame a Gore aide for leaking word of Bush's DUI”

    “Blame” is a mischaracterization by Milbank; is either incompetent and/or deceptive. Rove is speculating, clearly says he is speculating, and gives his reasons for suspecting Chris Lehane. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33946

    #7 Milbank disagrees with Rove's characterization that Bush' education policy was a great policy success.

    I'm not on top of this issue, probably agree with Milbank, but also am not interested in delving into the facts of this. Milbank attempts to rebut Rove via noting that the education policy is now being rewritten. Straw man. Rewriting the policy does not equate to the 2001 education policy being a failure. Milbank is maddeningly incompetent: even when he might be correct, he fails to make his case; he either cluelessly or disingenuously erects straw men, thus damaging his credibility even when he might be correct.

    #8 Milbank sneers about Rove's characterization of the “My Pet Goat” moment as Bush “trying to project calm”

    What am I missing? Bush was obviously shocked; was obviously trying to project calm. Where was Rove wrong? What other explanation exists? Milbank does not quote Rove saying Bush made the best choice. He only quotes Rove explaining Bush' motivation. What am I missing? Other than spewing maximum venom, what is Milbank trying to accomplish here?

    #9 Milbank sneers about Rove's comments re Plame investigation

    Milbank has no facts. He has only sneering for consolation.

    I score the fight inside Milbank's article as Rove 7, Milbank 2. Even when I score a Milbank victory, as in #7, Milbank nevertheless displays amazing ability to discredit himself. I also note that Milbank had an entire book to work with, and this was the best he could do. Scoring the entire book would yield a result which would be something like this: Rove 297, Milbank 2.

  • DdW

    I appreciate and admire your persistence and your loyalty to Mr. Rove. However, the sentiments and opinions expressed in my post and comments stand.

    Thank you

  • JSpencer

    Your contention that the Iraqi people are happier now than they were before the invasion is little more than propaganda. I suggest you read more widely – and not just the sources that prop up your opinions. The Christian Science Monitor would be a good start, there are others.

  • gcotharn

    Thank you for responding.

    When you say “the dynamic that allowed him [Saddam] to retain power for so long is still in place”:
    of what dynamic do you speak, and what is the solution for overcoming that dynamic?

    If the nation is a ruin, what is the solution?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Assuming 2 Billion Muslims in the world:

    What number do you estimate believe in a fundamentalism which justifies suicide bombing and attacking America?

    What do you see as the proper measures which the U.S. ought take to counter those fundamentalists who believe in violence?