I haven't read the book yet, though I've requested a review copy. But the NYT did a pretty good summary of Karl Rove's new book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight" -- rather telling subtitle. It's not a journey of persuasion and argument, but a fight, which is the context in which one should view his WSJ columns and Fox appearances. It's hardly a surprise that he defends the Bush years. But it's not a physical fight but a vicarious one. I met him when he was pimping Bush during the run-up to 2000 and he's not a fighter.
The headline seems to be that he admits not finding weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's Iraq "badly damaged Mr. Bush's presidency," as the NYT puts it. But he insists that Bush didn't consciously lie during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and (NYT again) "he blames himself for not countering the narrative that 'Bush lied.'"
Sorry Karl, that would have been a difficult one to counter, for the simple fact that Bush lied serially. Now it may be that Bush did not consciously lie about believing Saddam had WMD. There are fairly credible accounts that he confronted then-CIA director George Tenet in December 2002, suggesting that the intelligence was pretty thin, and Tenet told him it was a "slam-dunk." So maybe Bush convinced himself -- but the evidence is that he has always been able to convince himself of self-flattering narratives.
Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com has helpfully provided once again the evidence of one of Bush's repeated post-invasion lies -- one the MSM never challenged him about. Again and again, once he noticed nobody challenged him, he said that Saddam refused to let the IAEA inspectors in to check for WMD, so since he acted so guiltily, there was no choice but to invade.
The truth, of course, is that Saddam did let the IAEA inspectors in for months in late 2002 and gave them full access to anything they wanted to see. The IAEA inspectors kept reporting they had found nothing and urged US intelligence, who seemed so convinced those weapons must be somewhere in Iraq (after all, Chalabi and Curveball said so), to provide them with leads. Nothing panned out. Finally Bush informed thje IAEA inspectors that they should get out of Iraq, not quite saying ec-licitly that the decision to invade had been made, but everybody got the message. So Bush invaded after the IAEA inspectors had been in Iraq for months and found nothing, and he knew that. And every time he told the story afterward, he lied and said Saddam denied access. He may even have c0nvinced himself it was true --he seems to have quite a capacity for self-deception -- but in fact he lied and lied and lied.