Rove’s ‘Courage and Consequence’ Short on Both
I imagine that some folks are anxious to get their hands on Karl Rove’s memoir. As I’ve previously mentioned, I am not one of those folks.
I gather from the numerous previews and reviews, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” is around 600 pages of Rove taking whacks at his critics, attempting to spin the Bush administration’s legacy out of pit for which it is destined. If you’re curious about Rove’s memoir, but you’re not in the market for a new doorstop, here are a few places to look:
- Stephen Levingston, book reviewer for The Washington Post, writes, “Rove has fashioned a portrait of the Bush presidency that aims to shape history in his boss’s favor.”
- Also at WaPo, Dana Milbank offers “… what he learned from Karl Rove’s book” within a Q&A chat with readers.
- The Huffington Post features “The 13 Must-Read Passages From ‘Courage And Consequence’” along with a slide show presentation of relevant material.
- The Daily Beast narrows it down to the “10 best revelations” within Rove’s book, sans the slideshow.
All of the above mention a couple of assertions made by Rove which demand further scrutiny.
Rove posits that his biggest regret from the Bush years was that he didn’t push back harder on accusations suggesting Bush misled the nation into war with Iraq. Further, Rove maintains the tired conservative meme, proclaiming an intelligence community consensus on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as proof of Bush’s honesty.
You can almost hear the incredulous sigh from David Corn — Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones and author/coauthor of two books on the subject – as he writes:
Here we go again: Did Bush grease the way to war with lies?..
Let’s cut to the bottom line: prior to the Iraq war, US intelligence generally produced faulty information overstating Saddam Hussein’s WMD capabilities, which were actually nonexistent. But Bush and his crew purposefully and callously overstated these overstatements—and made dramatic and untrue assertions unconnected to the flawed intelligence—in order to whip up popular support for the invasion of Iraq.
Corn suggests checking out Mother Jones‘ extensive timeline of “the false Bush administration assertions. I would add that Sam Smith’s “The revision thing,” originally published by Harper’s Magazine in Oct. 2003, should be required reading for anyone considering Rove’s, or any other Bush lackey’s memoir broaching this topic. Smith’s treatment is remarkable for its being composed entirely from false statements made by Bush administration officials.
Rove also attempts to spin away Bush administration statements connecting al Qaida and Saddam Hussein.
From “Courage and Consequence”:
Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda and about Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda “were substantiated by intelligence information,” according to the Senate Intelligence Committee 2004 report.
But, Rove is leaving out some important information.
From Media Matters Research (emphasis added):
Rove is presumably referring to a June 5, 2008, Senate Intelligence Committee report examining government officials’ pre-war statements about Iraq. (…) Rove is correct that the committee found that some Bush claims — specifically, “[s]tatements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda and about Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda” — were substantiated by the intelligence at the time. But the committee also concluded that Bush’s allegations suggesting “that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership” were “not substantiated by the intelligence”; and that Bush’s statements indicating Saddam was prepared to give WMD to terrorists were “contradicted by available intelligence.”
Should you decide to subject yourself to “Courage and Consequence,” keep in mind that Karl Rove was, and is, in essence, a BS artist. This designation is implied in Bush’s nickname for him: Turd Blossom. His entire professional life has been spent crafting favorable public perceptions for his employers, often emphasizing, even creating negative memes to hang around the necks of those candidates and critics who happened to be in the way.
The “elections” of George W. Bush are the twin pinnacle achievements of Karl Rove’s life. He has a vested interest in Bush’s historical legacy. And as a professional BS artist, Rove will buff that turd to a fine shimmering shine before conceding anything to his critics.
Knowing full well that Rove’s self interest is woven throughout the pages of “Courage and Consequences” — His positions, crafted for the purpose of propping up the Bush legacy, informed by a lifetime of BS artistry – has the effect of rendering his memoir historically worthless. Put another way, if those responsible for rendering judgment on the Bush presidency are to find Rove’s memoir useful as a source, it will be when they discredit it with other, more objective, sources.
Thus, I see no reason for creating space in my library for it.
Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons