While promoting his new memoir, Karl Rove is mounting an all-out defense of the Bush administration, challenging common criticisms of his former boss' record. Rove has said that water-boarding isn't torture — in fact he's proud of how it helped "break terrorists" — and that Bush would not have invaded Iraq had he known Saddam Hussein lacked stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. After Rove clashed with NBC's Tom Brokaw over another Iraq point, media observers are asking whether W's top political strategist is using his book tour to correct misconceptions about Bush — or to rewrite history. (Watch Karl Rove defend himself on "Meet the Press")
Rove shamelessly mangles the truth: Rove's "thesis on the misbegotten birth of the Iraq war is a stretch even by his standards," says Frank Rich in The New York Times. Bush had no intention of trying other ways to "constrain" Saddam Hussein — Dubya was hellbent on invading, WMD or no. Rove's claim that Bush "neither hyped, manipulated nor cherry-picked the intelligence" to justify war is pure revisionist history.
"The new Rove-Cheney assault on reality"
Rove is just fighting for a fair shake in the history books: Rove's account of the WMD factor is "basically right," says Peter Feaver in Foreign Policy. WMDs were a legitimate reason "to promote regime change in Iraq" — without it, "the president's national security team would have pursued other more urgent priorities in the war on terror." Rove has every right to "re-litigate" that point so history doesn't get a warped picture of Bush.
"Rove returns to re-litigate the past"
Rove's memory isn't always right: Rove's memoir, Courage and Consequence is written with complete conviction, says Tom McIlroy in The Houston Chronicle. But Rove is "sometimes" plain wrong." WMD was just one way the administration lied us into war. A Center for Public Integrity study found that "Bush and members of his administration issued hundreds of false statements about the threat from Iraq to justify the war," including linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Karl Rove’s new book: Never in doubt, sometimes wrong"
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• Karl Rove's memoir: Worth the wait?
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