From this Tuesday's Morning Joe, former Gov. George Pataki really was not happy with author Kurt Eichenwald's new book, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, or his op-ed which Susie wrote about here -- 9/11: When The Facts Didn't Fit Their Neocon Fantasy.
Unfortunately for him, Pataki managed to make a fool of himself while going after the author and throwing a bit of a fit on the show, because he freely admitted he hadn't read the book and didn't intend to. Nothing like conservatives sticking their fingers in their ears and going lalalala I can't hear you when someone's trying to tell them something they don't like. Eichenwald did a good job of pushing back at Pataki's assertions that the book was just intended as a hit piece on the Bush administration, actually read a few passages from the book and told Pataki that the most positive feedback he's gotten on the book is from members of the Bush administration.
I'm not sure where Scarborough slithered off to while this segment was airing, but he was no where to be found. I guess he wasn't so worried about one of his guests being attacked by another one, like we saw when he had so much concern for Reince Priebus when Chris Matthews jumped on him for the birtherism and racist dog whistles.
Partial transcript below the fold via:
Pataki: I think this is incredibly unfortunate, because, first of all, having been there on september 11th and for weeks, months, thereafter, president bush provided inspired effective leadership. and september 11th, everything changed. and to look 11 years later and say, this was happening before september 11th in the summer, and to go through and selectively take out quotes and say you should have done that, you should have done that, i think is incredibly unfair and a disservice to history. and by the way, you know, if you look back, there are those who could’ve said president roosevelt was at fault for pearl harbor. look at –
Eichenwald: There are people that do say that.
Pataki: But the government didn’t look back and say let’s blame the president. it came together to fight an important war. we came together to fight an important war. you could also look back, kurt, and say that you got intelligence we were going to be attacked. of course, we’d already been attacked. the towers were blown up in ’93. and i don’t think it serves us any point to say that then the clinton administration treated it as a criminal act as opposed to a terrorist act. they blew up the coal, destroyed our embassy with hundreds of losses of life. and the prior administration never said we are in a war with al qaeda. we are engaged in a post nation state antiterrorist climate. they didn’t say that. so now –
Eichenwald: They did.
Pataki: No, they didn’t.
Pataki: No, they didn’t.
Eichenwald: ‘We are declaring war on al qaeda,’ it was an intelligence war working with the northern alliance. we weren’t committing troops. but there absolutely within 1998, dissemination of we’re at war.
Pataki: Well, hideously ineffective because the planning, training all came out of afghanistan. and if they were back then, maybe you could have said it would never happened if in ’99 and 2000 they were more aggressive and had a more aggressive policy. but it doesn’t serve a point to try to say, oh, this party or this president is awful. He was an excellent leader at a hideous time.
Eichenwald: That’s not what i’m saying. What i am saying is, we cannot say i’m not going to pay attention to history. that part of history is my — your part of the story is saying clinton did this, clinton did that, clinton did the other. you know what? you’re right. now let’s go to talking about the summer of 2001. and saying we can’t talk about it, we can’t learn from it because it’s upsetting.
Pataki: Of course —
Eichenwald: It’s completely wrong. it’s 11 years later.
Pataki: If course we can talk about it and learn from it, but it should be done in a fair way. not in a way where— i haven’t read your book, thank god, and i don’t intend to, but just looking at the jacket of the quotes in the back, these are selectively taken for a specific purpose of making the bush administration look bad. this is not about history. i don’t mind history.
Eichenwald: Here’s the first page or the second page. i’m not going to find it here, but what you’ve got is — hold on. ‘bush’s down home veneer disguised a keen mind. he expected to be dealing with an intellectual lightweight reliant on his age for guidance and the subtleties of state craft, instead it was bush who peppered the briefers with questions while his subordinates stayed quiet. so the problem is, if you look at the jacket of a book, don’t judge a book by its cover. if you look at the jacket of a book and say ‘here’s what it says,’ you can’t do that. and when you read this book –
Pataki: Well –
Eichenwald: Hold on. when you read this book, what you end up with is, in fact, a very nuanced telling of the story. one of the things you want to know who has reacted to this book best? members of the bush administration. i’ve gotten calls from people saying that’s what happened. and so, you know, the realities here are we cannot stand back and say bush did everything right. he didn’t.
Eichenwald: He made some very horrific —
Pataki: I know of no one who has –
Eichenwald: We can’t say clinton did everything right.