Fox News hosted former Bush official Bradley Blakeman to discuss "selling a military strike on Syria," and in the course of that discussion Blakeman argued that "we shouldn't be sold a war." But Blakeman was part of a team that "sold" the public on the Iraq War, and he currently touts his own role in selling the "surge" strategy in Iraq in order to attract consulting clients.
Appearing on America Live, Fox News regular Blakeman claimed that President Obama was "pleading us into war" and contrasted that with President Bush "leading us into war." He went on to criticize the Obama administration's conduct in presenting the case for military strikes on Syria, noting that "we shouldn't be sold a war" because "a case should be made, deliberately and over time for why it's in our best interests to do that."
Blakeman's characterization of a White House-based persuasion campaign as an aberration from the norm is hypocritical, especially considering his past involvement with similar efforts.
The Bush administration, where Blakeman served as deputy assistant to the President, was involved in what was described by the New York Times as "a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies" that the invasion of Iraq was necessary.
Andrew Card, who was the White House chief of staff at the time, infamously told the paper that the administration began its persuasion campaign after Labor Day because "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
Blakeman's attack on the Obama administration is even more disingenuous when his time as the president of the right-wing pressure group, Freedom's Watch, is examined.
Described by ABC News in 2007 as "a sort of shadow White House communications shop" designed to sell the Iraq War to a public quickly souring on it, Freedom's Watch spent millions on ads targeted at members of Congress to keep the war going, arguing that they shouldn't "cut and run."
Blakeman is currently a principal at The 1600 Group, a consulting firm he started with former Clinton White House aide David Goodfriend. As he was criticizing the Obama administration on Fox, a page on The 1600 Group's website touts Blakeman's role at Freedom Watch in promoting the "surge" strategy in Iraq.
According to the page, Blakeman's group created "a plan of action and execution strategy for building public and political support for the Surge." The page goes on to note that "Blakeman raised the funds necessary to accomplish a national media campaign" to promote the surge, and that he "oversaw an award winning print and television-advertising campaign that attracted extensive earned media" which they claim led to "public opinion start[ing] to turn in favor of letting the Surge play out."
Blakeman helped to sell military action in Iraq and continues to tout his role in doing so. Unless he repudiates his past actions (and there's no indication he ever has), how can he seriously criticize the Obama administration on this issue?