War And Peace and Bush/Cheney... And The 2016 Election
Sunday after the hate-filled GOP debate in South Carolina, establishment Republicans, led by neocon sad sack Bill Kristol were all over the Twitter Machine claiming that no "reasonable" or "responsible" Democrat had gone as far as Herr Trumpf in calling out Bush/Cheney for lying us into the catastrophic Iraq War. Well, that's totally false. Even Democratic neocons who supported the Bush Cheney wild Iraqi adventure use the excuse now that Bush and Cheney lied.
No doubt Senate Democrats truly from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- your Joe Liebermen, Blanche Lincolns, Evan Bayhs and Mary Landrieux-- still cling to the notion that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. But even the worst of the corporate shills and neocons who backed Bush-- Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid for example-- have all come around to at least saying that they were deceived by Bush and that he lied the country into war. And in the House, where most Democrats (126-81) voted NO, all the best progressives have been saying this for years: Bernie, Dennis Kucinich, Jerry Nadler, Mike Honda, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Jan Schakowsky and Barbara Lee, of course. But even usually worthless conservative Democrats who voted NO, like Rick Larsen, Loretta Sanchez, and Ted Strickland have said just about the same thing-- if in a less flammatory way-- that Herr Trumpf said during the debate.
However, it's worth noting that Trumpf was lying anyway. He wasn't the loud critic of the war he now claims he was. As PolitiFact pointed out, he's overstating his early opposition to the Iraq War, probably because he wants to use it to clobber Hillary Clinton for her bad judgment if he and she are their parties nominees. When he claims-- ad nauseum-- "The War in Iraq-- I was the one that said, 'Don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East,'" he was, as is his wont making it up. FolitiFact:
We only found one instance where Trump discussed the war before it started. On Jan. 28, 2003, just under three months before the invasion, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked Trump whether President George W. Bush should be more focused on Iraq or the economy.Pointing out the fallacy of Bush having kept the country safe-- a constant refrain, not just from his brother, but from all the GOP candidates but Trumpf-- was something that he actuallyy got right. The completely establishment audience of GOP donors and operatives booed him mercilessly. Immediately after the debate Jeb's SuperPAC hit Herr Trumpf... but couldn't resist attacking Rubio as well:
Speaking of Iraq, Trump said, "Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps shouldn't be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know. He's under a lot of pressure. I think he's doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned."
Trump seems to be skeptical of the mission in Iraq here, and he said the economy should be a higher priority. But he did not say anything that resembles his claim: that Bush should not proceed because a war would "destabilize the Middle East."
The United States invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003.
A week later, Trump gave differing takes. At an Academy Awards after party, Trump said that "the war’s a mess," according to the Washington Post. He told Fox News that because of the war, "The market’s going to go up like a rocket."
Trump’s harshest criticism came more than a year into the war, in an August 2004 article in Esquire:
"Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the country? C'mon. Two minutes after we leave, there's going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he'll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn't have.He told CNN’s Larry King in November 2004, "I do not believe that we made the right decision going into Iraq, but, you know, hopefully, we'll be getting out."
"What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed. And what about the people coming back with no arms and legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who've been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All this for nothing!"
Clearly Trump opposed the Iraq War in its early years. There’s no evidence, though, that he advocated against the war in the first place.
Regarding the Iraq War, "I was the one that said, ‘Don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’"
Maybe Trump felt this way privately, but he made no publicly reported comments in the lead up to the Iraq War that reflect this sentiment. We could only find one example of Trump commenting on the Iraq War before the invasion, and he seemed apprehensive but not vehemently opposed to the operation. He only started publicly denouncing the war after it started.
Trump makes it sound like he stood on a railroad to try to stop the Iraq War train in its tracks. In reality, by the time he got around to forcefully criticizing the war, that train had already left the station. We rate his statement Mostly False.
But anyone looking for even quick history of how Bush and Cheney lied the country into the Iraq War, which-- predictably (by Bernie, but certainly not by Hillary)-- led to the destabilization of the region and the rise of ISIS, would be better served not by looking for an accurate account in a Republican debate but by going over Rachel Maddow's fine documentary about what actually happened and why the country was led down the garden path. If you want to make sure this kind of foreign adventurism doesn't happen again, forget about Hillary-- she's at the heart of this kind of thinking almost as much as Rubio and Jeb are-- and do what you can to support Bernie's campaign. In fact, it's also worth mentioning that it's just as worthwhile supporting Senate candidates who believe in working for peace rather than the Schumercrats who mindlessly take their orders form Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards and P.G. Sittenfeld are infinitely better choices than Patrick Murphy, Chris Van Hollen and Ted Strickland. The three of them-- plus Russ Feingold-- are on the same page. OK, now Rachel: