Just when did Trump oppose the Iraq War?
On Saturday night, Mr. Trump once again said that he was against the Iraq War. He even went into wacko territory by saying that the Bush administration lied about the WMD.
Let me ask Mr. Trump a few simple questions:
1) Did the Clinton administration bear some responsibility for the formation of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden? The towers fell in the first year of Bush but al-Qaeda was around before that.
2) Did Mr. Trump give a speech or make a public statement in 2003-2005 opposing the war?
I have been looking for some evidence and there is not a lot, as reported by PolitiFact:
We only found one instance where Trump discussed the war before it started. On Jan. 28, 2003... Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked Trump whether President Bush should be more focused on Iraq or the economy.
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."
Trump’s harshest criticism came more than a year into the war, in an August 2004 article in Esquire:
"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!"
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."
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, or that he was especially vocal about it destabilizing the Middle East.
On the Iraq war, Trump said, "I said it loud and clear, 'You'll 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. He certainly did not say it "loud and clear..."
My take is that Mr. Trump is not being truthful about the Iraq War or his opposition to it.
For the record, I supported the Iraq War. The bottom line is that our armed forces did one heck of a job in stabilizing Iraq and handed the Obama administration a "work in progress" in 2009.
Sadly, President Obama put his re-election over national security and pulled troops in 2011 creating the kind of vacuum that was filled by ISIS.
Mr. Trump did not tell the truth at the debate. Better than that, a President Trump will have to resolve Iraq 2017, not 2003!