Pro-War GOP Boos Donald Trump

His bigoted comments about Mexicans and Muslims aside, billionaire Donald Trump actually makes some common sense when he talks about working with Russia, Iran and other powers to bring the Mideast wars to an end, rather than pushing for endless “regime change,” Sam Husseini notes.

By Sam Husseini

At first I thought it hopeful (albeit ironic) that Saturday’s Republican presidential debate happened in the “Peace Center” in Greenville, South Carolina. I thought perhaps the location would have a positive effect. But no as witnessed by the raucous booing of Donald Trump’s few comments about the folly of the Iraq War and about ways to bring other conflicts to an end. [video and transcript]

Though people say Trump is loud and bombastic, the discerning listener also might note that Trump actually has been critical of U.S. militarism for some time, regarding Russia, Syria, Iraq and North Korea. On those topics, I don’t think Trump has been loud and bombastic enough.

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

But Trump’s anti-war moments though only half of what is needed have not escaped the angry attention of the Republican Party’s one-percent donors who filled the Peace Center and booed Trump whenever he suggested some war restraint and meaningful cooperation against terrorism.

Trump: “You fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. … You can’t fight two wars at one time.”

But, of course, to some of the U.S. Establishment, two wars at a time is slacking off. They want more than two wars at once.

Trump continued: “We shoulda never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. … The World Trade Center came down (BOOING) during the reign [of President George W. Bush]. He kept us safe?”

And, if anyone noticed, even as the auditorium packed of moneyed interests booed Trump, the tracker at the bottom of the screen went up for him. Trump’s rivals met his truth-telling with more ridiculousness and lies.

Jeb Bush described Trump’s attacks as “blood sport” against the Bush family. Yet, given the subject matter at hand his brother’s appetite for illegal war and failure in his responsibility to protect the U.S. public Jeb’s comment was, to put it mildly, ironic.

Then Bush appealed to the values of his family, which, evidence would show, includes hands quite drenched in blood.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s reaction on Iraq WMDs was to appeal to former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s credibility, which has been a late night TV joke for over a decade. Kasich also claimed that the U.S. got into a civil war, which is wrong the U.S. invasion helped foster the sectarian violence. And no, Kasich, the borders of the Mideast were not “drawn after World War I by Westerners who didn’t understand what was happening there”; they were drawn by Westerners who wanted to divide and rule and who understood quite well how to achieve that aim which has remained the actual goal of Western interventions to this day.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was perhaps the most priceless deceiver on the state, declaring falsely that “Saddam Hussein was in violation of UN resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn’t do anything about it.” That, of course, is a total lie, as was confirmed by investigations after the U.S. occupation showing that Iraq had destroyed its WMD in the 1990s as Hussein’s government informed the United Nations in fall 2002.

The actual history is that Iraq had disarmed and the Bush-43 administration did everything it could to prevent the UN from verifying that disarmament so that the draconian sanctions would continue on Iraq indefinitely and could lead to a “regime change” war. [See my time line: accuracy.org/iraq.]

But many Republican candidates and neoconservative ideologues don’t want to give up the false history. The worthies at the Weekly Standard now write: “Interviewers should press Trump on this: What evidence does Trump have that George W. Bush and his top advisers knowingly lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? How many other government officials does Trump believe were in on the deception? What does Trump believe would have been the point of such a lie, since the truth would soon come out?”

In fact, it’s quite provable that the Bush administration lied about Iraqi WMDs before the invasion. I know, I helped document such lies at the Institute for Public Accuracy, where I work, before the 2003 invasion:

In October, 2002, John R. MacArthur, author of Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf Warnoted: “Recently, Bush cited an IAEA report that Iraq was ‘six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.’ The IAEA responded that not only was there no new report, ‘there’s never been a report’ asserting that Iraq was six months away from constructing a nuclear weapon.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what was knowable at the time. See other such news releases from before the invasion: “White House Claims: A Pattern of Deceit” and “Bush’s War Case: Fiction vs. Facts at Accuracy.org/bush” and “U.S. Credibility Problems” and “Tough Questions for Bush on Iraq Tonight.”

The problem in 2002 and early 2003 was that Bush didn’t get those tough questions. Just like there are no real tough questions about U.S. policy in Libya, Syria, etc. now.

What we are getting is Trump raising these issues years later when it seems some of the public is finally/still willing to hear the facts. And that’s commendable because the Establishment has tried to just keep rolling along with wars and deceits after the Iraq invasion. No accountability, no nothing.

To answer the Weekly Standard’s question — the truth still hasn’t come out fully since Bush and other pro-war deceivers, who included not just neoconservatives but many “liberal interventionists,” have managed thus far to get away with it all.

The only problem with what Trump is saying is that he’s not saying it loudly and strongly enough. He didn’t support impeachment of George W. Bush for the Iraq invasion, which was the point of one of the questions to him, though several legal scholars have done so, including Francis BoyleJonathan TurleyBruce Fein and Elizabeth Holtzman. Reps. Dennis KucinichCynthia McKinney and John Conyers, in different ways and at different times, pursued the possibility.

Some are deriding Trump for apparently exaggerating his objections to the Iraq War in 2003 and 2004. Maybe so, but the fact of the matter is that most who spoke out meaningfully against Iraq War early were drummed out of establishment media and politics.

Trump is serving as Pat Buchanan 2.0, meaning some real bad comes with some reasonable positions opposing America’s imperial overreach. And quite arguably in a post 9/11 world, the good is more important than it was in 1992 when rightist commentator Buchanan challenged President George H.W. Bush’s New World Order.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I have no idea what Trump would actually do in office and what his current motivations are. He’s been contradictory, but the thrust of his comments is quasi-isolationist or quasi-realist. His campaign could be an opening to groups wanting to reach out to millions of working-class whites on issues of foreign policy, trade and some core economic issues.

Of course, even on foreign policy, Trump can be extremely dangerous. For example, the apparent force behind his anti-Muslim comments is Frank Gaffney, a rightwing pro-Israel militarist.

The point is that Trump is appealing to an electorate that is sick of deceit and perpetual wars and there’s a lot of good that comes with that. It should be an opportunity for anyone claiming to care about peace to reach out to a large segment of the American population that previously was considered wedded to right-wing “patriotic” appeals to militarism.

It should not be a time for “progressives” to simply mock the people supporting Trump.

But, for Democrats, the significance is this: What’s it going to look like if Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton, a war hawk who voted for the Iraq War and co-authored the Libyan conflict, is the Democratic nominee.

Trump — with very good reason — will tie the stench of perpetual wars and the lies that accompany them around her neck. She will make the 2004 John “I-was-for-the-war-before-I-was-against-it” Kerry look like a stirring exemplar of gracefully articulated principles.

Clinton is not only the candidate of Wall Street but of endless war and of the war machine.

Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of votepact.org, which urges left-right cooperation. Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini.

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25 comments for “Pro-War GOP Boos Donald Trump

  1. Eddie
    February 20, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    RE: Repub’s booing Trump’s anti-war statements
    The old quote about “If you want to make people mad, lie to them. If you want to make them absolutely furious, tell them the truth” is apropos…

  2. Richard Coleman
    February 19, 2016 at 12:04 am

    I have recently come to the conclusion that Trump is NOT the buffoon that he constantly projects; that is a total show. He is actually quite smart when not in public view, which is why I think President Putin had complimentary things to say about him. The guy is not a dummy; in fact he may be quite brilliant. Not that I like him!

  3. Evangelista
    February 16, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Constitutionally, Presidents of the United States are executive officers, not national dictators. Their proper functions are as presidents defined in Robert’s Rules of Order, with representative and suggesting-advising capacities. They represent the Republic as Head-of-State and they are permitted, by the Constitution, to put in their two-cents worth as suggestions, or advice. A formal way for doing this is the Executive Order. The Executive Order is an ‘order’ as an ‘order’ in a restaurant is an ‘order’. The Constitution makes it obvious that Executive Orders are not dictations, but are requests; what the President would like to see, and requests Congress to give consideration to, supposedly, under the Constitution, for the benefit of The People, who are, per the Constitution, the supreme authorities and assigned beneficiaries (see the Preamble) of the land, and the law of the land.

    With someone like Trump in the White House it is almost certain that Congress would be backed up, which would make it almost certain that any Executive Orders President Trump issued would be treated as ‘requests’, rather than imperative dictations (even if Trump issed them as imperatives). For this, and the back-and-forth that would result, in which both sides would have to allege benefice to The People dictating each side’s positions, a Trump presidency would push the government toward dialogue, and with dialogue, back toward Constitutional forms.

    Trump states positions that invite debate. Debate is what defines issues. However controversial, or outrageous, Trump’s statements of positions might be, he does appear to recognize necessity for debate and definition, as his positions regarding Putin and other nations’ leaders indicate. Debate, instead of dictation and horse-trading to swing votes to align enough behind a dictation is what is needed to bring the U.S. government back toward a Constitutionally legal form of government. Lots more will be needed, the courts, for example, need to be swung back toward Constitutional bias, away from political bias, and Congress, courts and executive need to recognize themselves servants to The People, not to special interests, or the political preferences of the holders of offices and money interests, but I think the head-butting and fireworks that a Trump presidency would provoke would provide as good a start toward an ‘American Revolution’ style of regrouping and realigning of the American state to Constitutional values.

    ‘American Revolution’ is a mild form of revolution, with a substantial intellectual component and a controlled violence component, as demonstrated in the initial American Revolution, where the actual warfare was relativiely civilized, with excesses, e.g., William Franklin’s Tory-Terrorists, derided and distanced by both sides. For which that revolution produced positive product and results, in contrast to the product and result of the French Revolution, where murder and vengeance produced more of the same until Napoleon’s dictatorship quelled the hostilities. The trick to recovering the American Constitutional state, without an interlude of destructive violence will be to copy the Second American Revolution, rather than the French, or the First American Revolution, as much as possible. The Second American Revolution was the revolution from the American Confederation of States experiment to the Constitutional Republic State, which was fought on 1787 in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and then argued to a ratifiable stand-still in debates in the states over the next few years.

  4. Evangelista
    February 16, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Constitutionally, Presidents of the United States are executive officers, not national dictators. Their proper functions are as presidents defined in Robert’s Rules of Order, with representative and suggesting-advising capacities. They represent the Republic as Head-of-State and they are permitted, by the Constitution, to put in their two-cents worth as suggestions, or advice. A formal way for doing this is the Executive Order. The Executive Order is an ‘order’ as an ‘order’ in a restaurant is an ‘order’. The Constitution makes it obvious that Executive Orders are not dictations, but are requests; what the President would like to see, and requests Congress to give consideration to, supposedly, under the Constitution, for the benefit of The People, who are, per the Constitution, the supreme authorities and assigned beneficiaries (see the Preamble) of the land, and the law of the land.

    With someone like Trump in the White House it is almost certain that Congress would be backed up, which would make it almost certain that any Executive Orders President Trump issued would be treated as ‘requests’, rather than imperative dictations (even if Trump issed them as imperatives). For this, and the back-and-forth that would result, in which both sides would have to allege benefice to The People dictating each side’s positions, a Trump presidency would push the government toward dialogue, and with dialogue, back toward Constitutional forms.

    Trump states positions that invite debate. Debate is what defines issues. However controversial, or outrageous, Trump’s statements of positions might be, he does appear to recognize necessity for debate and definition, as his positions regarding Putin and other nations’ leaders indicate. Debate, instead of dictation and horse-trading to swing votes to align enough behind a dictation is what is needed to bring the U.S. government back toward a Constitutionally legal form of government. Lots more will be needed, the courts, for example, need to be swung back toward Constitutional bias, away from political bias, and Congress, courts and executive need to recognize themselves servants to The People, not to special interests, or the political preferences of the holders of offices and money interests, but I think the head-butting and fireworks that a Trump presidency would provoke would provide as good a start toward an ‘American Revolution’ style of regrouping and realigning of the American state to Constitutional values.

    ‘American Revolution’ is a mild form of revolution, with a substantial intellectual component and a controlled violence component, as demonstrated in the initial American Revolution, where the actual warfare was relativiely civilized, with excesses, e.g., William Franklin’s Tory-Terrorists, derided and distanced by both sides. For which that revolution produced positive product and results, in contrast to the product and result of the French Revolution, where murder and vengeance produced more of the same until Napoleon’s dictatorship quelled the hostilities. The trick to recovering the American Constitutional state, without an interlude of destructive violence will be to copy the Second American Revolution, rather than the French, or the First American Revolution, as much as possible. The Second American Revolution was the revolution from the American Confederation of States experiment to the Constitutional Republic State, which was fought on 1787 in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and then argued to a ratifiable stand-still in debates in the states over the next few years.

  5. Bill Bodden
    February 16, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    There are many reasons to be concerned about a Trump presidency, but his opponents in the GOP and Hillary in the neoliberal party have a way of making him appear to be the least of all the evils on the stage.

    • dahoit
      February 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Regaining our sovereignty from the Zionists is paramount to our survival.
      I’m not sure exactly what the Pope said,but for him to call Trump evil for words,belies the actual evil deeds done by all our leaders since Reagan.Why won’t he say they are evil?
      The Pope has a lot of skin in this issue,as all the illegals are Catholic,and yes charity and compassion are great things,but we don’t have to destroy our America because of it.

  6. J'hon Doe II
    February 16, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I can’t understand how or why ‘educated’ citizens twist or distort their own history into a political belief system built on lies and denial. The Bush family history, beginning with Grand daddy Prescott and his Nazi affiliation thru GHW’s CIA operations and/or his involvement in the JFK murder or the approval given to Saddam, thru April Gillespie to invade Kuwait in 1990 —
    Jeb’s manipulation of voters and votes in Florida during the 2000 election was a CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY of horrific magnitude – yet, here he is running for office in 2016.

    The dark side in this family is DEEP. – And yet, they’re applauded as American Establishment icons.

    It’s really appealing how fashionably Stupid we are as a citizenry – believing lies and liars to preserve and sustain a murderous history.
    .

    The below brief of the Trump/Jeb exchange is a great illustration Political Posturing or Prestidigitation that avoids a CLEAR response and magically turns negative into positive.

    Obviously the war in Iraq was a big fat mistake, alright?” Trump said at CBS News’ GOP debate in Greenville, South Carolina. “George Bush made a mistake, we can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty.”

    “[W]e should have never been in Iraq, we have destabilized the Middle East.”

    “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction — there were none. And they knew there were none,” he added.
    :
    Bush snapped back: “I’m sick and tired of BARACK OBAMA blaming my brother for all of the problems that he’s had,” he said.

    [simply by mentioning the NAME of the hated Obama, Bush drew loud cheers and applause that rapidly eviscerated the Very Truthful statements Trump had just made.]

    “I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It’s blood sport for him…but I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind. While Donald Trump was building a reality TV show my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and I’m proud of what he did.”
    .

    Sadly, MILLIONS of dead and displaced humans in Europe, Central & South America and now, the Middle East are not at all proud of this dreadful family.

    • Coleen Rowley
      February 16, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Yes and even “Daddy Bush,” the greatest man alive” came out criticizing his son’s egregious foreign policy “mistakes.” (Always put that word in quotes when referring to the Bush Administration as many of the “mistakes” were deliberately planned and calculated.) It’s said that George Bush, the son, hung up on George Bush Sr. when daddy tried to dissuade him from attacking Iraq. But as another commenter notes, these myths of American exceptionalism which create leadership icons like the Bush family, are very hard to pierce.

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 16, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      In October of 2017, the JFK Records Collection Act will fully release all records pertaining to his Assassination and as hundreds of researchers comb those files; we will finally be able to piece together the true narrative of the government obfuscation that has led us to this absurd world that we now occupy. Let us hope that America elects a President that is brave and honest enough to lead us through that. Thanks to J’hon Doe II, Coleen Rowley and others for their civil commentary.

  7. Richard Bittner
    February 15, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    T-rump has singlehandedly thrust the total incompetence of the neocon/neolibs, from bush 2 to Obama to billary, who have supported a policy of regime change throughout the region sweeping across north Africa through the middle east to Afghanistan, inflaming the entire region. There is only one country on the planet who has benefited from this policy of spreading chaos: Israel.
    T-rump is the first candidate who has asserted independence from the Clinton type kowtowing to the Israeli lobby. He has rightfully challenged the competency of bush2 regarding the failure to prevent 9/11. If somehow, the incompetence of Alfreda Frances Bikowsky is exposed to the American public as a result of questioning bush 2 on 9/11, He will have preformed a great service. Hopefully, he will move on to the dubious relationship between the U.S. and Wahabbi(sp?) Saudi Arabia.

  8. Arthur
    February 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    TRUMP IS THE ONLY CANDIDATE WHO IS NOT OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE OLIGARCHS.

    Thanks for the article, Sir. You are right. The reason I like Trump is because he says what HE thinks. We may or may not agree with what he says, but it feels he is saying whatever he thinks. And that is a refreshing change. He is rich enough to run a campaign with his own money so he does not need the Jewish lobby, like all the other candidates do and does not need to follow their script.

    That is why the MSM are attacking him day after day, for the most frivolous and trivial reasons. You can see their hate pouring out. Because he is the only one who is running on his own and cannot be bought. And that is the most important reason all Americans (liberals and conservatives) need to vote for him—just to send a message to the Jewish Oligarchy that we are fed up with their owning and operating all our politicians.

    • Coleen Rowley
      February 16, 2016 at 11:06 am

      But for some reason, Trump, as Husseini notes, appears to derive some of his well-known Islamaphobic comments from the ardent neocon Frank Gaffney. If only Trump would kick Gaffney off his advisor list.

  9. February 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Trump got booed because the hall was packed with party loyalists and supporters of Trump’s opponents. The local Greenville News reported:

    “Each candidate got 100 tickets to distribute to supporters ─ 600 total tickets and the largest allocation of the 1,600 distributed. The RNC received 367 tickets, some of which were given to national elected officials and party guests. CBS News, the Peace Center and Google, all debate partners, were given 100. The South Carolina Republican Party got 550 tickets, which they distributed to party activists, elected officials and county chairs.”

    The party activists in the audience are the same ones who put all of SC’s Republican representatives into the Senate (2) and into the House (6 of 7). Those representatives are slavishly pro-establishment and pro-war. Their ideology is not conservatism, but nihilism. Some names you’ll recognize: Lindsey Graham, Trey Gowdy, Joe “you lie!” Wilson and Mark Sanford of Appalachian Trail fame.

    It’s pleasing to see those pro-war, GOP-establishment politicians gnashing their teeth over the possibility of a Trump victory in the upcoming primary. Now they are terrified they might have to defend George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.

    And by the way, the Peace Center has nothing to do with peace. It’s named for the local Peace family who made money in the newspaper business and donated some of it to build a center for the performing arts.

  10. dahoit
    February 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Wow,you should have seen him today,repeatedly calling cruz a liar,and saying when he looked at Rubio during a tough spot in the debate he looked like he was a swimming pool.Awesome.
    I wish he’d stop the Iran demonization stuff though.They are the definite civilized actors there.

  11. Drew Hunkins
    February 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Despite all of Trump’s faults – and there are no doubt myriad – he refuses to genuflect to the orthodoxy of PUTIN BAD PUTIN EVIL. Trump also displays the temerity to call out the sickening 2002/2003 run-up to the disastrous Iraq War for what it essentially was: a manipulative and cynical charade embarked upon by Washington war hawks and a compliant and jingoistic mass media.

    A broken watch is correct twice per day, Trump is that broken time piece occasionally illuminating to many the obvious wrongs that occurred.

  12. Time to stop fooling ourselves
    February 15, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    These liars shouldn’t be allowed to debate one another, for absolutely no truth comes out in the exchange. They should be made to defend their absurd contentions before a panel of informed journalists and scholars who will call them on every prevarication. Only then will the public be educated about the facts and about these charlatans who want to mislead our country. And, I don’t mean the experts should be hand-picked mass-media pundits (=propagandists) such as serve on “Meet the Press” and other corporatist charades. I mean they should be actual deeply informed honest men such as Stephen F. Cohen or Robert Parry.

    • dahoit
      February 15, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Does Trump lie?I haven’t seen any lying,just mistaken takes on reality,but what do expect in an MSM fantasy world?

  13. Ted Tripp
    February 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Secretary Clinton was not only the co-author of the Libyan and Syrian fiascoes, but she or her people were deeply involved in, if not the instigators of, the Ukrainian coup.

    • Geo Noeg
      February 16, 2016 at 12:18 am

      …and the ’09 coup in Honduras

  14. Roberto
    February 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    People of the United States are in rebellion against their political oligarchy.

    • alexander
      February 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      They should be !

  15. Joe Tedesky
    February 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    If it takes someone like Donald Trump to start the conversation in America, about telling it like it really is, I’m all for it. I noticed yesterday on a poll taken by the Drudge Report, Donald Trump won by over 50%, as being the clear favorite of the Drudge readership. There were close to 700,000 people who voted at the time I viewed the poll. If we are to assume that most of Drudge’s readers are conservative, then this in itself says a lot about where the American public’s head is at, when it comes to Iraq and 911’s official narratives. I wish that Bernie would take the gloves off when it comes to Hillary’s involvement in regard to Libya and Syria, as well as her State Departments actions in Kiev. Let’s talk about Victoria Nuland’s handing out cookies to the Nazi rebels who overthrew a democratically elected
    government in Ukraine.

    • Roberto
      February 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      You forgot to mention Nuland’s “Fuck the EU” philosophy.

    • Uncle Sam's comeuppance
      February 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      It is indeed unfortunate Sanders does not speak up against the atrocities committed by the US of Israel in the Middle East. I don’t think he’s ever voted against a military spending bill.

      Certainly he’s more factually informed of what’s going on in the Middle East than the average US citizen; and he is either afraid to speak up because the propaganda tide generally paints anyone that tells the truth as absurd and out of touch with reality or he actually condones what is going on. I tend to believe the former.

    • oh god
      February 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Conservatives don’t link to New York times, Wapo, Salon.Drudge is middle of the road both parties are corrupt and been that way forever.Pointing out corruption isn’t done anymore in MSM. Plenty of people voted for Bernie are they now conservatives?

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