So was Trump for WMD in Iraq Before He was Against It?

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Trump has exaggerated his supposed opposition to OIF. PolitiFact:

Again, Trump said he was against the war from the very beginning.

“I’m the only one on this stage that said, ‘Do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq,’ ” Trump said. “Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong. And I was in the private sector. I wasn’t a politician, fortunately. But I said it, and I said it loud and clear, ‘You’ll destabilize the Middle East.’ ”

Trump often repeats this line, and we’ve rated a similar Trump claim Mostly False, because he didn’t appear to take any public position on the war until after the March 2003 invasion. In this more recent version of the statement, he also said he stated his opposition to the war “loud and clear.” But the public record of his positions is thin.

 

Trump’s public opposition to OIF only seems to have started in 2004. Before that, would a President Trump have “lied us into war”?

Hat tip Marc Thiessen for these tweets by Andrew Kaczynski:

So would Trump have “lied” us into war even before 9/11? Daily Kos also linking to Andrew Kaczynski’s Buzzfeed post:

The text of the 2000 book Trump wrote is damning, not only did he believe Saddam possessed an active WMD program, he also supported war to topple Saddam.

In the book he refers to Saddam as a terrorist threat to the US as well.

This is like a gift from heaven to either Bernie or Hillary whoever wins. It makes clear Trump has been lying though his teeth and his view on Saddam was no different then Bush’s at the time.

Kaczynski:

Donald Trump offered a new reason for why, after exhaustive searches, no one has found proof he opposed the Iraq War before it began: People didn’t write everything he said.

The comments are a stark difference from what The Donald said at a Republican debate in September of last year, when said he could provide 25 stories showing his early opposition to the Iraq War.

“Well, I did it in 2003. I said before that — don’t forget, I wasn’t a politician so people didn’t write everything I said,” Trump said to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd push Trump on the lack of evidence. “I was a businessperson, I was as they say, a world-class businessperson. I built a great company, I employed thousands of people so I’m not a politician but if you look at 2003, there are articles. If you look at 2004, there are articles — in fact, I saw somebody commenting on it last night, that Trump really was against the war.”

In September, asked about his Iraq War opposition, Trump said this:

“You can check it out, check out — I’ll give you 25 different stories.”

A detailed search by BuzzFeed News in September (and other news organization in recent days) did not produce evidence at all Trump opposed the war before the March 2003 start.

The week the war started Trump was quoted as saying it was turning into a “mess” but also said the war would positively impact the stock market, causing it “to go up like a rocket.”

So in other words, like a true Democrat who believed Saddam posed a WMD threat and supported Bush’s Iraq decision, Trump behaved like the typical weathervane politician and only thought OIF was a bad idea after the going got tough and the momentum of the mainstream press began trumpeting the narrative “Bush lied, people died”, “No WMD” (as if that was the sole reason), “Bush attacked the wrong country“, and “Mission Accomplished” ridicule.

Cheney says Trump sounds like a liberal Democrat on Iraq. Medea Benjamin certainly gushed over Trump’s left wing talking points on Iraq.

Cheney:

As for Trump’s comments during Saturday’s debate that Bush did not keep the U.S. safe because “the World Trade Center came down during [his] reign,” Cheney argued there was “nothing” that could be done.

“On the notion, for example, that the president failed to act before 9/11 to stop it, we had no actionable intelligence at that point. It simply wasn’t available. There was nothing we could have done and we didn’t have intelligence at that point to suggest other than there’s a general kind of a threat,” Cheney said.

In answer to some liberals who cheerlead Trump on his Dubbya attacks in comment threads elsewhere, and who kept citing the August 6th PDB as evidence of advance warning that was ignored, I posted the following (a commenter mentioned that Bush said ‘You’ve covered your ass now’ to his briefer”), knowing exactly who Bush’s briefer was and that he felt differently:

I have the book by that CIA briefer (Mike Morell). He is not a political partisan and he writes that Bush said it in jest; and on pg 41,

I tell this story only to ensure that the history of this period is recorded with accuracy, as word of the president’s comment spread and it was mistakenly referred to as a response to the now-famous August 6 briefing that I will address shortly. Most important, the president said it to me as a joke. It was not a serious comment on the piece or on the warnings that CIA was providing about an al Qa’ida attack, which he took seriously.

Pg 42-3:

When I met with the terrorism analysts, I asked them to write the now-famous August 6 PDB titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the U.S.” I asked for this piece because earlier in the year, whenever Tenet and I would brief the president on the al Qa’ida threat, the president would directly ask us, “Is there any indication that this threat is aimed here at the United States?” He was clearly very worried about that possibility. My answer to that question- supported by Tenet- was always the same: “Mr. President, while there is no SPECIFIC information to suggest that these attacks we are hearing about are aimed at the homeland, Bin Ladin would like nothing more than to bring the fight here to our shores.” Given the president’s frequent question, I wanted to have the analysts dig deeper into the subject.

The resulting piece later became the first PDB item ever declassified and released. A casual reading makes clear that we thought the threat from al Qa’ida to the homeland was very real. The threat was not limited to attacks on US interests abroad. But a careful reading also shows that nothing in the item told the president where, when, or how al Qa’ida might strike our country- or even that we thought there was a link between the threat reporting of spring and early summer and a catastrophic attack on the homeland. Later some analysts would claim- some of them to the 9/11 Commission- that they had intended the piece to convey such a linkage. However, the words on the piece of paper we read that morning simply did not do so.

National Review:

Irritated that Trump repeatedly gave money to the Democrats, including before the 2008 wave? Upset that Trump praised Nancy Pelosi as “terrific” when she picked up the gavel that would pass Obamacare? Annoyed that Trump called for an assault-weapons ban just as the right to keep and bear arms was being restored piece by piece? Angry that, just three years ago, he was slamming Mitt Romney for his harsh stance toward illegal immigration? Don’t be. He “wasn’t a politician” back then, and besides, “that’s just what businessmen do.” If, on the other hand, you are impressed that Trump isn’t on record anywhere supporting the War in Iraq . . . well, that’s because he has always had brilliant instincts and will make a top-notch commander in chief.

Democrats and Code Pink can take Trump back, now.

TrumpIraqWar

62 Responses to “So was Trump for WMD in Iraq Before He was Against It?”

  1. 51

    Randy

    @Wordsmith: The emails I continue to get from those Iraqis who are or were in the Iraqi government confirm you analysis of the Iraq situation. I have written many letters to the State Department to assist some of these people to emigrate to the US. They are highly educated and can contribute to our country. I guess most people would consider them moderate Muslims. These are the people who understood the vision that Bush had for Iraq. They are not blind in their faith, but wanted their country and people to be respected in the World. When I see ignorant people like John Ryan write garbage, I try to show them what I saw and learned from these people. Unfortunately, I usually waste my time. Thanks for your intervention.

  2. 52

    another vet

    @Wordsmith: A

    nother vet and Randy: It’s John Ryan. Funny, but I also used to think he was maybe a college student. This was back when he used to leave drive-by comments, never to return to a thread to defend his earlier comments.

    I also remember him telling Old Trooper he was an old man who needed to go off to the pasture somewhere and die or something like that. We all responded along the lines of him being a young punk. Based on what he has revealed here (for the first time in 4 or 5 years) he would be as old if not older than OT was. He also lectured someone on another thread a few weeks ago about the ’50’s. Past comments and this one don’t jive age wise.

    Excellent response on the SOFA as usual. Again, opinions based on facts.

  3. 53

    John

    Well I guess that if none of the various factions were willing to state publicly their support for a new SOFA that shows what the actual public support was, which was very very low
    The Iraqi defense minister has often been quoted as saying no more American troops
    Baghdad really doesn’t care a lot what Isis does to Sunnis
    Some idiots still think that the USA can somehow force its political will on Iraq well Mussion was Nit accomplished
    Quoting statements made in error by anyone shows a weak argument for future actions, sort of what during The Bush term was called the blame game
    As far as my military service? Or stated willingness please cite from flipping archives
    I say your memory is wrong
    I am approaching 70 I had pretty much all the cartlidge in right knee removed after high school
    After college I went from 1 y to 4f when doctors decided to pull that grip from my left
    Happy to show the zipper scars I still have to anyone willing to post a ne mail address
    Yes it is true in 76 and again in 77 I spent time in Afghanistan the first time bringing back lapis to be used in ultramarine
    My crush was a conservator
    As far as pulling all the English speaking moderates out of Iraq
    Well in general I am fairly liberal about immigration
    But high grading a nations intellect may not be the best way to help develops a country
    Again I would certainly encourage anyone who is dissatisfied with Obama’s policy ( and those of the next future Dem POTUS) to head over to Iraq and do whatever they think should be done
    It would seem pretty obvious by now that FEW Americans are willing to do anymore than bitch about Obama’ supposed failures
    Please note that Obama’s polls are currently running 209-300% higher than those of Bush and that only the most establishment of the GOPs candidates still are defending. The Iraq debacle
    Trump who says that the Iraq war was a gross mistake has a commanding lead even in SC one of the most militaristic states it here are no lefties in the GOP
    The GOP base loves trump who doesn’t
    ?
    Old establishment GOP that thinks Iraq was a glorious endeavor

  4. 54

    Tony Plank

    @Randy:

    Saddam was sponsoring terrorism. He was paying Palestinian terrorist families on TV for having a family member commit suicide in Israel. There also was AQ training in Iraq if you read the captured documents.

    I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq well before it happened and I assumed he sponsored terrorism on many different levels. I was convinced then and now that occupying Iraq would do nothing to address the root causes. I’m all in favor of taking down criminals and supported pursuing Al Qaeda, but a full on occupation is a completely different matter.

    https://tonyplank.wordpress.com/

  5. 55

    John

    @Randy: that “vision” that Bush had?? It was just a mirage
    Those “educated moderate Muslims” they were just a tiny tiny % of the Iraqi population
    The majority were Shia who did not speak English and as been shown since like Iran more than the USA
    You wanted to bring “democracy ” to Iraq? Well take a good look at that

  6. 56

    Randy

    @another vet: Looks like the troll just will not quit. I once had a dog like that. He liked to chase cars. Never caught one, but he always thought his fierceness caused the car to go faster than he could run. My dog thought he was important, but everyone else laughed at his antics.

  7. 57

    John

    so Randy sounds like that dog was an embarrassment to you what with everybody laughing at him
    If youvwerecto look back at flipping aces you would see I have been posting here a lot longer than you
    And probably also long after you
    Your political positions even within your own party are now minority’s positions
    As Pogo famously said
    “we have met the enemy and he is us”
    Only about 20% of polled Americans say the cost was worth it
    60% say it was a mistake
    Have either Bush or Chebey gotten invites to the last 2 GOP conventions?
    Why do you think that was ?
    Maybe the Dems will start inviting them, it certainly would generate a lot of ahmm enthusiasm

  8. 58

    JSW

    Why would the dems invite them, when they demanded to go on the record voting for the invasion? To say, “Look at these two dumb Republicans, who were so obviously lying that we supported them!”

    Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat who earlier expressed reservations on Bush’s Iraq stance, said on the Senate floor he would back the resolution, helping to ensure the broad bipartisan vote Bush wanted.
    With Democrats divided on the Iraq issue, Daschle – the top Democrat in Congress – said the language of the resolution was much better than Bush’s original proposal and was now “a statement of American resolve and values.”
    “Because I believe it is important for America to speak with one voice at this critical moment – I will vote to give the president the authority he needs,” Daschle said.
    But West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, who said Bush had not shown that Iraq posed an immediate threat and argued the highly-charged vote should be put off until after the November 5 congressional elections, worked to delay the vote, which came in the early morning hours.
    Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Independent James Jeffords of Vermont, and 21 Democrats voted against the resolution.
    By a vote of 75-24, senators rejected a substitute promoted by a group of Democrats that would authorize U.S. participation in any U.N. action against Iraq.
    Several senators who supported the defeated substitute then backed the war powers resolution.
    Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said she would vote for the White House resolution because “ironically, this authorization of use of force may well prompt the Security Council to act.”
    House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat who was key in crafting the war powers language, said the resolution “incorporates the key notion that we want to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity to resolve this conflict, but we’re prepared to take further steps if necessary to protect our nation.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-142230/Bush-wins-Congress-backing-war-Iraq.html#ixzz40UBlRaGJ
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  9. 59

    JSW

    Hillary really should make an ad showing this in its entirety. THAT’ll embarass the Republicans big time!

    Now, I believe the facts that have brought us to this fateful vote are not in doubt. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who has tortured and killed his own people, even his own family members, to maintain his iron grip on power. He used chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds and on Iranians, killing over 20 thousand people. Unfortunately, during the 1980’s, while he engaged in such horrific activity, he enjoyed the support of the American government, because he had oil and was seen as a counterweight to the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.

    Over eleven years have passed since the UN called on Saddam Hussein to rid himself of weapons of mass destruction as a condition of returning to the world community. Time and time again he has frustrated and denied these conditions. This matter cannot be left hanging forever with consequences we would all live to regret. War can yet be avoided, but our responsibility to global security and to the integrity of United Nations resolutions protecting it cannot. I urge the President to spare no effort to secure a clear, unambiguous demand by the United Nations for unlimited inspections.

    And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year’s terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am.

    So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him – use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein – this is your last chance – disarm or be disarmed.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1/12/435624/-

  10. 60

    James

    @David:

    Half of those 5,000 WMD were already accounted for by the UN. They had been “entombed” or sealed away in the early ’90s. Another 550 had been lost but had been declared so by Iraq. That left maybe 1,900 or so special munitions left over from the 1980s, less than one percent of the total produced by Iraq from 1982-1990.

    Now they were physically present in Iraq but beyond the regime’s control, either mixed in with other conventional shells, or mistakenly thought to have been destroyed. Keep in mind though it was never an absolute requirement for Iraq to remove every single WMD completely. UNSCR 687 stated that the WMDs could be destroyed, removed, or rendered harmless.

    Also, Iraq never stabilized its VX so they never produced any weapons. Only mustard, and to a much lesser extent sarin, and tabun. All this info was known about before the war: http://www.iraqwatch.org/un/UNSCOM/disarmament.htm

  11. 61

    Wordsmith

    editor

    @Nanny G:

    he also said he stated his opposition to the war “loud and clear.” But the public record of his positions is thin.

    So, the fact that no one was keeping Congressional-type records of everything Trump said equals a ”he lied?”

    You don’t think Trump is the biggest liar?

    Didn’t he claim he could provide “25 different stories” in regards to his fervent opposition to OIF? Okay. Where are those stories?

    He’s a snake oil salesman. He says what conservatives ache to hear and they lap it up even if he can’t deliver. He can make up whatever story he wants and Trumpeteers find a way to spin and rationalize it to themselves. I guess he really isn’t such a bad businessman after all since he has so many conservatives fooled into believing the politician pie-crust promises flying from his pie-hole.

  12. 62

    Richard Wheeler

    @Wordsmith: Hey Word tell us what you really think. Ha
    Trumpeteers–there are a few here at F.A
    Word I think referring to him as a “snake oil salesman” is doing a disservice to actual sellers of snake oil.

    The Fat Lady may never sing for Trump

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