In saying George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Donald Trump possibly reveals his general election strategy: appeal to truthers as well as to birthers. As discussed in a prior blogpost, about half of Democrats are truthers, and about half of Republicans are birthers. All that is missing from combining the kook segments of the electorate of both the right and the left with economic nationalism and xenophobia, is promising free stuff. Thus, the perfect opponent to the Donald in the general election would be Bernie Sanders. But, did Bush lie about weapons of mass destruction?
To say Bush lied is to say that the Bush administration knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. But, weapons of mass destruction were indicated by intelligence. Even so, as an assessment by the Defense Department said, “Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.” In real time, Colin Powell famously accepted the conclusion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and attempted to persuade the UN Security Council of this. But, in his 2014 book, It worked for me, Powell says he should have been more skeptical. He says he failed to smell this out….
At Saturday’s debate, Donald Trump said, “You call it whatever you want. I will tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none.”….
Trump’s statement was taken as the popular accusation, “Bush lied,” as in “Bush lied, thousands died,” the slogan of Code Pink and other left-wing critics of the administration.
As an aside, I point out in depth the fact that there were WMDs in Iraq, HERE.
One Minute Version:
HotAirasks in their title a question: Did Trump damage his chances by accusing Bush of lying about Iraq? —to which they respond:
If Donald Trump is right, and George W. Bush deliberately schemed with his neo-con advisers to “lie” us into a phony war with Iraq, what does that say about the average Republican voter who supported Bush from 1999, voted for him, defended him through the recount, cried with him on 9/11, agreed with him on Iraq, defended him from ceaseless liberal attacks on him during the war, defended him from Obama’s never-expiring “Blame Bush” blame-shifting, etc.?
If Trump is right, then we’re not just wrong to have supported him. If Trump’s right, we’re goddamned rubes and fools to have defended this Actual Hitler-Level Monster for going on 17 years now…
This is a long way of saying Trump specifically and completely contradicted a belief that 75-80% of Republicans have about Bush — that he was a fundamentally decent man, perhaps overwhelmed by a very difficult period, who made an erroneous decision based on incomplete information — and instead offered a new belief, that Bush deliberately lied about Iraq’s WMD’s, a position that 75-80% of Republicans have long not only rejected but have been actively hostile towards…
I think Trump, who has been a past-master at getting people to buy-in to a very low-cost premise — “Let’s Make America Great Again” — just made a very high cost premise central to buying into him.
I think that, at this stage of the game, if you’re still open to Trump then nothing he says about Bush or Iraq is going to sway you. If you’ve sat through 20 Ted Cruz commercials a day in South Carolina attacking him as a phony conservative, a pro-choicer, and a parasite using eminent domain to prey on the working class, “Bush lied” isn’t the straw that’ll break the camel’s back. If anything, it’s all part of Trump’s Republican reboot. Trumpmania is a catharsis, repudiating the establishment and its idols (except Reagan, who’s simply too sanctified). If Bush gets caught up in that, eh. That’s all part of Year Zero. If Trump ends up paying a price for this, I think it’s more likely to come after he’s the nominee and some segment of conservatives decides that they can’t in good conscience support him in the general. “Bush lied!” will be part of a long list of disqualifying Trump positions for those righties once the time comes to make their break. For most Republicans it’ll be absorbed and put aside — but keep an eye on what happens this week as Dubya hits the trail for Jeb. The fact that he’ll be right there in front of South Carolinians, reminding them of how much they like him, makes Ace’s theory stronger than I would otherwise expect.