February 19th, 2016

Two new statements from the ever-evolving Trump

[UPDATE: I had to also add a link to this, where Trump praises the Iraq war (hat tip: “sdferr”):

Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump claimed on the second day of Operation Iraqi Freedom that it appeared to be “a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”

Speaking to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on March 21, 2003, Trump predicted the war would continue to bolster Wall Street.

“Well, I think Wall Street’s waiting to see what happens, but even before the fact they’re obviously taking it a little bit for granted, and it looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint, and I think this is really nothing compared to what you’re gonna see after the war is over,” Trump said, as first reported by BuzzFeed News…

Trump also speculated in the interview as to what kinds of weapons of mass destruction the Iraqi regime was hiding.

“The main thing is to get the war over with and just make it a tremendously successful campaign, and it’ll be very interesting to see what kind of weapons they uncover,” he said.


Every time I vow to get off the topic of Trump there is something new that needs highlighting.

So without a whole lot of discussion, I will just point out these two posts from Powerline:

(1) Trump likes the Obamacare mandate.

So I wonder: why then is Trump so down on Justice Roberts? All Roberts did was to say the mandate was perfectly all right if you call it a tax.

Mirengoff writes that the CNN interview in which Trump made this pro-mandate statement was generally incoherent, although that particular statement was clear. I wrote about that interview here, but in all the flurry I missed Trump’s moment of clarity—and approval—about the mandate.

Could someone please inform the people of South Carolina of all of this? Quickly?

(2)Trump is on record as saying in a 2002 interview that he favored attacking Iraq:

Donald Trump has made his alleged opposition to the war in Iraq a central theme of his presidential campaign. He claims that it differentiates him from his opponents and speaks to his sagacity when it comes to foreign and military policy.

Early on, we noted that there was no evidence Trump opposed the invasion before it occurred. He began to criticize the war only after it appeared to be going badly. That’s known as Monday morning quarterbacking.

More recently, we pointed to a book Trump wrote in 2000 where he spoke favorably about the possibility of an invasion. In that interview, however, Trump stopped short of saying we should invade.

Now, Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed has unearthed a 2002 statement by Trump in which he said the U.S. should invade Iraq.

Note again that the timing of Trump’s opposition to the war is a big part of his campaign; he talks about it a lot.

A significant amount of what Trump is saying now about his past statements and positions is made-up stuff. His contempt for the press and the public seems to encompass the idea that they won’t bother to fact-check him, or that they won’t care. Perhaps he’s correct about at least one of those, maybe both.

38 Responses to “Two new statements from the ever-evolving Trump”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    He just keeps digging the hole deeper. If it were not for the accumulated rage that the Left has engendered in the public, he’d be in the single digits.

    All the republican candidates need to publicize this because the democrats damn sure are…

    It is not mere idle curiosity to wonder if Trump actually believes his untruths or just cynically lies about them.

    Senator Cruz; run a commercial showing Trump’s vocal public 2002 support for the invasion of Iraq, followed by today’s claim that he was always against it. Follow that with the rhetorical question; has he just forgotten or is it a case of “he was for it before he was against it”?

  2. AMartel Says:

    Trump campaign claims are starting to feel a lot like Obama campaign claims (e.g., politically expedient lies projecting mirror image of the truth).

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    The other candidates have been way too slow at fighting this sort of thing.

    To answer your question, in the last week or so I have come to the conclusion that Trump may be what is called a pathological liar. I believe that, if that is the case, he either comes to actually believe his own lies or to believe his lies don’t matter if they have no consequences for him. I believe that Trump’s propensity for lying may be more deeply rooted even than Obama’s, which is more strategic, although Trump’s is also strategic.

    For Trump this is NOT just something new because he’s in politics. He is not doing anything during this campaign that he hasn’t been doing for decades. These are character traits in his case.

  4. sdferr Says:

    One might think of the analogs to Billy Budd and John Claggart with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, save that Cruz seems incapable of the instantly natural defence Budd could make landing a single blow to Claggart’s forehead in response to Claggart’s calumnies.

  5. David Y Says:

    Every Trump statement has an expiration date.

    What he says today isn’t what he will say next year, next week, or even next minute. Yes he is a pathological liar. The lies are too frequent, and sometimes seem to serve no real purpose. But, his fans remain willfully blind.

    I keep wondering why the other candidates don’t go after him harder. My only guess is they hope to be the last man standing, and all the anti Trump support goes to them. I hope it’s not too late when someone is the last one standing.

  6. Ed (from Ypsilanti) Bonderenka Says:

    Trump is a narcissist.
    No news there.
    He will dress, comb and accoutre himself in any way that he believes will make him fit his own self image.
    His speech is similarly affected.
    Perhaps his memory, also.
    This would lend itself to him lying, and not remembering having lied when called on it.

  7. sdferr Says:

    Trump has only taken 18 hours to reverse himself from “I like the mandate” to “I’ll repeal the mandate”. It’s impossible to keep up with the speed absolute lack of principle can produce.

  8. sdferr Says:

    The Hill, Feb. 19, 2016: Trump day after Iraq invasion: It’s ‘a tremendous success’

  9. expat Says:

    That link just shows that in addition to being a pathological liar, he has no idea what he is talking about. What’s more, he doesn’t care.

  10. Cornhead Says:

    I’m worried that there are so many wild flips by Trump that no one sinks into the minds’ of voters.

  11. sdferr Says:

    Donald Trump: “I was asked about healthcare by Anderson Cooper & I have been consistent — I will repeal all of #ObamaCare, including the mandate, period.”

  12. neo-neocon Says:


    Yes, I have the same impression and the same worry.

    Unless you’re paying attention closely, it becomes a big blur. And it’s Friday night, and tomorrow (the SC primary) is Saturday. How many people are even paying attention? And it becomes a buzzing mess of confusion, hard for people to sort out.

    But there’s some time for it to sink in before the next set of primaries. If that happens (and it’s a big “if”) and if some candidates drop out (another big “if”) there’s a chance, at least.

  13. neo-neocon Says:


    I think that word “consistent” doesn’t mean what you think it does, Mr. Trump.

    What’s more, presidents don’t repeal anything. He can change the executive orders, but only Congress repeals a law—and the mandate is part of the HCA.

    Unless he’s dictator, of course.

    Funny thing—Trump is a natural born citizen, and not a dumb man, but he appears to know less about the way our government functions than most naturalized citizens, and maybe even many foreigners.

  14. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    I dreaded writing this, because for one of the few times at this blog, there is almost blanket loathing for everything ‘Donald Trump’.

    My taste in candidates has been Tea Party or Outsiders, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Rubio (with reservations), and so forth.

    I’ve read the books the candidates came out with for the campaigns, so I could think more clearly about them and their positions.

    This means I read Trump’s book “Crippled America”. I was astonished.

    Whatever you think of Trump, whatever you think of his short responses to complex questions, please get the Kindle copy of the book and read it. Tonight.

    Neo, you are remarkable at researching issues and then writing about them—I absolutely love this blog and its commenters—but I’d like to suggest that you should at least find out what the several-page discussion for each topic is in the book. Then, as you did when you analyzed the Christie/Rubio imbroglio, you will find out that your assumptions about what Trump means or thinks are sometimes lacking in your usually deep-background-based opinions.

    You may still loathe Trump, but I believe you will see that even his short answers fit into his ideas in different ways than you think now.

    For instance, in healthcare, he said on TV that he is “for the mandate, because he doesn’t want people dying in the streets.” But in the book, he has a whole chapter on Obamacare, wherein he describes, with reasons, why he hates it, why he wants to abolish it, why he has recognized that Americans won’t accept single-payer, why his own healthcare ideas are for private sector solutions, healthcare savings accounts that are owned by the person and can be inherited, abolishing stateline-boundaries for it, making the care belong to the individual and not his work or a government agency, etc. Also, he sees that there is a charity aspect of healthcare that has to mandate that everyone will have healthcare, even those who are incapable of paying for it—but not single payer, even for that part of the population. He wants competition between doctors and hospitals, and private arrangements, and so forth. He lauds the private sector of American and what it can accomplish when it is allowed to do so. He is against the collusion in the insurance companies. He wants doctors to come up with a lot of individual ideas and try them out.

    I haven’t covered everything in that section, but for goodness sake—literally—go through the short, easily-read book.

    And don’t assume you know who I’d vote for. For instance, I absolutely respect, admire, and would vote for Cruz with deep pleasure—but lately I’ve been shouting at the TV at some of his—oh, I hate this!—his LYING commercials. One of many bad ones starts by showing part of the PP body-parts videos and then Trump from the debate saying “PP does some good things.” I watched the debate. Trump said, “Except for the abortions, PP does some good things.” This is inexcuseable. Trump was not commenting on the body-parts scandal, nor even on abortion, which he had excluded. And, Cruz is attacking Rubio the same way, with Photoshops and, again, taking talking points out of context. And during IOWA, the Cruz campaign made calls and other deliberate uses of the news about Carson, and even Bernie Goldberg—who abhors Trump—said, hating every word, that Trump was right in his criticism again Cruz on this matter.

    I’m also surprised at how much I find Rubio growing on me. His debate answers have been thoughtful and knowledgeable. I liked that, with the Pope-Trump issue, Rubio, a Roman Catholic, said that a country has a right and a duty to establish strong borders; Cruz said that it was between the Pope and Trump. Hello! Earth to Cruz! Rubio was right! Stand with the Truth about the ISSUE, not with the way you can use the disagreement against someone. I can’t believe that Cruz didn’t respond with America in mind, and not with his antagonism with Trump.

    Hey, all you candidates—Reagan’s 11th Commandment!! Stop being a Sophist in your campaigning, and stop attacking each other.


    Anyway, if you want to be certain of the basis for your comments about Trump—which we all do when we give comment—read the book “Crippled America”.

    Then comment.

  15. Eric Says:

    “The other candidates have been way too slow at fighting this sort of thing.”

    In general, the activist acumen in the GOP is low. Of course, the Democrats inasmuch they’re not leftists (which is harder and harder to distinguish) aren’t necessarily better activists than Republicans in isolation. They just have the Left to take care of that critical part of the game, while their counterpart Right is just as bad at activism as the GOP. Worse, the Right demands the GOP handle the activist piece despite that between the two, activism properly falls to the Right. The result of the GOP and Right’s irresponsibility is an open field for Left activists who gladly take the gift to run up the score and grab important social ground virtually unchallenged in their Gramscian march.

    Which is the cause of the particular reason that Trump’s Republican rivals seem to be punch-drunk reacting to the seemingly obvious target of Trump’s wild statements on the decision for OIF.

    The GOP’s activist deficiency made them react scared to the Kelly hypothetical last May, starting with Jeb Bush. It should have been a gimme, a gift opportunity, not a trap. Any halfway competent activist would have seized the opportunity to re-litigate the Iraq issue in the political discourse to set the record straight and turn the tables in a maneuver to discredit OIF opponents.

    Instead, the Republicans’ activist deficiency caused them to self-flagellate and dig themselves into a panicked hole on the Iraq issue with the politically toxic (and factually false) position that the decision for OIF was a “mistake”.

    The Republicans’ utter inability to compete in the Narrative contest for the zeitgeist caused them to concede the demonstrably false narrative of the Iraq intervention to pay for short-term relief with long-term, compounding cost. It’s at best a misguided belief they could skirt the Iraq controversy. They can’t escape it because, of course, the false narrative of OIF is an active cornerstone premise for the Democrats and the Left in their American affairs home and abroad. Thus it’s been competitively adapted by the Left-mimicking Trump-front alt-Right.

    By selling out the Iraq intervention that has been epochal and course-setting for American leadership since 1990-1991 out of weakness, the Republicans have turned what should have been a political strong point – championing strong-horse American leadership of the free world – into a cringing weak point.

    Since the Kelly hypothetical last May, Republican ‘leaders’ – led by the President’s brother – have fallen all over themselves to curry mercy from smirking Left activists with obsequious prostrations that OIF was a “mistake”.

    Then, here comes Trump who provides a 2nd-chance gift opportunity to re-litigate the Iraq issue in the political discourse. It’s a better opportunity to set the record straight than the Kelly hypothetical because the Kelly hypothetical was somewhat off-set with its ‘knowing what we now know’ hindsight framing. Trump baldly states the ‘Bush lied, people died’ meme and says “Nobody really knows why we invaded Iraq”, which is practically begging for rebuttal with the straightforward law and policy, fact basis of OIF.

    However, Republicans have broadcast fervently since last May that the decision for OIF was a “mistake”. They’ve spent most of this past year viscerally disgusting red-blooded Americans with their pathetic prostrations on the Iraq issue. The consequence is they’ve largely removed themselves from a sufficient standing to effectively criticize Trump on Iraq.

    How to restore the GOP against the Trump-front alt-Right and Democrat-front Left on the Iraq issue?

    GOP-front Right activism, of course. The Narrative contest for the zeitgeist is always malleable, where the actual truth is just a narrative that must be competed for like any other.

    With the craven state of Republicans on the Iraq issue, it necessarily falls to the Right to lead the way in re-litigate the decision for OIF in the political discourse in order to knock out the Left’s cornerstone premise and replace it with the operative premise that on the law and the facts, the President’s decision for OIF was correct. Which means OIF opponents have been culpable all along, which means Obama’s disengagement from Iraq was a monstrous betrayal of American leadership of the free world honorably rendered with Iraq.

    Even with the stage well set, the self-whipped Republicans would likely need to be prodded to fight the likes of Trump on the Iraq issue, but one hopes the Right will have done enough to lend Republicans enough activist spine for “fighting this sort of thing”.

  16. Ed (from Ypsilanti) Bonderenka Says:

    It’s chaff.
    He throws so much out that the missiles of his opponents can’t get a tone lock.
    So they don’t launch.
    And he gets away.
    And publicity.

  17. sdferr Says:

    charity . . . mandate

    In the same sentence, no less. This isn’t comedy.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Minta Marie Morze:

    Don’t ever be reluctant to say what you think. You are eloquent, and you consider options seriously.

    However, I wonder whether you know that Trump does not write his own books. They are ghostwritten, like those of most politicians. As are his policy papers.

    What tells you the most about his mind is what comes out of his own mouth. And from that source we learn that (1) he does not understand a lot of the issues on a very basic level (2) he does not understand the Constitution, except perhaps the 2nd Amendment (3) he changes point of view as the wind blows, and then changes back and justifies the changes (4) he lies constantly (5) he is a narcissist of the highest degree (6) his guiding principles throughout life have been celebrity and money, both in the interests of his own power and status, and (7) if anyone crosses him, he tries to destroy them financially and their reputations.

    And that’s what he does as a private citizen. That’s his record, back many decades. In those things he has been consistent. I have little doubt that power in his hands would be dangerous.

    What is written in one of his books is actually of no relevance to me. I see what I see, and I hear his actual words, which I know emanate from his mouth (unlike his books, which probably do not).

    I’m fine with Cruz, or fine with Rubio. I prefer Cruz, but I think Rubio is somewhat more likely to be elected, although I think either could win the general. Campaign ads are very low in my list of things to be worried about—in fact, I’ve almost never seen one that didn’t lie. But my question about the Cruz ads is this: are they official Cruz ads, or from PACs? He can’t control what PACs do, you know.

    I follow Reagan’s rule, generally. But I make an exception for Trump, because I don’t actually think he’s either a Republican, or a conservative, or really anything but a con man. I did not start out thinking that, but that’s where I’m at, after immersing myself in a great many interviews, press conferences, articles (new and old), videos, and a biography of the man.

  19. parker Says:


    I read your post carefully, did not agree with some of your characterizations, but that is just politics, we all have opinions. The problem with trump is which trump is trump? Trump changes by the hour. Is trump the trump of Crippled America? Or is trump the trump of a mountain of contradictory statements?

    When you (trump) tell lies you weave a tangled web of deceit and it becomes impossible to keep your ‘story’ straight. His word is worthless. That much is perfectly clear.

  20. T Says:

    Every time I vow to get off the topic of Trump there is something new that needs highlighting.


    You are channeling Michael Corleone here (“Every time I think I’m out they pull me back in.”).

  21. Steve57 Says:

    You are a LIAR!!!

    I know this neo because anyone not trafficking in the currently approved version of Trump is a liar, according to his hacktastic lawyers.

  22. The Other Chuck Says:

    MMM, Trump’s ghost written book came out in November, 2015 long after Ben Carson started promoting his ideas of health care reform which revolve around health savings accounts that can be inherited. Trump patched together a number of ideas from others and gave his team of writers instructions, nothing more. That is why he can’t keep his positions straight, because they’re borrowed. It’s a whatever will appeal to conservatives pastiche. He is a man totally without an ideology, without a center.

  23. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    This is probably in too late and too long to be read by anyone, but here it is.

    First, Neo, I know very well about ghostwriters. When I was at UCLA, in the 1970s, I sat-in on a lot of classes—I had to sit-in without credit because my Math major/Physics minor already had too many credits necessary. One of the sit-in classes was about history and historiographers, and taught about primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, ghostwriters, plagiarists, miss-attributed sources, and all sorts of neat stuff like that. Over the next 40 years I’ve read and learned a lot more about sources of information. (I actually held an original copy of Hooke’s “Micrographia”. What a thrill!!!!) I got in the university just before the plague of Structuralism/Deconstruction/And-Other-Insanities took hold. Students were on the march, yelling and being destructive, but hadn’t instituted total lies into the curricula yet.

    When I read the candidate’s books, I waited to read Trump until the last. After I read it I was stunned. When I listen to Trump now, I hear him in a different way from before. Take that as you will.

    Second, I am not justifying Trump nor endorsing him. Given my choice, I would mush together Cruz, Rubio, and Gingrich, make him look like Rubio will in ten years, and unleash him on the public. I would have a triumvirate in the VP slot, of Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, and Dr. Ben Carson—they’re clearly unmushable, and, besides, as three individuals I would hand them a lot more agency and cabinet positions, and tell them to make most of them disappear over time, with careful culling of the regs and rules, steady attenuation of their budgets, and a total re-purposing of their, well, purposes. Then I’d take a page—or word, actually—from the Catholic Church, and invoke what I believe is called “subsidiarity”, or, as Wiki puts it:

    “Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.”

    And I would bring America home again, to coin a phrase.

    If possible, I would also clone Cruz and get him on SCOTUS immediately. (I wish I could clone Bork.)

    Third, sdfrr, I put “charity” and “mandate” into the same thought because mandates can take many forms, with subsidiarity, and one can be that charitable hospitals and hospices in an area have a strategic and tactical plan ready to deal with medical emergencies that require true charity. With any concept of private health insurance structures, there must be—must.be.—a recognition that charity succors the truly helpless. I am open to an argument to the contrary, but the mandate that emergency people prepare a plan on how they are going to meet a challenge is not onerous. OK, Yes, the minute I wrote that previous sentence I was instantly reminded of Washington and state specifications on what color the printed notices are to be, the exact measurement—to the centimeter—of the bedsheets, the number of sub-administrators that need to be present for any decision, and so forth, and so forth, I daresay, to the last syllable of recorded time. OKAY. Next time I will not type “charity” and “mandate” in the same sentence. For a moment there, I lost my mind.

    Fourth, Hi! The Other Chuck, I don’t worry about when the book came out or what (the wonderful) Dr. Ben Carson (may he live long and prosper) said about inheritable healthcare savings accounts; the idea has been around a long time before any of this. I liked most of what I read. (I especially like the part where “Trump” said that what used to be called Global Warming is a crock.)

    Fifth, if we gather into a single volume, Cruz’s book, and Rubio’s book, and Carly’s book, and Trump’s book, and Ben Carson’s book, and the other ones I’m too tired to remember right now, get the Compilation a first, middle, and last name, get it a CA driver’s license for verisimilitude (they’re easy to get, maybe with Rick Perry’s face, very presidential), I’ll bet we could get it elected president.

    Sixth, Neo, Cruz himself authorized the commercials I’m talking about here. I am careful to note who does commercials. There are several, and each is completely Sophistical (and angering). Cruz, buddy, you’ve been really brilliant for a long time, and I think you are being too clever by half in some of your commercials. Is this the way you treat people who disagree with you? I thought you were “hated in Washington” because you were a loyal true Conservative; now, these commercials are worrisome to me. You and one of your major spokespersons are basically lying, by commission, by omission, by juxtaposition, and by Photoshopping without the normal clues that can be added to indicate satire or metaphor. And you’re too smart not to know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Seventh. And last. Seriously, people. I only recommended a book with good ideas and along with each idea-complex is a basic raison d’etre. It made me view Trump with more interest, for a multitude of reasons. I am more curious about him now. I have no doubt that I’m a complete idiot, and I’ve always been a misfit.

    Thanks to everyone for being so polite.

    I hope someone within the ambit of my words here reads the book.

  24. geokstr Says:

    I linked to this Buzzfeed article several days ago. It quotes a book by Trump published in 2000 where he says Iraq is developing nukes:

    “Consider Iraq. After each pounding from U.S . warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don’t even know for sure if they’ve laid their hands on that yet. That’s what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.”

    Of course, since all his books appear to be ghosted, perhaps he just skimmed over that part. Or like Obama’s books, made up of events that never happened, populated by composite characters that never existed, except maybe in the fertile imagination of some former domestic terrorist who just happened to live down the block from him.

  25. Eric Says:

    Minta Marie Morze,

    Good comment.

    I agree with you it’s a data point on Trump’s executive style.

    Step one: Sell a vague notion.
    Step two: Hire the “best people” to flesh out the (expanses of) blanks of the notion.
    Step three: Construct the product.

    With step one and step three, Trump has been a ‘by whatever means necessary’ competitor, as shown by his alliance with Left-mimicking alt-Right activists to exploit the long Left-exploited activist deficiency of the Right and GOP as well as his overbearing bully methods as a real-estate developer that Neo has detailed.

    In the campaign, we see step-one Trump. Your claim is that step-two Trump may work out after all.

    Minta Marie Morze:
    “You [Cruz] and one of your major spokespersons are basically lying, by commission, by omission, by juxtaposition, and by Photoshopping without the normal clues that can be added to indicate satire or metaphor. And you’re too smart not to know exactly what I’m talking about.”

    On the other hand, the competitive standard is winning the game, not one’s comfort zone of how one plays the game.

    Apparently, a ‘data-driven ground game’ isn’t the only tactic that the Cruz campaign has adapted from the lessons of the Obama campaigns.

  26. sdferr Says:

    Corn-ethanol subsidies are favored by Donald Trump and dis-favored by Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio favors sugar subsidies which are disfavored by Ted Cruz. How ought the Americans to view such subsidized economic game playing, game rigging, winner choosing and loser making, market meddlings and market distortions?

    Ill, I should think, to the extent that Americans have formerly disfavored socialism and the statist character of central government which demands these prescriptions. Wickard v. Filburn (1942) is as nasty a decision as is imaginable in this light.

    Subsidiarity viewed as making oneself a subsidy to Donald Trump’s views of honest political commercials, i.e. political commercials which honestly show Donald Trump’s own pronouncements from his own mouth, seems also to be a thing, for some.

    For others who thereby learn of Donald Trump’s own pronouncements for the first time, perhaps less so.

  27. Eric Says:

    “I linked to this Buzzfeed article several days ago.”

    Several details are off the mark, such as the disarmament-focused Operation Desert Fox was in December 1998 while our 1999 airstrikes were UNSCR 688 no-fly-zone-related, not UNSCR 687 disarmament-related measures. But the over-all assessment in that link-quote regarding the post-Operation Desert Fox situation with Iraq is correct.

    Note that the post-war Iraq Survey Group corroborated Iraq was noncompliant with the UNSCR 687 nuclear disarmament mandate:
    “Senior Iraqis—several of them from the Regime’s inner circle—told ISG they assumed Saddam would restart a nuclear program” and “ISG found a limited number of post-1995 activities that would have aided the reconstitution of the nuclear weapons program once sanctions were lifted”.

    If the counter-Trump strategy on his revision on the Iraq issue is merely to criticize him for being for OIF before he turned against OIF, that won’t cure the much more harmful (and factually false) premise that the Republican-led decision for OIF was a “mistake”.

    Keep in mind that Trump’s chief appeal is a negative anti-GOP appeal, not a positive pro-Trump appeal.

    As such, a charge of revisionist history on the Iraq issue does score a point. However, that point is small compared to the much larger implicit point of the prevailing false narrative of OIF adapted by Trump and the highlighting of Republican weakness on the subject which features the Republican betrayal of OIF via their obvious politically expedient, cowardly concession that OIF was a “mistake”.

    If the counter-Trump strategy on the Iraq issue is limited to pointing out he was for OIF before he was against OIF, then that evaluates Trump as no worse than the many Democrats (and Republicans) who have done that flip.

    That’s not a point for Trump, but it’s not a deal-breaker, either. To score significant points versus Trump (and Clinton) on the Iraq issue, Republicans must establish at the premise level of the political discourse that on the facts, OIF was right on the law and justified on the policy. Establish that critical premise, then Trump and Clinton’s flips on the Iraq issue – based on demonstrably false premises – can be evaluated as a gross betrayal of American leadership of the free world correctly and honorably rendered with Iraq.

    However, if the Republicans continue to fail to foundationally establish that on the law and the facts, the decision for OIF was correct, then at the premise level, they will continue to lose more than they can gain in any exchange of fire with Trump (and Clinton) over the Iraq issue.

    Bottom-line: Setting the record straight on the decision for OIF is necessary to establish critical premise that the Republicans need to win any political exchange of fire over the Iraq issue.

  28. The Other Chuck Says:

    MMM, pardon me for saying this, but your praise for Trump’s book and by extension the man sounds an awful lot like that of a fire in the belly true believer. My take away from your comment is that you view Crippled America as a manifesto of sorts and Donald Trump as a savior.

  29. Eric Says:

    The Other Chuck,

    The takeaway from Minta Marie Morze’s comment is that the longer the Trump campaign holds fast while the Republicans’ counter-Trump strategy is deficient, the more the Trump campaign can chip – has already chipped – away already-disaffected chunks of traditional Republican constituents and rearrange(d) them into the Trump alternative orbit.

  30. neo-neocon Says:


    Actually, the argument against Trump wasn’t so much about whether he was for or against the war, it was about his repeated lies about how early he was against the war.

    That lie (I was against it even before it began, right from the start) rests in turn upon the erroneous foundation that he could presciently see what no one else could, and it’s paired with the accusation that “Bush lied,” with the implication that if Bush had had any judgment he’d have seen it too. It also is Trump’s argument that he knows better than the other candidates, because he saw from the beginning what they were unable to see.

    And it’s all a lie on Trump’s part, because he wasn’t against the war when he said he was.

    Trump’s entire argument does rest on an assumption that the war was a bad and wrong idea, and it also falls apart if it was a good idea. But most people do assume it was a bad idea, and they are criticizing Trump for his lying about his own brilliance and the timing of his opposition, rather than his pro or con stance itself.

  31. The Other Chuck Says:

    Eric, all fine and good to counter Trump’s arguments, except he is a moving target. They’ve let him set the agenda and allowed him to get away with the most crass personal counter attacks. They need to expose the fraud by whatever means available. Now. The Democrats certainly will if he is the nominee. The RNC’s mistake was caving in to his blackmail threat of going 3rd Party. They should have let him.

    The following quote from Alinsky is the essence of Trump’s campaign and an exact description of his method of personal attack. It should be turned right back on him. Expose his fraud, his demagoguery, and his lies, and make it very personal. Forget the issues:

    * RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

    I disagree with your arguments about the Iraq War, not they you are wrong in what you say, but the public is tuned out to rehashing it and it is therefore a waste of time. Also, there is no one in the Republican Party who has the stature to do it, not even Cruz. For all practical purposes W and Cheney were disgraced. And I suspect W’s silence the last 7 years has been the result of an unstated but nevertheless quid pro quo deal to avoid prosecution for war crimes.

  32. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    Sdferr, Eric, et al.

    I think the Trump phenomenon is fascinating for many reasons, and the book is one of them. Here is a book that presents, conversationally, useful ideas on how to change the mess in Washington, along with a short discussion of WHY they are good solutions, and it gives good basic reasons to recognize Global Warming for the fraud it is. If it were written by Etaoin Shrdlu, it would still be an interesting and useful book to give to a teen or college kid, to open a discussion. Here is a basic, logical presentation and explication of a lot of useful conservative ideas based on the real world and what works and some of why. It occurred to me that in many ways it is like one of those old-fashioned pamphlets that showed people how to build basic electronic set-ups, and why they work, that led a lot of them to build their own “primitive” homemade radios in the early 1900s. I find the book interesting because, unlike Progressive ideas, which fail in the cold light of day—as per the major cities that are disasters—conservative ideas work for real-world reasons. (Which is why the Left is terrified of Free Speech.)

    There is a whole world of ideas that come from the fact of the matter of the book and what it represents. It is not a manifesto, or a holy relic, and this is not an endorsement of Trump—it is one manifestation of the fact that conservative ideas, fleshed out in the world, would work. If you had that, why would you not put it into use? This question carries some important philosophical freight with it.

    Moreover, it is an invalid extrapolation to infer from my interest in the book that I am pro-Trump, or believe he’s a savoir. I explicitly named my preferences elsewise, and my only Savior is Christ. The reason that the book made me look at Trump differently is because the Trump campaign contains within it a body of process and actions that are extremely valuable to study and analyze and wonder about. Eric has been proselytizing an adoption of the activist operational methodology—Geeze! Is he right! Not the way that Trump has done it, with the tactic of personal invective, but the concept of adopting the action. For instance, it is crazy how we have seen the PC metaphysic damaged.

    As to economic subsidies, my economic beliefs have come from many sources, but you can judge my views from a partial list of those I read avidly and happily: George Reisman (Pepperdine), von Hayek, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Bastiat, Adam Smith (1776), Walter Williams, Ayn Rand, and George Gilder, etc. I have read many others, with whom I disagree, including Keynes.

    And taking a person’s words, out of context, or in truncated form where a qualifier is removed, or once held but now renounced, and juxtaposing them with an image, a video clip, or words written or spoken, is not an honest act. Cruz has done it against Rubio as well as Trump. When a man says, distinctly, that except for the abortion part, PP does good things, and a commercial juxtaposes a clip of the baby body parts video with Trump saying ONLY the part that PP does good things, it’s an particularly ugly lie.

  33. Bob_CA Says:

    Minta, your pitch that voters believe Trump’s ghost written ebook instead of what he says reminds me of the old Groucho quip:

    Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

  34. The Other Chuck Says:

    For someone who has read Ayn Rand, subscribes to the ideas of one her admirers, George Reisman, and admits being influenced by a host of free market thinkers from Adam Smith to von Hayek and Friedman, Ms. Morse certainly presents a puzzle by praising Trump and his ghost written book. If anyone epitomizes a crony capitalist he does. He is not a self made man, far from it. He’s a man who has increased an already sizable inheritance through the use of bought influence, political connections, gaming the system with use of eminent domain, and the ultimate in financial moral dishonesty – bankruptcy. He’s a smart deal maker all right, one who lets others pay for his mistakes.

    You want us to give him another look by reading his commissioned piece of propaganda? The way he has led his life, both business and personal, is dishonest. Why should we pay attention to something he had others write for him? It’s a script he had written that doesn’t match in any way how he has conducted his life.

  35. sdferr Says:

    Please. In the context of the fungibility of dollars, Trump’s pseudo-distinctions are frankly moronic regarding Planned Parenthood. And what’s worse is he knows it, as do we.

  36. Minta Marie Morze Says:

    OKAY. I explicitly have stated that I am not endorsing Trump, nor am I praising his methods. If I were endorsing anyone, it would be Cruz. I don’t endorse this early.

    I have not praised the book, but rather indicated that it is of value in itself, apart from Trump.

    I have never said that people should judge Trump by believing the book rather than Trump himself, nor would I ever.

    I listen, in real-time, to all debates, speeches, SOTUs, and every townhall and interview I can, just so I can listen to the actual words spoken. I do not base my judgment of candidates on their books.

    I personally couldn’t care less if anyone ever gives Trump another look.

    This is why I dreaded saying anything. Even when I deliberately and specifically write the words, “I am not endorsing Trump,” I like Cruz, and I like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, and I’m wavering on Rubio, I’m called, by inference, a liar.

    I recommended a simply written book, easy to read, conversational in style, and it presenting many conservative solutions and why they would work. If anyone ever dares to read it, they might take off the slip jacket, remove the binding, tear out the pages that even mention he who obviously can’t even be mentioned, and give the book to a teen or college kid to read, (perhaps after taking the extra step of after getting someone to drive out the demon that apparently lurks within its very being.)

    If the kid finds it interesting, and different from what he is learning at school or college, discuss it with the newly partially-enlightened kid—without mentioning You Know Who, of course. And introduce another book, your choice. And then another. The conservative ideas are good even when written by a ghostwriter.

    And I’ll go back to thinking more about what Eric has been writing about. And also how it is possible to analyze the Trump campaign and its progress in terms of the effects it has on people. And how in the larger picture, people can lose a priceless heritage and history, and end up with the campaign of 2016.


    Get a grip, people.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Minta Marie Morze:

    If you’re saying that Trump’s book is interesting in and of itself, rather than as a guide to Trump’s mind, than I can accept that it might indeed have value for the ideas that are in it, wherever they may have originated. But as a guide to Trump himself, their only meaning to me would be something like “I’m Donald Trump, and I approve of this message—for the moment, anyway.”

    As far as Cruz’s ad goes—the one you mentioned, about Planned Parenthood and Trump—I hate the use of truncated quotes in that manner, and I hate them whenever they’re used. They are, however, used constantly in political ads, so much so that they are simply standard. That doesn’t mean I like them, and the person using them is not enhanced in my eyes.

    That said, the thing about Trump’s current anti-abortion position is that he was long an advocate of completely unrestricted abortion, and as late as 1999 (he was in his mid-50s then) that included partial-birth abortion. You can read his explanation of his change of heart on partial-birth abortion here, and it seems to me to be pragmatic and political, to be changed on a dime when he feels like it. Plus, it shows his lack of due diligence in studying issues before he opines on them.

    In a 2011 interview Trump gave a reason why he’s now pro-life:

    One of the primary reasons I changed [was] a friend of mine’s wife was pregnant, and he didn’t really want the baby. He was crying as he was telling me the story. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye. It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him. And you know here’s a baby that wasn’t going to be let into life. And I heard this, and some other stories, and I am pro-life.

    Sorry, but that just sounds bogus to me—and, if not bogus, then certainly rather strange. It’ the sort of thing a very young adult might say, and yet this incident had to have happened to Trump sometime after his mid-50 and probably in his 60s. Where had he been till then? Had he never pondered much of anything? What sort of moral and psychological depth does he has? What’s to stop another sob story from changing his mind back again? How shallow is he?

    At least with Cruz I know what his stance is, and that it is unlikely to change, and that it comes from something more than political expedience or some passing emotion.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Marie Minta Morze:

    It is certainly the case that nearly everyone is on edge and testy these days. I think you had made it clear that you were not supporting Trump. Trump presses people’s buttons, however.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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