Donald Trump has staked his entire campaign on the premise that he, and he alone, saw that the Iraq War would be an unmitigated disaster. He’s repeatedly claimed that he was always against the war, always spoke out about it forcefully, and never waivered in the idea that Bush’s administration was going to botch the whole thing.
It is a nice thought. After all, Republicans may not like to admit it, but most of America now acknowledges that the war in Iraq was a boondoggle built on deceit, lies, and stupidity. If Trump could prove that he was smart enough to see that from the very beginning, it would go a long way towards validating his candidacy.
But then someone found this recording.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/247917827″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
In 2003, just one day after the invasion began, Trump went on Fox News to praise the campaign, calling it – in its early days – a “tremendous success from a military standpoint.” This was Trump’s “Mission Accomplished” moment. A bafflingly stupid victory call well before any of the intractable problems that would haunt us for the remainder of the war (and beyond) made themselves known.
Even more incriminating was how Trump predicted the war would affect America’s bank accounts.
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.
I think Wall Street’s just gonna go up like a rocket, even beyond, and it’s gonna continue and, you know, we have a strong and powerful country and let’s hope it all works out.
By the end of Bush’s two terms in office, the idea that he had made Wall Street “go up like a rocket” would be laughable. Beyond overseeing the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, Bush’s ill-conceived war in Iraq cost the country over $1.7 trillion, ballooned the deficit, and diverted funds from vital government programs and research. The result was a country that was even more destabilized than when America had gotten involved. The human toll, from American soldiers and the Iraqi people, are incalculable.
As usual, Trump wasn’t an outspoken critic willing to put it all on the line to tell the American people he felt the Iraq War was a mistake. He was an opportunistic huckster who told Fox News and its audience what they wanted to hear. In 2003, they wanted to hear that America was going to kick Iraqi ass and have the troops home by Christmas. If Trump had any hesitations about the war, you couldn’t see it past his splotchy orange tanned face.
Featured image via Real Clear Politics