The Corner

Politics & Policy

Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and Lies

This morning, a correspondent sent me a video from PragerU. It shows Judith Miller, the famous national-security reporter, talking about George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and intelligence. Did Bush and his people lie the United States into war? (An act of high treason.) The answer is no.

I recommend this video as an antidote and a public service. The claim that “Bush lied” is one of the great lies of our age.

It is spread, of course, by the Republican nominee for president. In a primary-season debate, he said, “I want to tell you, they lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none.”

Donald Trump has been consistent on this claim — the claim that Bush lied. In 2008, he was talking to Wolf Blitzer. This is how it went:

Blitzer: “Nancy Pelosi, the speaker?”

Trump: “Well, you know, when she first got in and was named speaker, I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person. I like her a lot. But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost — it just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which, personally, I think would have been a wonderful thing.”

Blitzer: “Impeaching him?”

Trump: “Absolutely, for the war, for the war.”

Blitzer: “Because of the conduct of the war.”

Trump: “Well, he lied. He got us into the war with lies. And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant. And they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. [N.B. “They” did impeach him.] And yet, Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.”

Blitzer: “Their argument is, they weren’t lying, that that was the intelligence that he was presented, and it was not as if he was just lying about it.”

Trump: “I don’t believe that.”

It would make more sense for Trump to be the Democratic nominee for president, not the Republican nominee.

While Trump is condemnatory of George W. Bush, he is defensive of Saddam Hussein. “Do you know what he did well?” he told his crowd in July. “He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read ’em the rights. They didn’t talk. They were a terrorist, it was over!”

Of course, Saddam Hussein was a greater harborer and funder of terrorists. Under his wing were Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas, two of the worst. And where did Abdul Rahman Yasin run, after he bombed the World Trade Center in 1993? To Saddam, of course. Who protected him.

Trump thinks it was silly to oppose Saddam Hussein, that great terrorism-fighter. Last winter, he told his crowd, “Saddam Hussein throws a little gas. Everyone goes crazy. ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’” Maybe Trump would take it more seriously if Saddam had “thrown a little gas” at people Trump cares about.

Does Trump care about anyone? Aside from the man whose name he puts on buildings?

Earlier this year, I sat down with George W. Bush. He brought up Iraq. And here is some of what he said:

“The biggest surprise to me was that — not the biggest surprise, but a surprise for me was that — Saddam Hussein made the choice to ignore a universal demand by the U.N. and test our resolve. And I’m told that an FBI interrogator said, ‘Why? Why did you let this happen?’ He said, ‘I didn’t believe Bush.’

“You know, one of the interesting historical questions is why. Why didn’t he? I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe someday we’ll know.”

Bush did a little speculating. To see my account, go here.

George W. Bush and Donald Trump inhabit different planets — different mental and moral planets. Many people think that a Bush GOP was no good. They like a Trump GOP. Others of us think that, in nominating Trump for president, the GOP has disgraced itself.

The claim that Bush lied us into war — pretty much the worst thing a leader could do — is a lie. The claim that Saddam Hussein was an ally in the War on Terror is a lie. The man at the head of the GOP is a teller of these lies. For that and many other reasons, you can have him.

And good luck with the Wall.

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