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Friday, September 09, 2016

Trump's Iraq war web of lies

by digby

Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star took Trump to task on his Iraq lies from the first 15 minutes of his speech yesterday before a bunch of schoolchildren in Cleveland:

Claim #1: I always opposed the war

Quote: “Iraq is one of the biggest differences in this race. I opposed going in. And I did oppose it. Despite the media saying ‘no, yes, no,’ I opposed going in.”

Reality: Trump expressed support for the war on Howard Stern’s radio show in September 2002, as Buzzfeed first reported in February.

Claim #2: I opposed the war after that Stern interview

Quote: “I was opposed to the war from the beginning, long after my interview with Howard Stern. Three months before the Iraq war started, I said in an interview with Neil Cavuto that perhaps we shouldn’t be doing it yet.”

Reality: Trump’s position on the war was far from clear in the Cavuto interview; he certainly did not express clear opposition. A longer version of his quote: “Well, he (George W. Bush) has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps.”

Claim #3: The Stern interview is irrelevant to the question of my pre-war stance because it was . . . before the war

Quote: “Those other statements were before the war even started.”

Claim #4: I didn’t really tell Stern I supported the war

Quote: “It was the first time anybody ever asked me about Iraq. He said, and I said, ‘Ah, I don’t know.’ You know, it was very, very (sic).”

Reality: This explanation is nearly indecipherable, but it is not true that Trump told Stern, “I don’t know.” When Stern asked if he supported the war, Trump said, “Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Claim #5: I was unimportant at the time of the Stern interview

Quote: “Frankly nobody really cared too much about what I said. I — doing business. I don’t even know why I was asked the question. I guess because I was asked the question. That’s — who knows.”

Claim #6: I did not have access to good information at the time

Quote: “Here’s the bottom line. I was a private citizen. I had no access to briefings or great intelligence surveys that she did. I had no access to anything.”

Claim #7: I made anti-war comments that took precedence over the comment to Stern

Quote: “That was superseded, because, before the war, much closer to the war, I gave statements that we shouldn’t go in.”

Reality: There is no evidence that he did so.

Claim #8:I have been a long-term opponent of foreign wars

Quote: “Had I been in Congress at the time of the invasion, I would have cast a vote in opposition. For years, I’ve been a critic of this kind of reckless foreign invasions, and, look, let’s face it, interventions.”

Reality: Trump, a Republican, has supported numerous recent foreign interventions he now criticizes opponent Hillary Clinton for supporting. For example, he also supported the attack on Libya and the ouster of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

Claim #9: I criticized the war soon after it started

Quote: “On March 25 of 2003, just after the war had started, just days after, just a little while after, I was quoted as saying ‘the war is a mess.’ And yet more evidence that I had opposed the war from the start.”

Reality: He made the “mess” remark in passing to the Washington Post at an Academy Awards after-party. But he still did not clearly say that he opposed the war — and just days before, he had told Cavuto that the war looked like “a tremendous success from a military standpoint,” as Buzzfeed also reported in February.

Claim #9, Part 2: I criticized the war soon after it started, cont.

Quote: “Then in August of 2004, very early in the conflict, extremely early in the conflict, right at the beginning, I made a detailed statement in an interview to Esquire magazine. So right at the beginning.”

Reality: Trump did criticize the war in the Esquire interview. But this was 17 months after the invasion, not “right at the beginning,” as Esquire says in an editor’s note now attached to the article.
And then there's this, courtesy of a twitter user Ryan Goodman. It's a passage from Trump's 2000 book he's always touting as a sign of his prescience for saying Osama bin Laden was a threat (which everybody knew at the time, by the way.)

Here's what he said about Iraq: