This is why Trump’s America will never be my America

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Donald Trump’s foreign-affairs address Monday gives us the novel opportunity to analyze something that at least attempts to address policy and that also offers insight into his judgment as president and commander in chief. After all, this wasn’t some off-the-cuff riff; this was a carefully drafted, presumably rational statement of how he would run the world.

So let’s see what it tells us, shall we?

In the speech, Trump again condemns the Obama administration and its then-secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, for pulling our troops out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, the deadline set in a treaty negotiated and signed by President Bush.

“What a catastrophic mistake Hillary Clinton and President Obama made with the reckless way in which they pulled out,” Trump said Monday. “After we had made those hard-fought sacrifices and gains, we should never have made such a sudden withdrawal on a timetable advertised to our enemies.”

Note those terms: “catastrophic … reckless … sudden withdrawal.” The clear implication is that a President Trump would have shown better judgment, yet we know that to be false. We know that to be false because as far back as March 2007 — more than four years before the “sudden withdrawal” that Trump now condemns — Trump was emphatic about the necessity to leave Iraq immediately, right then, regardless of the consequences.

“You know how they get out? They get out,” he insisted on CNN. “That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave, because I’ll tell you, this country is just going to get further bogged down.” Cut and run, basically. More than four years before our departure, he was already advocating immediate cut and run. There we see his real judgment at work, operating in real time.

In the Monday speech, Trump also condemned Clinton for supporting military intervention into Libya on the side of rebels attempting to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. Again, he implied that a President Trump would have known better. Again, we know that to be false beyond the shadow of a doubt.

We know that for a fact that because in 2011, Trump was publicly advocating not just air strikes in Libya but the use of U.S. ground troops to overthrow Gadhafi, arguing that it was “absolutely nuts” not to get involved.  We know it because Trump brought his own camera people into his office so that he could stare into the lens and cast his pearls of wisdom before the waiting world:

 

Note the certainty of that statement, and the utter disdain with which he treats those who might disagree. Yet in the GOP primary debates back in February, Trump emphatically, angrily and with seeming sincerity flat-out denied making the statements that you see him making above. Instead, he claimed to have always argued that “We would be so much better off if Gadafi would be in charge right now.”

No. He did not.

In fact, his position changed yet again four months later, in June, when he claimed that he would have supported removing Gadafi, but through “surgical” air strikes. With Monday’s speech he has changed that position yet again. So as of Aug. 16, 2016, Trump has proposed four dramatically different Libya strategies, running the full gamut from doing absolutely nothing to inserting U.S. troops into the country and demanding at least half of its oil.

And on and on it goes. In his Monday speech, Trump also claims, once again, that “I was an opponent of the Iraq war from the beginning – a major difference between me and my opponent.” Once again, he was not. Once again, he is claiming credit for wisdom and political bravery that he does not possess. The earliest record of Trump coming out in opposition to the war dates from August 2004, almost a year and a half after the invasion, when disenchantment was already widespread.

There is, however, one important point on which Trump has remained consistent: War as a strategy for seizing and stealing oil. It is the one common theme that he returns to at every opportunity, and you can tell that he takes immense pride of authorship in it. He apparently believes it to be a great example of his foreign-policy prowess.

“I have long said that we should have kept the oil in Iraq – another area where my judgment has been proven correct,” as he said Monday. “I was saying this constantly and to whoever would listen: ‘Keep the oil, keep the oil, keep the oil,’ I said – ‘don’t let someone else get it’.”  We should “have left soldiers in place to guard our assets,” he said, but sadly we did not.

Note that term: “Our assets.” Ours. Ours by right of conquest. Because as he put it, “In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils.”

That is wrong on so many levels that it’s impossible to count, but let’s focus on just two, the first practical and the second moral.

1.) Had Trump been running the world the last few years, we would have U.S. troops stationed today in both Libya and Iraq guarding “our assets,” i.e., the oil that we had claimed as our own. Try to imagine the depths of the justified hostility that such a policy would engender, not just in the Arab world but across the planet. Try to imagine the annual casualty counts that our troops would incur trying to implement such a policy.

2.) Trump is bluntly advocating the use of military power to march into other countries and steal what does not belong to us. To put it equally bluntly in return, that is the behavior of a Nazi Germany, a Stalinist Russia, a Communist China. Is that who we have become, America? Have we fallen that far into the moral abyss? Is that the cause for which we ask our sons and daughters to risk their lives?

Look, we have never been the “shining city on the hill” that we sometimes like to pretend we are, but that lofty aspiration has nonetheless been essential. No country in the history of the planet could have handled the temptations of our immense military and economic power more responsibly than we have, and the reason for that success is our self-image as a people that at least tries to do right. We haven’t been perfect, not by a long shot, but that idealism has kept us from devolving into a nation with the moral scruples of, say, a rapacious, power-mad real-estate developer whose only real interest is his own enrichment.

That’s not who we are, America. Not yet. #NeverTrump.

Reader Comments 0

1270 comments
Janet Horn
Janet Horn

I'm too poor to vote Republican hell he broke do you need to vote Democrat

Bonnie Chase
Bonnie Chase

Book man you're a disgrace to your profession, Trumps words too strong for a wimpy weasel like you,put on your big boy pants on & put your panties back in the drawer\U0001f621\U0001f621

Tim Ferguson
Tim Ferguson

And Hillary's America is an end to our constitutional republic.

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

Yes and not Dinesh's version.

lewie spearman
lewie spearman

Amen....I once overhead some men chew over the upcoming invasion of Iraq in 03 during a jury selection pool waiting session in rome, ga, and one of them led the impromptu discussion stating that if we didnt' go in there and take that oil someone else would.  Magnus Trumpus is articulating what Robert Jensen calls the "pathology of the annointed," in his citizens of the empire, where the memetic assumptions of empire, which begin from manifest destiny and evolve into what bacevich named as full spectrum global dominance, culminating into the bush doctrine as a justification for preemptive war.  basically, we can do what we wish with whatever country we want and should expect to come out unscathed.

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

That doctrine is am abysmal failure that created the Bush debt that we have been dealing with for over a decade. Indeed Obama performed deficit spending to stimulate the economy and health care, but then on Obama's watch the deficit was reduced. We would not be on an overall deficit today if it was not for that bogus oil war. The real deficit creators are member of the Bush II administration.

Dave Whatley
Dave Whatley

He says we should just pull out, not advertise when. People love to twist his words.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

The head of Breitbart is now his campaign CEO?

well, thats all i needed to know for today about this sad pitiful cartoon

How do you make an entire socio group feel shame? when its clearly not naturally present? This is a trait humans evolved to function in complex society, and one subcult seems just not to possess it. This is not good for their future evolutionary prospects.

Peachs
Peachs

I think the media is determine to make this non event a event, the real election is over. What we need is more attention on the locals who sponsor Trump, and their failures in our state economics and education, for their own personal and career path. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Donnie_Pinko you run Trump and you find anything but Trump amazing, now that is what is amazing. 

honested
honested

Now that chump has populated his campaign leadership with ideologues from bright-butt, what's next?

Will the next 'campaign ceo' come from a a feudal society with no concept of elections?


How far will these clowns stray from the task at hand before they just give up?

Peachs
Peachs

@honested this is the test of how many would vote for a David Duke kind of election, great study in who is paying attention, like England just had when the next day the largest google was what was the EU. 

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

In a New York Times podcast called "The Run-Up" (to the election) the moderator interviewed a woman who worked for Trump for 30 years. She said he exaggerated things greatly and often, was not apt to listen to reason, and rewarded loyalty by promoting people, often into positions for which they were not qualified. 


He's doing the same things as a presidential candidate. 


For those who think Trump will be OK as president because he'll surround himself with knowledgeable people and listen to them, this should be a warning.

Peachs
Peachs

@Citizen-of-the-World met a thousand people in my life just like him, but none so self centered as to think they could run for president.  What Trump has done is bypass the process this minority hates so much and show up as the cartoon character they think is real. 

Menace
Menace

Just heard Sen. Perdue on WABE.  Set a record for saying nothing in the amount of time.  The moderator did a good job holding him on point.

Peachs
Peachs

@Menace got to ask yourself what on earth makes people vote for that poster that can't speak?  We need a change in this state worse than this country needs it, which is saying something.  Make people responsible for the grief they have caused this state, starting with this scholar named Perdue.

honested
honested

@Menace 

I listened to that as well.

Now that he has stated he's 'advising the chump campaign' he must not realize that puts him in the crosshairs to receive chumps wrath the next time something goes wrong.

Denis Ohayer always does a good job eliciting answers. Too bad the FauxNewz crowd doesn't pay attention to legitimate media.

Peachs
Peachs

@Donnie_Pinko how did this get through the Republican Primaries, unvetted.  We had Palin come in like this and totally being unprepared; now Trump, and no press outrage.  We are all on our on in this generation of home remedies and news.  Education, common sense, is out the window along with the facts.

rimsky
rimsky

@Donnie_Pinko Manafort is old story.  You are slow on your feet.  How about the General Michael Flynn.  Any thoughts on his connection with RT

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky @Donnie_Pinko more Russian influence, and sponsored by the Republican Party, right under our noses. What happen to tear down this wall? 

juliainatlanta
juliainatlanta

i for one would not want Cheeto Jesus's America to be my America

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

So how is Trump's "Hey you gullible Moulis, vote for me?" speech going over with Teh Blax? Any overnight polling to be had?

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer @Visual_Cortex There should be some public push back on CNN for endorsing this monster, and FOX has the sex predictor, where is the outcry of the public over this dirty stuff? 

rimsky
rimsky

Remember Michael Flynn?  The man has connection to RT.  Today he will be with Trump for intelligence briefing.  

Well done Republicans well done.

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer @rimsky watched Trump's foreign advisory on PBS last night, the Hillary side had a lady who had worked in the state department. She was armed with this guy's resume and delivered the opinion that if Trump has been in office when he immigrated to the US he would have been deported. 

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky Flynn has an affection for Russia, in any other time and generation these people would be carried off in handcuffs. 


Julius and Ethel Rosenburg would have served in Trump's cabinet, instead of being executed. 

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@rimsky Saw him on a few talking head shows - he seemed uncomfortable with Trump's hand up his back to work his mouth - sounded even crazier than Trump. 

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

THE African American vote? hardly in African Americans in the crowd.. lolol

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

Domwald Trumpenstein demotes Manafort, courts the African American vote in nearly all-white Wisconsin town. Such expertise and sound judgment really needs no advice. Keep up the good work, Orangey.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

What is the Republican version of ISIS? Like Saddam Hussein being displaced in Iraq led to ISIS, Trump losing in November will leave a vacuum.

How will the GOP come out the end of their national nightmare?

goat diddler
goat diddler

Hopefully small enough to drown in a bathtub.

Peachs
Peachs

@Finn-McCool Saddam Hussein looks a bit different now days, the mess Bush saw is small potatoes to the ghost we chase today. 

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

84 more days till the Clinton landslide. Then we can begin the discussion of putting Hillary's picture on the $20 bill.


mwuahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

Don't ever change Donnie. Just saw your African American outreach speech in front of an almost completely white crowd. You are currently at a whopping 1% among black voters, apparently aiming at zero. We believe in you - you can do it!