I will confess that I did not watch the entire Republican debate. I don’t deal well with cage fights. However, I did see the part of the debate where Donald Trump attacked Jeb Bush for the actions of George W. Bush in Iraq. Aside from the fact that it was totally tacky to attack George Bush on his brother’s record, all of the charges made were simply false.
Donald Trump seems to have forgotten that there were a number of reasons why we went into Iraq. Saddam Hussein was consistently violating a United Nations established no-fly zone–therefore, the credibility of the UN was at stake (I would just as soon get rid of the UN, but that was the situation). Saddam Hussein had already used poison gas on the Kurds (WMD). Saddam Hussein had previously fought with Iran and invaded Kuwait, and was not a stabilizing force in the region, and Saddam Hussein was training terrorists (google the airliner frame that was used to practice hijackings).
In 2006, Fox News posted a story about the discovery of WMD’s in Iraq. The Bush White House decided not to make a big deal of the discovery. I think this was a mistake, but you can follow the link to read the article.
Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article that sheds some light on the fact that we were not ready for 9/11.
Some excerpts from The Washington Times article:
As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hammers away at former President George W. Bush for not stopping the September 11 attacks, another factor could be added to the debate: Mr. Bush inherited from Bill Clinton an intelligence community in terrible shape.
This fact comes not from a Republican partisan but from George Tenet, President Clinton’s CIA director, a post that at the time made him the country’s top intelligence officer.
…In addition to Mr. Tenet’s book, other intelligence sources have told The Washington Times that the CIA in the 1990s dramatic cut the number of case officers — the people who recruit spies — from 1,600 to 1,200. The CIA closed operating bases, even the one in Hamburg, Germany, where September 11 Islamists plotted the attack. The NSA, the nation’s listening post, was not keeping up with the Internet revolution and was stymied at times by cell phone technology.
Mr. Bush reversed that trend by pouring billions of dollars into the CIA to hire new officers and into the NSA to set up new technology development units.
Mr. Tenet wrote that he personally asked President Clinton for billions more, but received no increase.
…“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake, all right?” Trump said Saturday at a debate in South Carolina. “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew there were none.”
With that line, Mr. Trump is picking up the slogans of the left wing which said, “Bush lied, troops died.”
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a special blue-ribbon panel looked into the claim, and both unanimously concluded the WMD finding was solely the product of the intelligence community, free of White House interference. Neither Mr. Bush nor the CIA lied, the panels said.
So I have a few questions about this attack. Why was Donald Trump spouting Democratic talking points? He also failed to mention that because of the actions of Al Gore and Bill Clinton, President Bush was not able to put his security team in place in a timely manner–his election was declared later than usual and he was delayed in putting his people in place. Donald Trump also failed to mention that Iraq was on its way to being a stable ally before President Obama prematurely withdrew his troops.
I am not a supporter of Jeb Bush, and I believe that his response to this attack was totally ineffective, but the attack was totally out of line and inappropriate. If I were a supporter of Donald Trump (which I am not) his actions during this debate would cause me to reconsider.