Election 2016

Donald Trump Is Right About the Iraq War's Failure. Will That Kill Him with Republicans?

"Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake," Trump declares during GOP debate.

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During last night's GOP debate in South Carolina, a state that is not only socially conservative but very pro-military, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump dropped a 50-megaton truth bomb on the audience:

Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake…. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.

He also added this, in an exchange with Marco Rubio:

RUBIO: …I think you can look back in hindsight and say a couple of things, but he kept us safe. And not only did he keep us safe, but no matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn't do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.

And again, he kept us safe, and I am forever grateful to what he did for this country.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center— the World—excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.

Full debate transcript here.

Will last night's debate be the beginning of the end of the affair between Trump and Republican voters? Various observers think so, given the billionaire's ragged performance last night, inevitably described as grouchy, cranky, and defensive.

I'm less interested in that then the fact that Trump told a Republican audience what only a few stray party loyalists have been willing to say for the better part of the 21st-century so far: Invading Iraq was indeed a mistake on the conceptual level and a failure on a practical one. Does anyone doubt that the Middle East is destabilized? Or that it has much, if not quite everything, to do with the American invasion of Iraq (and let's dispense with the fiction that there was an international "coalition of the willing")?

Republicans may want to blame Barack Obama for squandering the non-exsistent gains of the Bush-era surge and refusing to stay in Iraq rather than following the withdrawal plan brokered by Bush, but even they know deep down that the war was poorly prosecuted. In 2011, for instance, 65 percent of Republicans said they thought the war had "succeeded" (whatever that means) but by 2014, only 38 percent did. Oddly—and perhaps just out of partisan loyalty—in 2014, a majority of Republicans thought the war was justified. Democrats were less likely to think the war was justified (about 28 percent) but more thought it succeeded (38 percent).

In any case, for libertarians and independents, it's a good thing to hear a major-party candidate (a frontrunner no less!) say what is plainly true to most of us: Invading Iraq was a mistake (at best) and the war has only created more problems in a region never short on them to begin with.

Recognizing basic reality seems like a prerequisite for smarter and more-effective U.S. foreign policy and if takes Donald Trump of all people to say the unsayable, well good on him.

NEXT: Justice Scalia and the Libertarian Legal Movement

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  1. Does anyone doubt that the Middle East is destabilized?

    Well yes. For it to have been destabilized, it would have had to have been stable to begin with.

    1. Iraq was stable.

      1. Yea, before we invaded.

        1. Exactly.

      2. We should have never invaded and the handling of the aftemath was disastrous, but of all the (too many) dictators and leaders the U.S. has helped overthrow in the past few decades, Saddam was by far the most deserving. I think it’s very possible if he had been remained in power Iran and Iraq could be in a full on nuclear arms race right now, and 13 years would be the longest he went without invading a country or attempting genocide. We will never know, and there’s a worrisome attempt by many otherwise sane anti-war people (who are right on nearly everything) of downplaying just how terrible Saddam was.

  2. The war succeeded.

    The “peace” was kind of a clusterfuck, though.

    1. This is the truth. What is missing is the role Obama played in letting the peace be lost.

      By the time he assumed the throne, Iraq was, while not free from violence, relatively stable with a pluralistic govt in place. GWB played a big role in ensuring that plurality by having a weekly teleconference w/ Maliki. On pretty much a weekly basis, GWB would talk Maliki down from the ledge and prevent him from sending Shi’a militias into the Sunni triangle to brutally and indiscriminately take out Sunni protesters.

      When Obama assumed the throne, he completely wiped his hands of Iraq in every way except for taking the troops out (which he waited a full term to do). The biggest thing was that he ceased the weekly discussion with Maliki and therefore Maliki proceeded to listen to the Iago that was his sectarian brethren in Iran and they instructed him that mowing down relatively peaceful Sunni protesters was the right path. The result was that a third of the country became rife for exploitation by the most extreme elements of the Sunni territories and the rise of ISIS.

      1. Obama did this with the full support of his party, a majority at the time, which had been criticizing the Iraq war long after most of its leaders voted FOR it. Anti-war was not a minority sentiment at the time, at least WRT Iraq.

      2. Obama was right to leave. Iraq’s army was a weak corrupt piece of crap and they oppressed Sunnis all the time regardless of Bush’s ‘sessions’.

        1. Reading comp fail.

          The point isn’t that the troops needed to stay. They could’ve been removed sooner IMO. The point was that Obama completely disowned the entire franchise when a simple weekly check-in with the existing head of state could’ve tempered the worst impulses of sectarianism. But O is too cold and aloof to bother with such relationships. (side note, this is the opposite of Trump, who from everything I’ve heard is one of the warmest, nicest, and most engaging people in person).

          1. Well it wasn’t worth Obama’s time to do anything to make the peace work; if Iraq did become a stable state it would only benefit the legacy of Bush, and any failure, even those gratuitously imposed or allowed by Obama, would be blamed on Bush, since he wouldn’t have had the chance to fail if Bush hasn’t set up the situation with his own failure to begin with, or so goes the argument. There was no political gain to be had for him in Iraq.

      3. Iraq was stable before the invasion. There is no way it would have lasted as long as they believed there was a colonial power dictating what they do. All this work did was make it possible for obama to make it worst. Anyone really think isis would have gotten a foothold with hussein? That Iran would be moving faster toward nukes? I personally believe that the whole intent was to invade Iran. Take Afghanistan first, which was a success, then Iraq and have Iran one two fronts, however. The execution of the iraq aftermath didn’t got as smooth as they though.

      4. Agree to disagree.

        The structural problems in Iraq always existed. Obama inherited a POS, and he while he may have exasperated the situation it wasn’t his fault that Iraq is a fiasco.

        Iraq as we know it can only be ran by a strongman. The three (plus) appeared people’s have no tradition of democratic rule where the rights of the minority are protected by the majority.

        Not an Obama fan, but the hubris of GW and crew are to blame for what Iraq has dissolved into.

  3. Trump sometimes seems better on foreign policy that the other GOP candidates. And apparently, looking at the polls, that’s not exactly killing him.

    1. He only looks better because he’s vague, while the other candidates are very specific about how much they would suck.

      1. So there’s a chance Trump might be decent on foreign policy, while the others will most certainly start more costly and damaging wars? I think that’s a pretty decent cause for Trump supporters.

        I’m voting for Gay Jay unless the free pony guy ups the ante and is giving out free coke, beer, and hookers with the pony.

        1. Better the devil you know.

          Even from a non-interventionist perspective, one could argue Obama has been even worse on foreign policy than Bush. Who the fuck could have predicted that in 2008? That’s what you get when you elect a cipher, which is all Trump is.

          1. one could argue Obama has been even worse on foreign policy than Bush

            Meh. Smaller wars, but more of them. Fewer bodybags.

            The old adage that Rs and Ds are essentially the same thing in a different wrapper holds. Both absolutely suck!

            1. Smaller wars from a US perspective in terms of cost in blood and treasure.

              But more consequential wars insofar as they’ve handed vast swaths of the middle east and North Africa into the worst hands possible with the Islamists. Libya, Syria, and Iraq are all worse off today because of Obama’s desire to part ways with relatively stable, albeit awful, regimes in exchange for the wildcard of Islamism.

              The key thing is that I don’t think O really drove the foreign policy missteps here. It was Hillary.

              1. There’s no reason to believe Libya or Syria would be better off if America hadn’t bothered to bomb the former or hadn’t….done almost dick all in the latter.

                1. Again, why would I (America) care if Libya or Syria are better off? They’ve got nothing I need and they are an inconsequential threat, at best.

                  1. Forget it, he’s rolling.

                    “War war war! Kill more brown people!”

                    Love, Cytotoxic

                    1. “War war war! Kill more brown people!”

                      “Then take in all the ones who managed to survive the bombing because they won’t hate you at all anymore when they step on your soil!”

        2. “free coke, beer, and hookers with the pony”

          They’ll be free, just not available. Unless you’re part of the Vanguard And you’ll no longer have the money to pay for the black market products and services.

    2. Sometimes? With Rand out of the race it’s “always”.

      1. Gay Jay is better, although he has no chance of ever being elected president. I’m with most folks who are still pissed at him for not getting elected to the US Senate. If libertarians are smarter in the future, they’ll put all of their efforts into getting more libertarians elected to congress and local offices, and forget about POTUS. POTUS is a beauty pageant for idiots, not a political election.

        1. True but just try to talk a LPer out of nominating some non-entity for president. “We won’t look like a real party unless we have a prez candidate, even if the average voter won’t recognize his name or spend 1 sec. listening to all the grandiose stuff he’ll do when elected.”

          1. wouldn’t an entity look more like a real party if it put forth candidates with a viable chance of being elected to offices where they might influence things? Imagine a couple dozen Mike Lee or Amash types; that seems more doable than putting forth presidential candidate for the sake of appearances.

            1. “wouldn’t an entity look more like a real party if it put forth candidates with a viable chance of being elected to offices where they might influence things? ”
              That’s certainly a more rational way to look at it. State parties would be involved in elections every year, spreading the Libertarian message. But once every four years the LP has to think “nationally” and spend a godzillion dollars to try for 50 state ballot access. Get the people in one’s own state familiar with the LP without trying, every four years, to reach 250 million adults with a candidate who has no hope of getting in debates or running noticeable ads.

    3. He might be better on the military, but if you count trade policy as foreign policy than he reaches Sanders levels of suck.

      1. This!! You can’t seperate protectionism, mercantilism and “saber-rattling”. They are all foreign policy.
        I don’t know about Trump, but Bernie could stumble us into conflicts between his national(ist) socialist trade policies and the fact that he will be utterly incompetent in dealing with foreign govts.

    4. Trump either doesnt know what the definition of weapons of mass destruction was, is ignorant or is lying. Tons of poison gas artillery shells were found and US troops spent years destroying most of them (large numbers remain) . Such munitions were used against the Kurds and marsh arabs . So it obviously true that there were indeed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that Bush did NOT lie. Trying to build a democratic Iraq may well have been a mistake . But the Progressive “Bush lied” trope is itself a lie and only a democrat like Trump would still be disseminating it . As for Trumps foreign policy, it is both Trump-centric and childish. Putin praised Trump, the Chinese leader did not so Trumps foreign policy is very accomodating towards Russia but would impose 45% tariffs on China.

      1. All of those shells predated the original Gulf War. They were not being manufactured as the intelligence community claimed.

          1. So, none of them were manufactured after the moratorium was in place. Saddam was NOT manufacturing WMD as was claimed.

            I was there when that cache was found. There was no rejoicing by the senior leadership. It was an old stockpile of garbage covered in dust. It didn’t justify the claims put forth for war in the slightest and everyone who was there knew it. It was an old stash with much of it not operational.

            1. Wasn’t Saddam supposed to have given all of that up?

              1. Sure.

                But a stockpile of abandoned, ancient, leaky bombs and shells is hardly justification for 13 years (and counting) of waste and was certainly not the threat described.

            2. Agree with you here, “It didn’t justify the claims put forth for war in the slightest and everyone who was there knew it.” When Powell went to the UN, sabre-rattling about WMDs, everyone listening thought he meant nukes. And despite lots of fissile material being shipped out of Iraq, they didn’t actually have a nuke program.

              Chemicals, OTOH, I’ve read, from accounts of troops who’ve come across the crap, that production continued after GW1. This production was assisted by some of our NATO allies, in defiance of sanctions (Germany gets mentioned here a bit). For interests of comity and assistance with GW 2/other GWOT activities, their role in said production was downplayed.

              And really, should we be surprised at any country having a chemical weapons program? If you can make bug spray, and even basket cases like Zimbabwe seem to be able to, then you can make chemical warfare agents. Maybe not binary VX, or weaponized (lyophilized screened 1 micron spore size, treated to enhance persistence) biologicals, but you can make shit like HCN, sulfur mustard, or Sarin. It’s not that hard for a nation state.

              Besides, violation of UN Resolutions, and manufacture of chemical weapons may be a valid legal excuse to go to war. But they aren’t reasons to. Not when Iraq was being contained, at a cost of what, 1/1000th that of GW2?

        1. The UN report was very clear that Iraq was investing in dual use technologies with the explicit goal of ramping up military weapons once the sanctions were lifted.

          1. And the UN was using the same Intell sources we were. They and we were wrong.

            1. Exactly. The vast majority of the intelligence community was flat out wrong. Instead of acknowledging this and learning from it, the Democrats who were ashamed of supporting the war decided to go with the twisted “Bush lied” logic and ignoring the fact that nearly everybody thought Saddam was actively seeking to restart his WMD program. There are a few lucky people who get to go around saying “I told you so” today, but they were in the minority at the time. This is why we once again take military intelligence at face value to this day. In an effort to save face, the left missed the bigger point.

          2. Weapons to use against the Iranians, are best friends. Glad we stopped him.

      2. WMD = nukes. That was the definition before Iraq. Then they started changing the definition to make the invasion more justifiable. Every one knew Saddam had poison gas for years. Bush did not call for the war because of poison gas.

        1. “WMD = nukes. That was the definition before Iraq. ”

          Nope. That always included chemical and biological weapons. Fail.

          1. Exactly! Bush specifically stated that WMDs had been used by Hussein in the Kurds and that the intelligence community thought (and certainly Hussein thought) he was working on a nuc weapons program.

            1. There were the yellowcake claims intended to stir up fear of a nuclear Iraq. The thing is those claims were plausible at the time even while later discovered untrue. But the central question is does non-proliferation rise to the level of casus belli and on that point I remain in the no camp.

              1. And that is an absolutely fair position. We can look at the same facts and come up with different conclusions. My argument is against those who want to claim their own facts and go from there.

        2. The military definition of WMD was, at the time, NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical). No one at the time was claiming that Iraq had anything other than Chem.

          1. I remember talk of ‘bioweapon lab vans’ but that turned out to be bunkum.

            1. Yeah, but you wanted the war anyway, didn’t you?

              Psychopath.

        3. Even if Iraq did have real WMDs that were capable of being used, that would not have justified the invasion. Under that logic, the US and many other countries should be invaded.

      3. Before the entire history of Bush’s war gets re-written, it was a UN coalition army that went into Iraq. However much it was Bush and the US doing the deed, the technical legal justification for the war was the refusal of Iraq to abide by the UN resolutions concerning the weapons inspections. That’s the reason the war had bi-partisan and multi-lateral support, Bush not only sold it to Congress and the American public, he sold it to the UN. Everybody who was anybody was on board with the war.

        So why was the GOP all gung-ho to support the UN when it serves their purpose when otherwise the GOP is well-known for their hostility to the UN and all it stands for? Because the GOP in general and Bush in particular have no real principles and will lie about shit in a heartbeat? Where was the principled objection to the US being the UN’s enforcement arm, why is nobody asking Bernie Sanders why he is proud of the fact that he refused to defend the UN resolutions?

      4. Cause the USA sold Saddam the chemical weapons in the 1980s to use against people like the Kurds in Halabja. Of course he “had them” – he just didn’t have any new ones.

        And getting rid of old, shitty, rusting chemical artillery shells and completely destabilizing Iraq was totally worth 4,000+ American KIA, tens of thousands WIA, and $5E12, right? Plus tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, but who gives a shit about them, cause they’re brown and Arab.

        Sickening.

      5. Hussein was a horrible horrible man. He’s deserving where he is, however, his gassing of his people was not our business. That sounds horrible but if we are to go that route of a dictator being horrible to his people where do we stop? Or do we stop, should be invade every country who’s dictator is butchering them. We didn’t care about the shah but he as an “ally” so that was ok. From what I have read bush 41 did promise some iraqi’s that we would help them if they rose up against hussein, they did and we didn’t and they were gassed. Kinda like when we told Czechoslovakia that we would help them if they rose up against the soviet union, just before the USSR went in a crushed their uprising.

        1. I just want to know when some other country is going to invade the US and put down congress and the supreme court for abject violation of their oaths. Clearly it’s ok for us to invade… whoever… because they’re political pieces of shit… but where are OUR invaders when we need them to take care of OUR political pieces of shit? Nowhere, that’s where. Buncha pansies, is what. Surrender monkeys. Just because our military is way bigger than the next bunch of countries put together… Wussies.

          Phbbbbt.

    5. Only to an ignoramus.

    6. Let’s not limit this to republicans. Why do the Dems get a pass for all the dead under Obama ? 75% of all US deaths in Afghanistan occurred under Obama, with even less gain then Bush had in Iraq. Almost 2,000 US dead, and not a peep about that. That shithole is a disaster, I know, yet Obama and his policy is seen as some sort of happy fluffy shit, unreal.

      How in any way shape or form would Hillary be different than Bush ?

      1. She wouldn’t. She’s also a member of the War Party.

      2. “How in any way shape or form would Hillary be different than Bush ?”

        *Sigh*

        Poor Mrs. Clinton has ALREADY answered that question COUNTLESS times. But you Republicans keep on asking. Mrs. Clinton has a vagina, and therefore is different from Bush, who has a penis. How many times does she have to explain it to you idiot peasants??

        Duh.

  4. In any case, for libertarians and independents, it’s a good thing to hear a major-party candidate (a frontrunner no less!) say what is plainly true to most of us: Invading Iraq was a mistake (at best) and the war has only created more problems in a region never short on them to begin with.

    I don’t know. For all his major-party frontrunner candidate credentials, I think I’d sound just as good coming from Caitlyn Jenner as The Donald.

  5. Will last night’s debate be the beginning of the end of the affair between Trump and Republican voters?

    Lol, this assumes Trump’s supporters give a shit about his substance, much less its appearance in an 11th hour debate

    1. No, it won’t happen. For Trump supporters, Trump IS the anti-establishment candidate. A guy who has never held political office, elected or appointed, who is not a lawyer, and who’s only degree from academia as far as I know, is in business and economics, getting the GOP nomination. When’s the last time that happened?

      This is just the manifestation of Republicans giving the establishment the middle finger. I’m not going to get into how misguided they are, how wrong they are, how they should have went for Rand Paul (which they should have obviously), because that doesn’t change anything about their intentions.

      The Democratic voters, however, remain sheep, perfectly willing to nominate someone who has spent their entire life in politics, who is a known cronycrat, war monger, drug warrior, the epitome of the political elite establishment, and a fucking criminal being investigated on several massive scandals. Will they ever come out of it? I think all indications say no way, ever.

      1. The Democrats want to have a woman president, and HRC is the only option available. A stupid intention, for sure, but no more stupid than “giving the finger to the establishment” by supporting a candidate with no experience, no track record of conservatism/libertarianism, no plan, and no impulse control, who would switch back to being a limo liberal the moment he gets elected.

        1. Idiocracy all the way down.

          Last night’s debate was a circus that could have come straight from the movie. I half-expected Trump to pull out a gun like President Camacho

      2. A guy who has never held political office, elected or appointed, who is not a lawyer, and who’s only degree from academia as far as I know, is in business and economics, getting the GOP nomination. When’s the last time that happened?

        I believe Eisenhower’s the last GOP President in this vein, but to be fair, making General and dealing with all the stuff he did during the war could be considered politics in a different arena.

      3. I wish Paul had the money to make it at least to SC. I would like to have seen how he would have done in New Hampshire. One a side note, Trump is saying what paul did about the war, about russia, about syria and the rebels, but since it’s trump, he’s an idiot. Trump was right, put in bush, rubio or even cruz and you’re looking at at least another 15 years of american deaths and lost money in a pit we have no business being it. I bet the three stooges kids will get a pass on having to go to the perpetual war.

        1. probly not good. he really really should do well but new hampshire went full retard this time around.

          1. should do well in nh i mean. “live free or die” is still nominally our motto but not so much in practice.

            1. Live for free or die.

    2. “Recognizing basic reality seems like a prerequisite for smarter and more-effective U.S. foreign policy and if takes Donald Trump of all people to say the unsayable, well good on him.”

      He’s only able to say it because his “handlers” are non existent. Everyone else is viewing for the SC vote and kissing bush ass so they don’t offend anyone. They are being politically correct to those who pretend they don’t like political correctness. BTW, how many are now mentioning a “wall” to curb illegal immigration. I heard at least two, maybe three off handedly talk about the wall.

  6. The Democratic voters, however, remain sheep, perfectly willing to nominate someone who has spent their entire life in politics

    I think Trump appeals to a lot of working class Democrats; union members, or those who wish they were. The ones whom that other Clinton betrayed in the ’90s with stuff like NAFTA. They love the siren song of protectionism and “bringing jobs home”. We’ll make America great again for the buggy whip makers!

  7. I’ve always predicted that Trump’s fall would come at his own hand — that some outrageous remark would be the final straw. But if a TRUE statement of his becomes the genesis of a fall in the polls? That irony would make my head spin.

    1. It seems like Trump is probing the edges for the statement that will bring his lark to an end. I don’t believe he really wants to be president, it’s all just for kicks.

      1. the statement that will bring his lark to an end

        “World Trade Center”? You could hear the hissing and spitting at that.

      2. It was just all for kicks at first. But make no mistake, the guy at one point woke and and said to himself ‘Holy fucking shit, I could be president!’. It’s not just for shits and giggles anymore.

        1. I don’t know. Imagine the pay cut. And the end of life as he knows it.

          1. Trump doesnt give a f*** about the country . He would party and vacation on the federal dime on a scale to put Obama to shame, sell every office and make deals that make Donald really rich . Donald cares about money and Donald, nothing else.

            1. I’d agree with this characterization through much of his life, but when age advances, people begin to have concerns that transcend the material. For many, this boils down to religious and spiritual natures. But it wouldn’t surprise me if a man like Trump was indeed genuine about wanting to leave the country that he owes his success to in a better position going forward (disregarding one’s view on whether his policies accomplish that end).

              1. Sudden his interests may not be in leaving the US better of but etching his name in history and the country being better off may be a byproduct of his ego.

                Or maybe not, depending upon his policy output which is still an unknown at this point.

                Can’t be worse than Bernnie Clinton though, IMHO

              2. I’d agree with this characterization through much of his life, but when age advances, people begin to have concerns that transcend the material.

                Oh, yeah. Just check out Trump’s tweetfest with Rosie O’Donnel. Definitely some transcendent remarks there; clearly a primo indicator of a budding statesman.

                Trump.

                FFS.

                And — trust me on this — he is in no way electable. He appeals the low-functioners and the information-poor. Lots of those in the GOP. They’re all behind him. And it in no way represents the majority of the GOP. The rest of them — you know, the ones who actually look at the world and understand what they see — will be voting for someone else. Luckily for us. Plus, there are very few democrats who will vote for him, plus, the swing voters… those are the ones who think more than all the rest of them combined. They won’t swing Trump’s way. Not a chance.

                Trump. Seriously. Not a candidate. Just a flashlight shining brightly on the right-wing facet of the double-digit end of the Gaussian.

            2. I am no Trump fan, but that sounds a hell of a lot better than what any of the other current Red or Blue candidates offer.

              1. People complain but I would have liked to see obama stay on the golf courses for the last 7 years.

            3. he has enough money he can run for president on a whim. i dont think he needs to embezzle anything.

        2. I’m agreeing here.

          Trump is known as an egoist as most people are to some entent.

          Trump probably started out thinking this was just more reality TV time and some popularity contest.

          Now that he sees that he may actually win I think he’s all in for the victory.

          Real estate developers and reality TV stars are soon to the dustbin of History but a US President’s name will be remembered for time foreseeable.

          Trump’s ego forbids him to throw this on purpose now regardless of his original intentions.

    2. I don’t know if foreign policy could do him in though. I get the impression most Americans don’t really give a whole lot of shit about foreign policy. Trump has already criticized Israel more than the most far left American presidential candidate and that didn’t hurt him. It’s not like people will suspect him of being a Muslim-lover for not wanting to invade more countries, since they already know he despises Muslims sufficiently. Honestly, I don’t think non-interventionism is that unpopular among the conservative masses these days. Worse for the establishment, it may be positively more popular than interventionism.

  8. The US created the mess so should we try to fix it or cut and run?

  9. Donald Trump dropped a 50-megaton truth bomb on the audience:

    He’s been saying this shit from the beginning of the campaign. It’s part of why Trump is the frontrunner. Non-interventionism/isolationism goes hand in hand with trade and immigration restrictionism.

    1. “Non-interventionism/isolationism goes hand in hand with trade and immigration restrictionism.”

      And they should both be rejected.

      1. “If your warboner lasts more than 2 years, see your pediatrician”

  10. He was also right about Kevin Jonas being a punk.

  11. Answer (link) to “Did Bush lie his way to war with Iraq?”.
    Answer (link) to “Was Operation Iraqi Freedom a strategic blunder or a strategic victory?”.

    1. Excellent articles! Better than anything to come out of the Reason-Cato camp.

      1. Cytotoxic with the review that lets the rest of us know not to bother clicking.

    2. That’s some good satire. Pissing away a trillion dollars in the ME to replace corrupt dictators with religious fanatics was a brilliant move. I was neutral on Iraq until Colin Powell went before the UN to present the intel. I expected an Adlai Stevenson moment. What I got was some grainy pictures of something that maybe could have been used to do something at some time but maybe not. It was strategic blunder and a waste of lives and treasure. We had Saddam on a short leash – all he cared about was staying in power and handing power to his sons. We were told he had massive stockpiles of chemical weapons – never turned up. A few old items rotting in a warehouse was not what we were told. We were told he was selling nuclear tech – never proven.

  12. Even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut.

    He was right on Iraq. And completely fucked in the head when he implied that there was something Bush could have done to stop 9/11.

    He also claimed Bush knew there were no WMDs at the time. That’s more bullshit. The Intelligence community had been saying that for 9 years before Bush was elected. It wasn’t a lie. It was simply a poor (unjustifiable) excuse to bomb the people he wanted to bomb.

    I don’t give points for idiots occasionally stumbling into the correct position.

    1. Hey, Gillespie earned his position!

    2. He also claimed Bush knew there were no WMDs at the time. That’s more bullshit.The Intelligence community had been saying that for 9 years before Bush was elected.

      This.

      The Big Lie was that Bush lied.

      The position of all major intelligence agencies in the world was that Saddam was pursuing WMD, and no one wanted him to succeed. That was the premise behind UN sanctions and inspections against Iraq long before Bush was elected.

      Ron Paul seems to be pushing the Big Lie now as well. I don’t recall him doing it while running for president, however. It will be interesting to see what effect this claim has on Trump’s popularity in the Republican Party.

      1. In covering their asses and being embarrassed for supporting the war, the left ignored the important lesson in that military intelligence is often dead wrong, and instead decided to cast Bush as some evil corporate warmongerer despite all evidence to the contrary, which is why they now believe the intelligence Obama gives on Iran, Syria, and ISIS without a second thought.

      2. Your implicit assumption that “the intelligence communities” weren’t pushing the bullshit they had been told to push for the benefit of the various commercial / MIC interests has no weight.

        If you believe that what gets distilled out for the public from “the intelligence communities” and from the various aspects of congress aren’t tuned specifically for effect, you are, at the very least, naive.

        What is obvious in Bush’s public personae is that the man was not (to be kind) very bright. He was not even a shadow of his father in that sense. What is also obvious is that huge amounts of money went… sideways… over the course of the Iraq conflict. And, of course, that Iraq, as has been the case with anyone (cough) benefiting from our “help” was driven decades backwards down the developmental ladder. Possibly more than that if the amount of ground regained by superstition is taken into consideration.

        The entire enterprise served only to fill the coffers of the rich and stroke the egos of the powerful, while serving up the lives of our fellow citizens to the violence we ourselves fomented. Afghanistan is little, if any, better.

        /f

  13. Of course most of the republicans know this. It’s a huge part of the reason why poor little brother Jeb has almost no grass roots support to speak of, and why the Bush family dynasty is about to come to end here in the very near future.

    1. Agreed but SC is about the worst state to pick to make that case.

    2. We could get rid of the Clinton dynasty as well, except that dem voters are unthinking herd animals.

  14. Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,

    ——————— http://www.richi8.com

    1. Go away, peasant.

      1. Don’t tell him to go away.

        Let him be lulled into a sense of comfort in his presence here. And then when the moment is ripe, I will capture him and put him to work in the mines, where he will make $7 a month working 18 hour days, 6 days a week (half day on Sunday for prayer of course). If he’s particularly efficient he can look forward to being put out to stud so I can get me some hearty orphans in the future.

  15. Every Trump supporter I know agrees w him about this.

    1. I have a hard time believing that the same people who want to ban all Muslims from entering the country, including US citizen Muslims, have a non-interventionist outlook on the Iraq War. It’s not impossible but pretty unlikely.

      1. Are you kidding? In the comment sections of the PJ Media/Breitbart-o-sphere, they’ve been plotting out the logistics of the 10th Crusade for a decade and a half now.

        1. A crusade would make much more sense than the Bush/Obama policy there now.

      2. “I have a hard time believing that the same people who want to ban all Muslims from entering the country, including US citizen Muslims, have a non-interventionist outlook on the Iraq War.”

        Pat Buchanan was against the Iraq War. Pat also just had an article in December supporting the ban on Muslim immigration.

        You seem to be unaware of the existence of Paleocons, who are generally against both foreign interventionism and immigration from non European countries.

        Trump is largely the powerful, rich and cosmopolitan Pat Buchanan. It would be interesting to see a poll of people who voted for Pat during his presidential runs. I bet Trump gets 80%.

        Trump = Pat’s Politics + Perot’s Business Experience + Kennedy’s Glamor + Highschool Mean Girl’s Character Assassination

  16. “Does anyone doubt that the Middle East is destabilized?”

    No.

    “Or that it has much, if not quite everything, to do with the American invasion of Iraq (and let’s dispense with the fiction that there was an international “coalition of the willing”)?”

    Only if you are completely ignorant of how the ME ended up where it is today, like Nick Gillespie is.

    There is no reason to believe the ME would be better off if America had left Sadaam Hussein in place and some reason to believe it would be worse off.

    1. There is no reason to believe the ME would be better off if America had left Sadaam Hussein in place and some reason to believe it would be worse off.

      But there is plenty of reason to believe we (the US) would be better off had we not wasted 13 years pissing away our lives, equipment and funds on an unattainable objective.

      Who gives a flying fuck whether Iraq is better off?

      The situation on the ground in Iraq is largely the same as it was pre-invasion (arguably worse). The only difference is that the US flushed huge amounts of treasure down the shitter in exchange for nothing.

      1. “But there is plenty of reason to believe we (the US) would be better off had we not wasted 13 years pissing away our lives, equipment and funds on an unattainable objective.”

        True. That’s why while the invasion was a good idea, everything after was not.

        “The situation on the ground in Iraq is largely the same as it was pre-invasion (arguably worse). ”

        Bzzzt wrong. The Kurds are massively empowered by the Iraq liberation. They are also the only thing that seems to consistently win against the ISIS and other baddies.

        1. Again, how does empowering Kurds affect me in the lightest?

          You do realize that during Northern Watch, US F-15s would be taking off out of Turkey to stop Saddam from bombing Kurds, while on a parallel runway Turkish fighters were taking off to go bomb Kurds.

          Did you see a sign in my yard the says “Kurd Empowerment Service” ?

          You know WHY you didn’t see that sign?

          Cause it ain’t there, ’cause empowering Kurds ain’t my fucking business, that’s why!

        2. Cytotoxic|2.14.16 @ 2:10PM|#

          1. That pretty much summed up the content of his post, yes.

        3. “The Kurds are massively empowered by the Iraq liberation. They are also the only thing that seems to consistently win against the ISIS and other baddies.”
          Yeah, and Turkey is responding by supporting Islamist groups, and Sunni sectarian violence has been exacerbated as well by Kurdish ’empowerment.’ Yes it would be nice for the Kurds to have they’re own state, but impossible without a war with Turkey, which will never allow a Kurdistan to exist. In the end, there is no guarantee the Kurds won’t be even worse off, since I don’t see them winning a full scale war against Turkey.

        4. How was the invasion a good idea? There are cause and effect issues here. What is happening now is the effect of the invasion. We cannot deal with the ME with a western mindset, it has been proven over and over that it will not work over the long term. The Kurds are empowered because they are with us against isis, defeat isis and you don’t think the US will side with Turkey and crush the Kurds? Interventionism is rarely, if ever a good idea. I bet Europe is still happy they got on board with the invasion and destabilization of Iraq. Almost 1.3 million reasons to be happy.

    2. I think the relevant question is “would America have been better off”.

      1. That’s not what Nick was talking about!

        1. Must … get … goalpost … further … here.

  17. ” non-exsistent gains of the Bush-era surge”

    Stop lying. The surge-Sawha beat the insurgency, end of story.

    1. This is true. Twas the peace that followed that was squandered by the current buffoon. (see my first comment above)

      1. Leaving Iraq was the one good thing Obama did in foreign policy. There is as much reason to believe Iraq would be stable if America had stayed as there is to believe it would be stable if Saddam were in charge: none.

      2. That’s true enough, Sudden, but what was the plan? Leave those troops there forever, getting picked off five or ten a week for eternity?

        The gains of the surge were, in fact, real. Keeping said gains with a population that could care less is somewhat more problematic. You cannot force a lastable action on a people who don’t want it to begin with. Eventually you’re going to leave, at which point they will do as they please.

        So the question is…is there anything in Iraq worth providing (read spending for) a Korean-level presence for the next 50 years? Hell, has it even been worth it in Korea?

        If your objective in unachievable, don’t start the war.

        1. Ugh, so sick of endlessly repeating this, but I feel I must.

          The issue wasn’t troops remaining in Iraq vs. leaving. It boiled down to simply telling the guy in charge in Iraq not to tempt fate and punish the sect that were his tormentors for decades. GWB counseled reconciliation to Maliki and Maliki respected him and the way GWB was able to analogize the challenges of pluralistic governance in the states with Maliki’s own situation.

          Individual relationships often have far reaching foreign policy consequences (see: Reagan/Gorbachev). Bush, for all his failings as a thinker, speaker, and policymaker, was generally pretty good at one to one dialogue and had a relationship with Maliki that guided Iraq through some challenging periods until O came in and fucked the whole thing up with his cold detachment.

          1. This, so much this. Also, the troops never left, at least a few thousand of them. We are also back in Iraq……but not really, cause I guess artillery isn’t boots, or some shit…..,and shooting into Iraq from around it means we aren’t fighting there……..and more bombs have been dropped in Iraq under Obama than Bush, but he isn’t waging war there.

            This is insanity.

            1. We’re going to be “winning” the war in Iraq for the next 50 years.

          2. We’ll agree to disagree, Sudden. The only thing holding the Iraqi government together was the United States military. In their absence, no amount of tender feelz from GWB or anyone else in the US was going to hold that bundle of shit together.

            For there to be peace there either needs to be a very powerful force keeping (forcing) the peace OR all parties involved have to want peace. Hell, even 166,000 dedicated US troops could barely keep the lid on, let alone the mishmash of factions within the Iraqi Army all wanting different outcomes.

            It was a fool’s errand.

        2. 5-10 a week? That’s not a problem for those who’s kids aren’t dying or being maimed there.

      3. Don’t forget, the idiot before the one in office now gave the idiot in charge the opportunity to squander any gains that my have been accomplished. Besides, it was only a matter of time before there was opposition to a US controlled puppet in Iraq.

  18. It was truly an astonishing moment…GOP front runner, by far, throwing any caution to the wind, saying the last GOP Pres should have been impeached and lied us into a disastrous war.

    Of course he was correct.

    Cue all the GOP apologists here.

    1. There’s no proof Bush lied.

      1. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/23/bush.iraq/

        935 false statements. They weren’t lies? Ok, he was stupid?

      2. One quote from Bush’s VP

        “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney said. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”

        No doubt? 100% sure?

        How about the Bush admin lied?

        1. They weren’t lies? Ok, he was stupid?

          No doubt? 100% sure?

          How about the Bush admin lied?

          About as stupid as you are. There is a huge difference between being wrong and lying you mendacious little shit-weasel. Bush may have been wrong, on many things, but in all fairness there is no evidence that he lied about anything relating to Iraqi WMD.

          1. Ok, stupid it is.

            1. “If you like your………..”

        2. So the actual president did lie.

        3. Gore and Clinton had the same exact position. No reason to believe Gore wouldn’t have been just as big of a dumbass.

  19. At this point, Nick’s own bullshit isn’t enough to satisfy Nick. He needs Trump’s bullshit:

    Trump on Why There Are No Reports of His Iraq War Opposition: ‘I Wasn’t a Politician’

    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..politician

    1. It’s a bit much for NR to criticize on this as they hounded anti-Iraq War conservatives out of the movement.

  20. I love how Nick and the rest of Reason staff both love love love grassroots bottom-up organization one minute and swear by ME tyrants as guarantors of stability the next. The cognitive dissonance is incredible and I can’t believe I am the only one to call it out AFIAK.

    1. US-led bombing campaigns and invasions aren’t exactly grass-roots bottom up organization. It’s a top down, heavy-handed external force demolishing the existing order and then picking a favorite in the ensuing vacuum.

      1. That doesn’t change my point thought.

        1. Of course it doesn’t. There’s war to be had!

        2. No, your point was moot to begin with. No one ever swore by middle east tyrants. You made that up or perhaps took the wrong meds again and hallucinated it. We sane people just don’t see fucking around with assorted dictators as worth our time, money, or the horrible indirect consequences that follow.

          You can talk of grass roots the day you agree to fund your insipid wars with your own money, your own guns, and go over there and die yourself, instead of forcing all of us to participate in the farce.

  21. The Scalia threads remind me of why Trump is winning the nomination.

    There are still people who think that if that the Republicans play nice with the Democrats (ie. don’t go into defcom 4 when it comes to opposing anyone Obama nominates), the media/progs won’t call them racist baby killing woman hating fascists.

    Hey Republicans, if you ever want to win the Presidency again, you have to grow some balls; the progs hate you and will repeal the entire BoR as soon as they can get away with it. If an atheist, pro abortion circus act is getting this much support from Republicans just by flipping the finger at the SJWs, just imagine what a real small gov’t conservative (if there is such a thing) with a fuck you attitude could do.

    1. This. What Trump has accomplished above all other things is splitting the genuine libertarian-leaning vote. From what I’ve seen in my observations around the world of social media and interactions with small l libertarianish types is that Trump has split it into two camps: the SJW lolbertarians who have allowed the progressive left crimethink frame to dominate their worldview and thus loathe Trump with the heat of a thousand suns because he is viewed as insufficiently submissive to “diversity is our strength” canard and the libertarians with a functioning set who’ve some adulation for Trump because his campaign represents an assertive zero-fucks-given pushback against what they view as the most anti-liberty trend in contemporary America: the Orwellian cultural zeitgeist of thoughtcrime and enforced fawning celebration of every group under the sun other than cishetero white males.

      1. “What Trump has accomplished above all other things is splitting the genuine libertarian-leaning vote. ”

        Puh-leaze. There is nothing ‘libertarian leaning’ about any of the peons supporting Trump. They are authoritarian swine.

        ” the SJW lolbertarians who have allowed the progressive left crimethink frame to dominate their worldview and thus loathe Trump with the heat of a thousand suns because he is viewed as insufficiently submissive to “diversity is our strength” canard and the libertarians with a functioning set who’ve some adulation for Trump because his campaign represents an assertive zero-fucks-given pushback against what they view as the most anti-liberty trend in contemporary America: ”

        The only thing you demonstrate here is your love of style over substance and the tendency of conservatives to turn every-fucking-thing into KULTTR WAR caricatures. You people are useless to the struggle for freedom.

        1. Freedom of thought and speech are the two most important freedoms behind of course being allowed to remain alive. While I fully recognize that the SJW wet dream of the govt policing thought and speech largely haven’t been realized yet, I maintain that culture leads policy, not the other way around.

          A culture in which a private person can be doxxed and an army of professional tax-funded grievance-mongers can agitate for that person’s sustenance to be cut off via termination simply for insufficient deference to the most extreme aspects of the SJW agenda is one worth both fighting against and burning to the fucking ground.

        2. So ya, call me KULTTR WAR all you want, so long as you know that it ain’t about preservation of “tradcon” values or abortion of prayer in fucking school. So long as you know my culture war is a war against the thoughtpolice to which you increasingly belong.

          I’ll wear it as a badge of honor.

          1. “Wait, did someone say ‘war’? Where can I sign the US up?”

            — Short Canadian Warmonger

        3. the tendency of conservatives to turn every-fucking-thing into KULTTR WAR caricatures.

          The Progressive Theocracy has already made everything a KULTTR WAR.

          A precious few conservatives actually believe in fighting back.

        4. “You people are useless to the struggle for freedom.”
          Like the freedom to have our money confiscate for the purpose of waging war on countries we don’t care about? Of course, one of the most important freedoms. Positive rights, neocon style.

    2. If an atheist, pro abortion circus act is getting this much support from Republicans just by flipping the finger at the SJWs, just imagine what a real small gov’t conservative (if there is such a thing) with a fuck you attitude could do.

      This. Oh so this.

      Much of the country has been burning for someone to tell the Progressive Theocracy to go fuck themselves. The Silent Majority of people who loathe the SJWs have just been waiting for a voice.

      It’s a shame that Trump is the first to be that voice. He’s a wackjob. What a petty, psycho tyrant he could be. But if it’s him or the Crony Criminal or USSR Fanboy, I guess I’ll put my money on the Petty Tyrant.

      1. I read your quoted lines, buybuyanddavis, and I think, “Isn’t Cruz a ‘real small gov’t conservative…with a fuck you attitude?” If so, then what does Cruz need to do in order to peel off supporters from Trump, in your opinion?

    3. It’s going to be interesting to see how tough they are when obama puts up a nominee. Maybe they’ll again say that there’s not much they can do without the WH and approve the nomination. Obama should put forth a female gay hispanic black woman and the reps will fold like a house of cards in fear of offending votes they will never get anyway.

  22. We can argue round and round forever over whether our invasion and occupation of Iraq was a mistake.
    And it certainly is fair to say, as FdA did up thread that nobody lied, it just wasn’t enough of a justification. Agree or disagree, that is a fair point.
    And we will never know if things would have continued to improve in Iraq had Obama been willing to actually negotiate a new Status of Forces agreement. But he was NEVER going to extend our presence there. Remember how he “ended the war in Iraq”? It was his main talking point in his 2012 campaign.
    And no one who was president at the time would have been able to prevent 9/11.

    1. Note the sequence, cadence, and direction Trump’s Iraq/foreign policy discussion took place in last night’s debate.

      He started by simply calling the Iraq War a mistake. That strikes me as rather conventional wisdom at this juncture. But then the assembled forces of Judeacon began ganging up on him for being insufficiently warboner. So Trump did as Trump is wont to do: he doubled down and hit back harder. That is when he stated that the war was built on lies, advancing Iraq from “mistake” to “fraud”. The armies of neocons assembled, given sustenance from the warboner booing in the carefully selected establishment crowd, moved to the non-sequitur (but teh 9-eleventiez!1!1!!!) and questions of Trump’s patriotism. Trump, quietly seething at the point and a being a man whose own life was touched more by that event than any of the remaining candidates (perhaps save Yeb!), hit back again this time in Defcon mode with a proverbial “your fucking illiterate chimp brother allowed my friends to die.”

      If there is any valid criticism of Trump aside from econ and trade policy IMO it is that his temperament is such that he is prone to such regressions of thought and action when properly baited.

    2. The point is not that arguing about whether the invasion was a mistake, but that there is a front runner in the party telling the truth to those who are lovers of war and those who don’t give a crap about spreading democracy (or our kids being maimed and dying) as long as there is profit.

  23. EricLC has some EXCELLENT links that are required reading. Here’s one:

    Mr. Hussein did not hold down religious militancy and sectarianism, but incubated them and prepared the ground for an armed Salafist movement. The tribes, criminal networks, militias and distributed weapons stores that the regime used to secure support and head off a new revolt laid the material basis for a decentralized insurgency.

    The Islamic State was not created by removing Saddam Hussein’s regime; it is the afterlife of that regime.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12……html?_r=2

    1. None of which justifies the trillion dollars and thousands of lives pissed away on that adventure.

    2. What the fuck are you on about? Saddam was a essentially-secular dictator who was hated by the Salafists. He used their sectarian bullshit to play them against each other so that he could stay in power.

      But then the USA knocks him off. As a bonus, the Coalition Provisional Authority disbands the entire Iraqi army, leaving a bunch of well-trained soldiers/officers unemployed and pissed off.

      But if we hadn’t gone in, it wouldn’t have stroked the warboners of people like you, so here we are, many thousands of lives and trillions of dollars later.

  24. Trump has accepted the mantle of Ron Paul.

    1. That’s interesting.

      I’ve seen the link between Pat Buchanan and Trump, but I hadn’t seen the link between Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan before.

  25. Here’s another article that has far more effort put into it than anything from Reason-Cato:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/…..-jim-lacey

    1. Ah, NRO. What a fucking bastion of independent, certainly-not-neoconservative thought.

      Get back to your homework, junior.

      1. Note that Cytotoxic is more than happy to appeal to Catonian authority when it comes to immigration, but when they don’t line up with his warboner ejaculations, he uses them as a perjorative.

        1. He’s predictable, at least. War = good. Unrestricted immigration = good.

          Well, at least for the US.

  26. Ignoring the unmitigated disaster that Obumbles has created and wheedling accusations of ‘Bush’s fault!’ aren’t winning anyone over Nick. Other than establishment repubs and dems that voted for the Iraq war not very many people think it was a good idea.

    I am guessing that most of the people with these sentiments will proudly vote for Hillary, who voted for the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. Her breath-taking incompetence cost thousands of lives, including our ambassador in Lybia, she took bribes as SOS and laundered the money through her Clinton foundation, has voted for some of the vilest legislation in my memory, and is still a strident voice for the squashing of civil liberties. She is the single worst person possible to occupy the oval office, so of course that is who the dems put forward.

    1. Hillary is so bad that she is considered a worse option than a bona fide Stalinist. Let that sink in.

      The Dems choices are a man who will turn us into a banana republic and a woman whose behavior is akin to the junta of a banana republic.

      1. Obama has already turned us into a lawless banana republic, complete with mass political corruption and government harassment of political opponents.

        Hillary would add an El Presidente siphoning funds to personal back accounts. Bernie would bring us the empty shelves of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela.

    2. Cause and effect. If bush didn’t start it obama would have to be looking at something else to screw up. May we could have stayed focused on afghanistan.

  27. Maybe, but blaming Bush for 9-11, and claiming he lied about WMDs, is over the top. Certainly they are at best unproven allegations presented as fact. And some of his other policies are idiotic. Trump would be disaster as president.

    1. Trump would be disaster as president.

      Assuming your statement is valid, how would that differentiate him from any other two-party one-party candidate or any POTUS since Coolidge?

    2. Trump would be disaster as president.

      To paraphrase Sowell: “compared to who?”

    3. Does anyone find it interesting that almost immediately we knew who the 9/11 attackers were? We needed to get into WWII and pearl harbor was a catalyst, bush was damned determined to invade Iraq…. I’m not saying they knew, maybe I am, but I am saying that I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

      1. Does anyone find it interesting that almost immediately we knew who the 9/11 attackers were?

        Oh yes, we knew. 15 of the 19 were Saudi Arabians. Two others were from the United Arab Emirates, one each from Egypt and Lebanon.

        No Iraqis.

        No Afghans.

        The driving force, Islam, was, and remains, centered in Saudi Arabia.

        The funding was decisively tracked to within Saudi Arabia.

        Bin Ladin, when told of the 9/11 attacks, on video, expressed pleased surprise, then explicit approval. He didn’t say “I did it.”

        Knowing all of this, Bush attacked Iraq. Then Afghanistan. Pointed to Bin Ladin as the source of the problem. Obama followed through with years of continuing military pressure of various kinds. Iraq and Afghanistan destabilized. Congress funneled huge amounts of money to the MIC. Thousands of people in our military died. We got the PATRIOT act shoved up our collective asses in the manner of a pineapple dipped in heavyweight petroleum and then rolled in broken glass.

        But hey. ‘Murica!

  28. I doubt Trump will loose any support for his comments last nite about the Iraq debacle and he will probably gain some votes from independents and Dems who can’t stand the neocon bullshit.

  29. I doubt it. The Trump party platform seems to something he makes up as he goes along, but the GOPers championing Iraq probably aren’t running for anything anymore. If NG complaints about Iraq have any validity, whoever he loses on the GOP side can be more than made up for on the Dem or “independent” side.

  30. He’s been saying that about the war all along, and he’s in the lead, so the obvious answer is no.

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