United States — Trump’s surprising choice to call the invasion of Iraq a mistake based on lies of the George W. Bush administration at the GOP debate on Saturday has been met with an equally surprising statement of approval — from anti-war activist group, Code Pink.
“I watched the debate last night and LOVED it,” Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin penned in an email to The Huffington Post. “It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush ‘never kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”
“Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake,” Trump emphatically proclaimed during the debate. “George [W.] Bush made a mistake — we can make mistakes — but obviously that one was a beauty. We should’ve never been in Iraq. We destabilized the Middle East.”
He didn’t stop there. Echoing findings by the U.N. over a decade ago, Trump continued berating the Bush administration’s fateful decision to invade:
“They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, but there were none — and they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
Though the arguably pre-biased audience indignantly booed Trump’s mic-drop moment of truth, his proclamation from a field of contenders seemingly engaged in a race to be the most hawkish was, indeed, refreshing.
“A ‘big, fat mistake,’ indeed,” Benjamin continued. “Trump even talked bout [sic] the cost of war and how the trillions we wasted on war could have been used to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure — a theme we have been harping on all these years with a campaign called ‘bring our war dollars home.’ It was wild.”
Wild could be an understatement, considering the backlash since the debate. Trump has now reportedly considered running as an Independent, or at least not as the GOP’s darling conservative.
“Trump’s words on the Iraq war will certainly enlarge the public space for a more critical inquiry of why we went there, why we stayed, and why even those who voted against the war continued to fund it while saying they opposed it,” former Representative Dennis Kucinich — who at one time began articles of impeachment against Bush — told the Huffington Post on Sunday. “It is healthy for Iraq [war] opposition and reassessment [to] be bipartisan. Ron Paul and Walter Jones kept up opposition to the war in the House.”
Considering Trump’s vitriol against refugees from the Middle East — and, really, foreigners wishing to come to the U.S. from just about anywhere but Europe — his stance against the Iraq war, a traditionally liberal position, seemed oddly well-considered.
“Honestly, on this issue, Trump has gone even further than Bernie Sanders,” Benjamin also said. “It was great. I’m not sure it will win him any votes, though.”
Of the anti-war movement’s accidental new bedfellow, Benjamin intoned:
“I only wish that bed was as YUGE as Trump’s bank account.”