When President George Bush launched the Iraq war under incorrect pretenses of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq containing Weapons of Mass Destruction, liberals and libertarians alike were justifiably enraged. There was little to no evidence Hussein was harboring WMD’s, and a fair amount of evidence the Bush administration had pushed its analyst to stretch the truth.
Here was the basic thesis of the Bush administration: Hussein’s an awful dictator who we want gone from power. If we remove him and install a democratic government, Iraqi citizens will see the fruits of democracy and never want to go back to Theocratic Authoritarian leadership. When its neighbors see how much life has improved in Iraq, they’ll also begin to push for Democratic reform. This will help to stem the growing terrorist threat and instability in the Middle East and eventually bring peace to the region.
With these ideas in mind George Bush and, by most accounts even more so Dick Cheney, began to look for evidence of an existential threat from Hussein so they could sell the war to the American public.
This all seems laughable now. Of course toppling Hussein was never going to bring stability to the Middle East, in fact the consensus is that the Middle East likely would have been better off had Hussein stayed in power.
That said, hindsight is 20/20. The Bush administration couldn’t have possible foreseen the mess the Iraq war would lead to in the Middle East, and thus they legitimately thought they were doing the right thing. We can fault Mr. Bush for rushing to conclusions and buying into tenuous at best theories about democracy building, but that shouldn’t be conflated with him being an evil person. All the conspiracies about Mr. Bush making up the WMD threat to get oil from Iraq are hogwash; in his mind he was making the difficult but necessary decision to create a stable and democratic Middle East.
And then there’s Trump
Trump is an entirely different animal, not only from George Bush but from all modern Presidents. Obama’s drone program, Bush’s nation building, Clinton’s Crime Bill, H.W. Bush’s invasion of Panama, Reagan’s War on Drugs, Carter’s Volckerian austerity. These were all bad initiatives undertaken by individuals with good intentions.
Trump doesn’t have good intentions, and it’s time to stop pretending he does. He doesn’t want to help the country, he wants to promote himself. If he has any reverence for the country’s wellbeing, it’s only to the extent that he’ll be seen as ‘winning’ as its leader.
All past Presidents were narcissists to an extent. To think that you’re the individual that should be leading a country of hundreds of millions of citizens and massive foreign obligations takes an enormous amount of self-confidence. But they also genuinely wanted to help people. One doesn’t put themselves through the brutal campaigning, fundraising, and media shitstorm that it takes to become President in this country without truly caring about helping people. It’s why George Bush now spends his time painting for wounded veterans and why Jimmy Carter is still building houses for the poor.
Or at least this was true for Mr. Trump who, unlike past leaders, thrives off the worst parts of American politics. While others lament the nastiness of name-calling and negative advertising, it’s the fuel that keeps Trump running. It’s why he attacks Gold Star families and still threatens to prosecute Hillary Clinton. It’s why he makes fun of disabled reporters and brags about grabbing women by the pussy. It’s why he praises dictators and has scorn for democratic institutions.
Mr. Trump’s response to the horrific protests in Charlottesville this weekend that ended in a proud Neo-Nazi killing an innocent woman by ramming his car into her are all the proof we need that he is, to put it as frankly as others should, an awful person.
Trump was silent while these protests were going on and people were getting beaten by white nationalist thugs, many of whom were donning red hats with the Trump campaign slogan on them. It wasn’t until a woman actually got killed in the protests that Trump decided to take to Twitter, offering condolences to the family and vague condemnation of hate. In his presser, he blamed both sides equally for the violence, refusing to call out white nationalists.
Critics noted that Trump spends an exorbitant amount of time on Twitter, tweeting specifically about individuals whom he wants to condemn, and yet he couldn’t take two seconds to open his Twitter app and say that Neo-Nazis are bad people.
As one of the biggest ‘fuck-you’s’ to date in this administration, Trump responded to this criticism by tweeting at Ken Frazier this morning. Ken Frazier announced his resignation from the Trump Administrations Manufacturing Council over the President’s refusal to condemn racists.
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES,” the President tweeted.
So, in response to critiques that he wouldn’t condemn racist thugs despite the fact he uses his Twitter account to specifically condemn individuals by name on a daily basis, he used Twitter to condemn a member of his council that quit over his failure to condemn racists.
These are not the actions of somebody who has any interest in helping people. These are the actions of a dirtbag. It’s time to stop pretending our President is anything other than a bad person, the exact type of self-obsessed bully we teach our kids not to be.