Donald Trump’s remarks about Megyn Kelly still make him the most vulgar of the Republican presidential candidates.
But he is no longer the nuttiest.
That distinction was claimed by Jeb Bush in a speech at the Reagan Library, when he declared that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are to blame for the rise of ISIS.
Jeb being the brother of the guy who used 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq in the first place, a venture that then-Senator Barack Obama opposed.
Six weeks after the opening “shock and awe” bombardment, President George Bush declared in a speech from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln that the “major combat operations” in Iraq had ended in victory.
“Mission Accomplished,” read the big banner in the background.
Thousands of deaths later, the war was still raging and proving to be unwinnable.
In 2008, President Bush signed what was officially called an “Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq.”
The agreement required us to withdraw our troops from Iraqi cities by June of 2009 and from the country altogether by December 31, 2011.
The schedule was already set in place when Obama took office in 2009. That included the 2009 closing of our biggest POW facility, Camp Bucca. The prisoners who were released from Bucca included Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As has been reported in The Daily Beast, al-Baghdadi uttered some parting words to the camp’s commander.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” Army Colonel Kenneth King recalls.
Al-Baghdadi went on to become the head of ISIS and to announce the creation of a new Islamic State.
Obama did try to renegotiate the so-called “SOFA agreement” in order to allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past 2011, but he could not get the deal he wanted. Critics say he could have taken a more aggressive stance in the years after 2011, when the descendants of al Qaeda in Iraq began a murderous comeback.
But, of course, al Qaeda in Iraq would not have been a force of any consequence if President Bush had not smashed the Iraqi state in 2003.
In the meantime, we spent billions training Iraqi government troops who fled seemingly whenever they were attacked, leaving behind billions more in U.S. supplied equipment.
None of that was Obama’s creation.
All of it was a consequence of what President Bush so rashly set in motion.
And now his brother Jeb is trying to pin it on Obama as a way of going after Hillary Clinton. Talk about nutty. Not to mention offensive.
Trump is supposed to be the nutty and offensive one, but when it comes to ISIS he seems mainly to be woefully uninformed.
“Believe it or not, Iran is funneling money to ISIS,” Trump said on CNN.
Jeb could no doubt tell you that Iran is in fact battling ISIS by proxy and, in some instances, directly.
Something other than ignorance is at work when Jeb tries to pin the ISIS mess on Obama and Hillary.
Yes, as senator, Hillary did vote in favor of invading Iraq. And yes, as Secretary of State, she failed to make Iraq a top priority. (Though she did push Obama to keep American troops in Iraq after 2011.)
But she can hardly be faulted for what was all but sure to follow when Jeb’s brother gave the orders to invade Iraq.
And Obama is even less at fault.
Jeb is only able to claim otherwise because the people who truly are to blame have never been held accountable.
That includes not just Jeb’s brother but also former Vice President Dick Cheney, who promises to be even nuttier than Jeb when he makes an appearance of his own at the Reagan Library on September 9, two days before the 14th anniversary of 9/11.
Cheney and his daughter, Liz, will be there to sign copies of their new book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America. The library’s website says, “Dick and Liz Cheney explain the unique and indispensable nature of American power, reveal the damage done by President Obama’s abandonment of this principle, and show how America can and must lead again.”
Never mind that between the war in Iraq, the loss of focus on Afghanistan and the CIA torture scandal, the elder Cheney probably did more to weaken America than any other single individual in recent history.
The website goes on, “The Cheneys do what no one before them has done: chart a path forward to restoring American power and strength, explaining what must be done to reverse course, to fight and win the war on terror, to rebuild our military and reassure our allies that they can once again rely on American leadership.”
Neither parody nor irony seem intended as the website concludes, “A critical, frank, and much-needed touchstone, Exceptional should stand as a guiding principle for the potential presidential candidates in 2016—and for policymakers today and beyond.”
Talk about beyond nuts.
Perhaps if some of the other candidates do use Cheney’s book as a guiding principle, they too can prove to be even nuttier than Trump, who seems unlikely to read a book or anything else.
All anybody who wants to sound wackier than The Donald need do is begin a sentence with, “Well, Dick Cheney says…”
Meanwhile, Trump remains not just the most vulgar of the candidates, but also the front-runner.