For all of the genuine harm he does with his reckless statements, Trump has at least one message that would serve Republicans well. The message is that the U.S. should not repeat the mistake of the Iraq invasion--for which we got absolutely nothing, except 4,000 dead Americans, 3 trillion dollars squandered, a strengthened Iran, and Sunni rage against the U.S. in the form of ISIS. Trump was recently asked by a CNN reporter whether America would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power, and without skipping a beat, he said “100%, 100%.” He is right on that point.
Today, 12 years after the Iraq invasion, most Republican candidates maintain that there is a military course of action that will produce the magic solution to instability in Syria and to defeat ISIS, and that Obama is simply choosing not to follow that clear course of action. The same people who understand the true magnitude of the damage of the Iraq invasion also understand that there is no such course of action available. Most Democrats get this, while most Republicans do not. So it is important that it comes from the Republican front-runner that military intervention, such as that advocated by Senator Lindsey Graham, will guarantee more of what we got out of the Iraq invasion.
Republicans like Marco Rubio don't seem, to care or understand this risk, and are pounding the war drums for another ISIS-recruiting, American military intervention in the Middle East. Chris Christie is even ready to shoot down Russian planes. What the Republicans need to do instead is to transform into the Party of wise risk-taking and dismantle the neo-conservative-dominated foreign policy that has so damaged the Party and so harmed the U.S. The so-called left-leaning mainstream media needs to play a role in this. But, despite the lessons of Iraq, journalists still leave the public debate waters muddied, with American military intervention as a credible option for American foreign policy.
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