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Thirteen Years Later, GOP Voters Reject Iraq War, Interventionism

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Jon Soltz

It is official. The voters in the Republican party believe that the war in Iraq was wrong, based on lies, and led to the birth of ISIS.

Donald Trump has made campaigning against the decision to go to war in Iraq one of the main pillars of his campaign.
Trump said, "George W. 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. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none."

Now, in recent days, we've found out that despite what he's been saying, Donald Trump didn't always oppose the war in Iraq, like he says he did. Just before the launch of the war, Trump, when asked by Howard Stern if he supported the invasion of Iraq, Trump said, "I guess so."

Still, that doesn't negate the fact that Trump made a bet - that going after the decision to go to war in Iraq would be a winner in the GOP. Three states and two big wins later, it seems that he is right

Going a step beyond, Ted Cruz, who seems to be Trump's main competition, was one of the few Senators who voted against sending small arms to Syrian insurgents - a vote that flies in the face of the interventionism touted by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. In fact, since Graham dropped out of the race, not a single GOP candidate rushed to defend the Iraq war - not even Jeb Bush.

Of course, there are other factors at play. A huge part of Trump's appeal to the conservative base is his sexism, racism, jingoism, Islamophobia, and more. Ted Cruz plays to all of those as well, and tosses in "Christianity under attack" for good measure.

Still, there is something for Democrats to pay attention to, here. For years, many Democrats were skittish about going too hard after the decision to go to war in Iraq, or use it as a basis to oppose further military intervention in the region. They saw folks, like myself and others, being tarred as "defeatist" or "Neville Chamberlain" or worse. Even recently, a lot of Democrats were afraid to oppose the idea of getting deeply involved in the Syrian civil war, lest they get tagged as weak on national security.

To them and to the eventual nominees up and down the Democratic ballot, it couldn't be clearer - the position of those opposed to the Cheney/Bush view of America's role in the world, is the prevailing opinion of voters in both parties. The Iraq war wrong. We were misled into the war. It caused the upheaval and explosion of insurgent groups that has brought us ISIS. Our best move, militarily, is to stay out of Middle East sectarian conflict.

Politically, there is no reason, anymore, to support military interventionism. Now the question is whether the entirety of the Democratic party will realize it.

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