The recent presidential campaign saw a plethora of open letters directed at Donald Trump, at least two of which were authored and signed by neoconservative foreign policy “experts” denouncing him for challenging their most cherished notions.
Now it’s my turn to write an open letter, albeit coming from the opposite direction.
Dear President Trump:
Unlike what you might expect from a writer for a website like Antiwar.com, I’ve given you a pretty fair shake. I have to admit that, at first, I just didn’t get it, but I’m honest enough to admit when I’m wrong. As you began to lay out your platform, I took notice– and, in the face of a lot of skepticism from my readers and even from some of my colleagues, I started to cheer you on. Not that I cheered every pronouncement – but when you started criticizing the conduct of American foreign policy under the Bush administration, and not just the Obama regime, I was quite impressed.
The turning point, for me, was when you got up at that South Carolina GOP presidential debate and said:
“I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
You stood there amidst a storm of booing and said “Go ahead and boo” because you knew you were speaking truth to power – and you knew the American people were listening and nodding in agreement. As for me, I wasn’t just nodding – I was cheering. After all, I spent the entire run-up to the war saying precisely that, and for the first time a major political figure – and a Republican at that! — was saying it too. For the GOP frontrunner to defy decorum, take a big risk, and tell the Republican donor class and the Bush-bots the brutal unadorned truth to their faces – that took courage. It took independence of mind. In that moment, you won my respect – and my undying gratitude.
Your willingness to swim against the tide, to question what “everybody knows,” was demonstrated once again when, in response to the widespread allegations that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, you said “We have no idea who did it” – even as the Obama administration joined in the chorus. Because the truth is that we don’t’ know – and the “intelligence” cited by Washington is always politically self-serving.
Now I’m hoping you’ll exercise the same independent judgment in resisting the siren calls in the media to let your worst critics into your administration. Many of those in the GOP national security Establishment who were saying before the election that you are “unfit” to be President are now singing “Kumbaya” and trying to slither into the councils of state. Please reject them! These snakes in the grass will rear up and bite you in the ass at the first opportunity – don’t give them that chance.
Here’s what you said in your foreign policy speech:
“I will also look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas, rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.”
The neoconservatives who lied us into war and who are the very globalists you’ve been attacking all along have no place in your administration – and I mean by that John Bolton, Stephen Hadley, Zalmay Khalilzad, Kelly Ayotte (who viciously insulted you), Mike Rogers, Frances Townsend (who called you “fundamentally dishonest”), and any number of others trying to crawl in through the cracks. Some of these people openly denounced you: others advocate policies that are the exact opposite of your “America First” less interventionist approach. None of them should be given the time of day.