Stop the Violence, But Only at Trump Rallies?

A Baltimore Sun editorial on March 14, 2016, raised its concerns about the recent confrontations between protesters and security officials at a number of campaign rallies of the GOP’s presidential front runner, Donald Trump. They pointed to an outbreak of violence at campaign stops in Fayetteville, NC; Kansas City, MO; and Chicago, IL. The “Sun” added with a tone of deep seriousness, “things are getting out of hand.”

Trump, the Sun continued in the same worried vein, is “flirting with a kind of anarchy.” If that happens the editorial scribe warned, “his party (the GOP) and the country will all suffer.” Oh my, we don’t want that to happen.

All of the above sounded good to me. Trump, indeed, has an obligation to tone down his bellicose campaign “rhetoric,” and, of course, if he doesn’t, the brawling might, indeed, escalate. Time out now for a for a little perspective.

Just one day later after the “Sun’s” stop-the-violence-at-the rallies’ editorial, a commentary by syndicated columnist, Jules Witcover, appeared in their paper. I could be wrong, but I think he’s been a correspondent in Washington, D.C., since the administration of Abraham Lincoln or maybe it was later.

In his column, Witcover said that, despite Trump, he believed the “GOP is sobering up.” Really, that’s good news. Why does the cerebral Witcover think that? Because, he wrote, three of the GOP candidates: Sens. Ted Cruz and Mario Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have developed a strategy on “fighting the Islamic State.”

Well, what exactly is that brainstorm? Why, it’s putting “American boots on the ground” in Syria, “20,000 to 30,000,” as suggested by American military leaders! Hey, “Sun” editorial writer, that sounds like a hell of lot violence to me, much more than that punching and kicking will create at any future Trump rallies.

Keep in mind, that the all-wise Witcover thought, like so many of those Neocons backing the Bush-Cheney Gang’s war, in 2003, that destroying Iraq was a good idea. The results: Try about 5,000 American troops dead; thousands more injured; cost to U.S. taxpayers, $4 to $6 trillion; about one million Iraqi deaths, including troops and innocent civilians; the birth of the evolving Islamic State; and, a refugee crisis of staggering proportions that continues to challenge the resources of the global community.

Do you notice a wee bit of inconsistency here from the deep thinkers at the “Sun,” on the issue of violence? Some violence, local, bad; U.S. sponsored violence in the Mideast, good! Another disastrous U.S. war, this time in Syria, doesn’t seem to register with the decision makers at 501 North Calvert Street. When, if ever, is the “Sun” going to learn the painful lessons of the Iraq conflict? As for the clueless Witcover, I doubt if he ever will.

If all of this wasn’t egregious enough, just under that Sun’s editorial, it ran a photo of another columnist, one Jonah Goldberg. He makes Witcover look like a passionate Peacenik!

In a January 25, 2003 rant, Goldberg said: “The French are liars.” He was upset that they wanted to lift genocidal sanctions then being imposed on Iraq. He accused the French of trying to “undermine them.” Goldberg insisted the French cry for “peace” is motivated by a desire for “oil.” He was writing for the “Washington Times” at the time. In another article, Goldberg suggested the U.S. should “bomb Canada.” Later, he said he was “only kidding.”

Now, Goldberg, a hard-core Neocon, who pushed, too, for the illegal and immoral Iraq War, is a regular contributor, like Witcover to the Sun. What can one say about all of this?

Well, I suggest that we can be grateful. It could be worse! At the moment, other flaming Neocons, like: Bill Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and John Bolton, aren’t also regulars dispensers of warmongering at the “Sun.” For example, the unhinged Kristol wants to put “50,000 U.S. troops” on the ground in Syria.

Here are just three lessons that the promoters of violence in the Mideast, including the “Sun,” need to learn, and learn quickly. First, there are limits to U.S. power. Second, the U.S. can no longer afford to play the ultra-expensive role of Global Cop. And, third, the American people are reaching a tipping point and they are angry.

Finally, some need to understand there are all kinds of seriously violent things going on besides the physical confrontations at the Trump rallies. I also think it would help, that if we do get involved in another bloody war in the Mideast, that we send it those Chicken Hawk Neocons – first! It would be the right thing to do.

A Response From Jules Witcover….

In your article, you write of a Baltimore Sun editorial and a column of mine, observing that “the all-wise Witcover thought, like so many of those Neocons back in the Bush-Cheney Gang’s war in 2003,:that destroying Iraq was a good idea,” and asking “when if ever is the “Sun” going to learn the painful lesson of the Iran conflict? As for the clueless Witcover, I doubt if he every will.”

If your writer had taken the trouble to check back in the Sun, he would a have found that as early as April, 2002,  nearly a year before the invasion, I wrote a column on a Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by then Sen. Russ Feingold challenging the power and wisdom of GW Bush to act on his own to do so. From then on, during the run-up to the invasion, during and after it through the present time, I have frequently and consistently written in my column appearing in the Sun and elsewhere against the legality, wisdom and folly of that action and its disastrous ramifications, both military and economic. I hope you will show me the courtesy of acknowledging in print your gross misrepresentation of my long-held and publicized position on what in my view has been the worst foreign-policy fiasco in this nation’s history.
Jules Witcover

Bill Hughes is the author of Baltimore Iconoclast