Jeb Bush was quite embarrassed on the question of Iraq
First he seemed to back his brother and then he took it back.
Yet the question’s still not answered and it’s never been explained,
If they knew then what we now know, would they really have refrained?
On Memorial Day we think about those who fell in the wars of the past. Although we’d just as soon not think about Iraq.
Especially if you’re a Republican candidate for the presidency. And most especially if you’re Jeb Bush. Asked if, knowing what we now know, he would have done the same as George W., he at first said he would. Then, facing a storm of derision, he began to hedge, and on the fourth iteration decided he would have come out against it.
The usual satirical culprits pounced. The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz had Jeb insisting that he would “harm the nation differently from his brother”; then he announced his resignation as George W’s brother. A John Cole cartoon similarly showed Jeb moving from his initial support of the invasion to the eventual “I was adopted,”
But more harmful to Jeb was the condemnation by an assortment of conservative pundits – the first full recognition from that direction that the Iraq invasion was based on faulty information and for that reason should not have taken place. Even so, other Republican presidential candidates tied themselves in knots on the affair. Scott Walker said the invasion was correct in its context but not in hindsight. (And Walker revealed his expertise on foreign policy by his assessment that Reagan’s greatest foreign policy decision was his firing of air traffic controllers to end a strike.) Marco Rubio, too, was strongly against the decision to invade; yet six weeks earlier he had told Fox News the world was better off because we had removed Saddam Hussein.
It’s all very awkward because the Iraq issue refuses to go away. Apart from the question of what GW and the neocons would have done even if they knew Iraq didn’t have nuclear plans, there’s a more immediately pressing dilemma.. With large sections of Iraq falling to IS, the question once again is whether or not, knowing what we now know, we should intervene, and if so how. If you’re a Republican candidate – or for that matter a prospective Democratic candidate – you’d rather be talking about something else.