UPDATE to UPDATE (5-14-15)
Jeb Bush’s position on the Iraq War seems to be slightly different depending upon which day it is. In the space of about three days (or so) he would have done the same as brother George (but that was based on the intelligence of the time), he thinks mistakes were made, and finally by day three (or four) he would not have gone in at all.
Actually we don’t know if he would have made his own decision or would have done just like George and have done what Dick Cheney told him to do.
Being as how he is George’s brother he feels kind of compromised no doubt. He’s trying to portray himself as his own man.
And Hillary Clinton can only say she would have not voted in favor of the Iraq invasion knowing what she knows now.
What both of them perhaps miss is the fact we need to be a lot more careful in our calculations on military invasions and we ought to have well thought out battle plans and the willingness to call upon sacrifice from the American people. On that last one if we feel the people are not willing to sacrifice it might be because the effort is not worth it to them.
Right now Jeb is looking pretty indecisive. Hillary is trying to steer clear of such mine fields of the kind Jeb stumbled into.
And now late in the day I see that Jeb Bush has tried to clarify remarks he made on the Iraq War, saying that he misunderstood an interview question. I’m not going to go into all that, though, except to say he has tried to clarify remarks that seemed to indicate going into Iraq was right (even knowing what we know now). And one ultra right-wing (or reactionary) loud mouth has blamed “the media” (of which he is part, even though he does not know it) of misleading people on the story. As I say in the post below it makes little sense to ask what one would do if he could go back in time (we can’t). But it is only natural to want to know how Jeb might differ from his brother George on such matters. And we still don’t seem to have a clear indication.
Meanwhile, Jeb has caught a lot of flak over all of this, not only from Democrats of course but from his own Republican party. So now he is trying to dig himself out of the hole — funny, Saddam Hussein was found in a hole in Iraq.
My earlier post from this (Tuesday) morning:
Jeb Bush seems to (almost) make some sense on his going-to-war-in-Iraq comments — even if he misses the point that his brother George’s administration was simply itching to go to war there so they willfully ignored any intelligence or advice against it and essentially lied to congress and the American people to get support.
And this is why we should all read and our history and retain the lessons from it. It has been written that we went to war with Spain after accusing it of blowing up our battle ship Maine in the Havana, Cuba harbor, with thousands of our own sailors lost in that blast. However subsequent evidence suggests the explosion was internal, likely caused by a design flaw that put to coal-fired boilers right next to the ammunition magazines. But there was a steady drum beat in favor of that war at the time by those who wanted to assert American strength in the world and hegemony over our own hemisphere (kick Spain out of Cuba). They were itching for an excuse. What helped was ill-treatment by Spain of the Cuban people, much the same as the horrors inflicted on people by Saddam Hussein.
But when I first saw the news story that suggested that knowing what we know now he would still go to war there, it did not seem to make sense to me. But what he really said was that intelligence indicated that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (I don’t think all that was clearly defined at the time, that is specifically what weapons) and he noted that Hillary Clinton voted in favor of going to war there.
He said the mistake, one he said his brother George recognizes, is that once we went in we failed to provide security for the Iraqi people so they turned on us.
But if you watch the video cut from Fox News you will see that he does not seem to address the question head on. I mean knowing what a disaster it all turned out to be would he have gone to war. Well actually now that I think about it that is an impossible question to answer or at least a nonsensical one to answer. I mean none of us can really go back in time. And of course he would not have done things as they were done knowing what he knows now, at least I doubt it.
But at least perhaps Hillary Clinton recognizes her mistakes. She has said she was wrong. Maybe Jeb Bush does not learn from mistakes.
And the relevance here of course is that it seems as if the American electorate might be putting either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House in 2016.
And on the subject of that failed war, I would say that it can be debated on whether we should have invaded Iraq. Probably the evidence we have now in hindsight suggests no. But the problem is that we went in there without a good military plan. Also we failed to recognize that Iraq like the Middle East in general is a place where religious sect and tribal loyalties are more important than national identity. And of course the Western Powers created Iraq as a nation — it did not naturally form as one people.
We did not send in enough troops and we destroyed the country’s infrastructure and made life miserable for the inhabitants and then wondered why they were so upset at us and were not throwing rose petals at our feet in recognition of us as their saviors.
Oh, and we never found that cache of weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs as they were called, as a kind of threatening buzz word meant to conjure up some existential threat that demanded action, demanded war.
Who knows? Maybe there really were WMDs there and somehow they were spirited out of the country before we could find them.
What we do know for sure is that we botched the job and lost thousands of our own people in the process, not to mention touched off a civil war that killed millions of Iraqis.
Jeb Bush would do better to leave the subject alone —
Next question please…
I don’t know, if you have not seen the video of Jeb’s comments on this maybe you can watch it and decide for yourself. He was asked if knowing what we know now he would have invaded Iraq (as his brother did). He says he would have anyway. Does he really mean that like it sounds? And does the question even make sense?