Likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush sat down for a lengthy interview with Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly, which aired on Monday, and discussed his positions on a wide range of issues. When the topic of foreign policy came up, Bush took the opportunity to connect himself to his brother George W. Bush’ positions, saying he too would have invaded Iraq back in 2003 if he had been confronted with the same information.
“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody… And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” said Bush, according to a transcript by The Guardian, about his brother’s 2003 decision to depose secular dictator Saddam Hussein, leaving a power vacuum that would later be filled by the terror group ISIS.
When asked whether the invasion was a mistake, Bush conceded that faulty intelligence motivated the attack and said, “In retrospect, the intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, not just the United States, was faulty.” However, Bush took issue, not with the invasion itself, but the management of the subsequent occupation. “And in retrospect, once we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn’t focus on security first, and the Iraqis, in this incredibly insecure environment turned on the United States’ military because there was no security for themselves and their families.” He then said that George W. Bush agrees with that critique of the war’s management, “By the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well? George W. Bush. Yes, I mean, so just for the news flash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”
Bush also referred to nation building as a “good sentiment” and said that, as president, he would rely on his brother George W. Bush for advice.
On the Fox News show Political Insiders, former New York Republican Congressman John LeBoutillier said about Jeb Bush’ Iraq comments, “I think that these remarks were a mistake for former Governor Bush to say. I think he didn’t think it through in advance. He’s been saying, ‘I’m my own man,’ and here he’s embraced his brother’s most tragic decision of all, and he’s effectively become the candidate for the third George W. Bush term, and that’s a losing proposition… I think the Jeb Bush candidacy is imperiled. He’s not doing well among the voters, not doing well in Iowa, mediocre in New Hampshire.” LeBoutillier’s commentary can be seen in the below-embedded clip from the show.