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May 18 2015

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Jeb Bush, Iraq and Questions for Hillary

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Fix America Tour: 2016...

Fix America Tour: 2016…

Even after putting the issue to rest on his third try, neither media nor his Republican opponents will give Jeb Bush a moment’s peace on his now infamous answer to Megyn Kelly when questioned about his take on the Iraq War.

Asked by Kelly if he would have authorized the Iraq War, knowing what we know now, Bush said, ““I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got. In retrospect the intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, not just the United States, was faulty. And in retrospect once we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn’t focus on security first.”

The emphasis on the first three words is mine, since they are the only words that anyone reporting on the quote has bothered to hear, as they bear out a futile, one-dimensional media stereotype of Bush family war-making menace. Three words to disqualify you from the presidency.

Hogwash.

 If you read on, you can see that Jeb was trying to get to the heart of the matter – the pre-war intelligence, which  all US spy agencies and the intelligence services of most of the rest of the world believed to be true; that Saddam had WMD.

Despite the brouhaha, and with all respect to Megyn Kelly, the question itself was vacuous. What does it tell us about the candidate? What insight does it provide? How is it relevant to today?

Could you imagine a reporter asking Harry Truman in 1948, “Knowing what we know now, would you have upgraded defenses at Pearl Harbor?” 

It’s preposterous.

Of course if the intelligence agencies had gotten it right there would not be a substantial enough basis to justify a war with Iraq.

What is happening today, not 12 years ago, is where the real interest should be.  But since Kelly’s formulation has so transfixed the media, lets stay with it. For equal time, I’d like to ask Hillary Clinton the following questions:

1) Knowing what we know now, about ISIS and the instability in Iraq, would you have rushed to pull all US combat troops out of Iraq in 2011?

2) Knowing what we know now, was it in Americas’ national interest to pursue the “reset” in US-Russia relations at all costs, particularly US agreement to cancel deployment of Anti-Ballistic Missile interceptors in the eastern European NATO countries to appease the Russians?

3) Knowing what we know now, with Libya as a failed state and haven for terrorists, was it right to authorize US military involvement in the military operation to overthrow Gaddafi?

4) Knowing what we know now, would it have been prudent to arm the moderate Syrian opposition at the beginning of the Syrian civil war, instead of waiting three years, after the opposition had fractured and radicalized?

5) Knowing what we know now, was it correct to vacillate on attacking Bashir Assad once he crossed President Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, costing the US precious credibility globally, but particularly in the Middle East?

6) Knowing what we know now, was it proper for the US to trade hardened terrorists for an American deserter?

The list goes on.

Yes, let’s have this formulation dominate the news cycle. And yes, let’s hold the GOP accountable as well.

Because here’s the rub.

George W. Bush took the nation to war in 2003 based on the categorical belief in the intelligence community that Saddam had WMD.  Panels and commissions have published thousands of pages disproving the insidious notion perpetrated by the American left that Bush “invented’ intel to justify the war.

In contrast, in each of the six question above, it is not a function of flawed facts, but flawed judgment – that has led us to our current, perilous position.  Mrs. Clinton was an integral part of it. She was the nation’s #1 diplomat through all of it.

To guide us out of our current international morass, we need a leader with proven judgment.  That begins here. If Mrs. Clinton can’t answer these questions honestly, she’s not fit to serve as president.

 

 

 

 

 

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