In an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, possible presidential hopeful Jeb Bush explained that he would have authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, just as his brother did, and pointed out that almost anyone else would have done the same. He took care to mention Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by name.
“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… 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.”
The invasion of Iraq is one of the most controversial decisions in recent decades, and for a time was extremely unpopular. But now that Jeb is hinting at a closer relationship with his brother, this could be an attempt to explain that the information was at fault, not the president who gave the order. George W. Bush left office with a meager 22 percent approval rating, so Jeb is going to face a little trouble.
The reputation of his family’s name is even more important now that Jeb has said his brother is one of his top foreign policy advisers. This has cast some doubts over how truthful Jeb’s claims are that he is “[his] own man.”
Jeb’s attempts to explain that nearly anyone would have made the same choice under the same circumstances fall a little short. While President Bush was the one who gave the order, it’s hard to tell how a drastically different cabinet would have reacted. There’s a possibility that the information the hypothetically-different president received would be a little different from what President Bush got and what they reported; there continues to be speculation as to how information was exaggerated or made up in order to direct the White House towards war.
But the war isn’t distant history, and it’s still incredibly unpopular. This statement may have serious implications for Jeb’s race; it’s all well and good to talk about the past, but it may cause some concern for voters over whether his attitude might be the same if another conflict were to arise. With one of the least popular presidents in history acting as a foreign policy adviser and giving advice to a man who said he would have made the same decision, at the very least it will cause some voters to be wary.
For his part, Jeb admitted that there had been many mistakes, but that may be small comfort. Already, Jeb Bush is seen as the candidate most Clinton supporters want to face Hillary, speaking volumes about their expectations of his popularity and performance.
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