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Much is being made of Jeb Bush’s mishearing of Megyn Kelly’s question on Fox News whether “knowing what we know now” would he have invaded Iraq? Brit Hume’s analysis (IMO) is just right: Bush had a particular point he wanted to make about the intelligence failures (and Hillary’s support for the war) and was looking for an opportunity to make it. He just picked the wrong question to use for that point.
But all of this begs the question of what his response should have been. Were I in Jeb’s position, I would have said something more like:
When you say ‘knowing what we know now’ what is it that we now know? That the WMD threat was not as great as thought, or that having actually eliminated Saddam Hussein and brought relative stability to Iraq Obama would throw it all away? If it is the latter, the answer is clearly ‘no’. And, I think my brother would agree with me.
But if the question is the former, we have to recall that the WMDs — although the focus of the critics of the war — were not the sole reason for the war. When you look at a two-decade arc of what was going on in the region from the 1980s to the 2000s Hussein was a terror, an evil, and a destabilizing force. His removal and our military involvement represented an opportunity for stability that was subsequently abandoned. Events such as the ‘Arab Spring’ have demonstrated that American retreat in the world leads to more harm than good. Viewed in this context, the answer to your question is that I would have invaded, done a better job of standing up a stable government in Iraq, and secured a presence to maintain stability rather than abandoning Iraq to the malign embrace of ISIS and Iran.
What do you think?Published in