The same as my brother? No, I am not, I could not be. This is what Jeb Bush must have thought when he wound up under attack for his comment on the U.S. war in Iraq. And so, he tried to distance himself from the former president. A difficult balancing game that, if it goes forward, could create more than a few problems for him, forcing him to put energy into defending his brother’s choices (or to get away from his brand, but without exaggerating) instead of explaining his own solutions for America.
It all started during a Fox News interview (See the video).
“Yes, I would have authorized the 2003 invasion,” said without hesitation the former Florida governor, who is about to become a candidate (he still has not declared it officially) for the Republican primaries before the 2016 presidential election. Immediately, the Democrats launched an attack, accusing him of being like his brother, meaning a “war monger.”
Now, after having explained that his position was misinterpreted, he is changing his tune. Having participated in an event in the city of Tempe, Arizona, Jeb Bush wanted to clarify his position.
“Knowing what we know now … I would have not gone to Iraq,” he said. (See the video ).
The resulting problem? It would have been very easy to get by like this. The topic is thorny, a true mine field. Jeb Bush cannot show himself to be too defeated by his brother’s positions, but on the other hand, he also cannot distance himself too much as he risks alienating a large part of the electorate on the right. In sum, he needs to disentangle himself through the difficult work of a juggler, in the hopes that the subject will soon fade into the background. But for his adversaries, the opportunity was (and is) too delicious to let go of the chance to attack him. And we are not only talking about the Democrats.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (another potential candidate for the Republican nomination), distinguished himself from Jeb Bush, saying “I think President Bush made the best decision he could at the time, given that his intelligence community was telling him that there was WMD and that there were other threats right there in Iraq. But I don’t think you could honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD that the country should have gone to war.”
Even the Republican candidates for the primaries, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio wanted to clarify that the Iraq invasion would not have been ratified if they had known that the information provided by intelligence was wrong.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush was forced to defend himself from a violent verbal attack hurled against him by a Nevada university student: “Your brother created ISIS,” shouted Ivy Ziedrich in his face. And then she stayed hot on his heels, “Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism?”
Jeb Bush responded, “We respectfully disagree. We have a disagreement … Look, you can rewrite history all you want. But the simple fact is that we are in a much more unstable place because American pulled back” (See the video).
Hillary Clinton fittingly stays to the side, preferring to avoid getting involved in the Republican row, guarding herself from touching the issue. She has only to gain from her rivals’ arguments, even if, sooner or later, even the former Secretary of State will be presented with the log of her foreign policy.