Jeb Bush comes full-circle on Iraq invasion

May 14, 2015

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks at a town hall meeting in Tempe, Arizona May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Deanna Dent

Republican Jeb Bush reversed course and said that based on information now known, had it been up to him he would not have waged war against Iraq, putting some distance between himself and his brother, former President George W. Bush.

Bush, who is expected to run for the Republican nomination for president, told Fox News in an interview broadcast this week that he would have authorized the invasion, referring to the drive into Iraq ordered by his brother in 2003.

But on Thursday, after a week of criticism, Bush revisited the issue at a town hall event in Tempe, a suburb of Phoenix, saying, “Knowing what we know now, I would have not engaged, I would have not gone into Iraq.”

Bush’s earlier comment fed a notion that there is little difference between him and his brother. George W. Bush left office in 2009 with his popularity weakened by the Iraq war and a faltering U.S. economy. Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, later said he misinterpreted the question.

In Arizona, where he also is due to speak to the Republican National Committee, Bush said he had been reluctant to speak his mind about the invasion because as governor, he had called relatives of military personnel killed in Iraq.

“It’s very hard for me to say that their lives were lost in vain,” he said. “In fact, they weren’t. We have the greatest military on the face of the earth.”

Jeb Bush has repeatedly said he would be “my own man” if elected president, but he has struggled to deal with questions involving George W. Bush’s war legacy.

Read the Full Story


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

“.. Knowing what we know now..” – sounds familiar.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

I think that he was just misunderestimating the question. A common error.

Posted by S.McNeely | Report as abusive

“…based on information now known…” Kind of pointless to even make this disclaimer. Chances are, we would not know what we now know had we not invaded Iraq.

Posted by chaemeleo | Report as abusive

Anyone who thinks this guy isn’t a clear and present danger obviously hasn’t been paying attention to the Bush family legacy. This is an oil family that represents oil interests and all they know is war and sending our young men and women to die.

Of course he will say he wouldn’t invade after such a clear backlash. He is a politician, and politicians will say whatever they think will get them elected. Of course, they have an agenda, and no matter what they “say” they will do once they get into office they will do what their interests want. Which are, once again, wars for energy dominance and maximum profits for the defense and energy sectors paid for with the blood of the innocent both at home and abroad.

Stop the insanity.

Posted by GuyAbraham | Report as abusive

Stupid does run in the family , seems like another Romney flipfloping every chance he gets

Posted by Tolly | Report as abusive

The flaw in the hypothetical is its false premise that the faulty intelligence meant Saddam was innocent and a non-threat. Iraq was in fact guilty of breaching the disarmament and terrorism mandates of UNSCR 687 and a threat. To help answer the question of “what we now know”, see “Saddam: What We Now Know” by Jim Lacey, citing to the Iraq Survey Group (re WMD) and the Iraqi Perspectives Project (re terrorism): 7115/saddam-what-we-now-know-jim-lacey

Governor Bush’s error when talking about President Bush’s decision for Operation Iraqi Freedom is emphasizing the “mistaken” or “faulty” intelligence while ignoring the range of reasons in the law, policy, and facts underlying the decision for OIF that survive the controversy over the pre-war intelligence.

For the record, explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom: 05/operation-iraqi-freedom-faq.html

Posted by EricLC | Report as abusive

Zero hindsight was required for knowing that Saddam, under our thumb for a decade, presented no notable threat to the U.S. (certainly not a threat even close to requiring an all-out invasion), and for realizing that any invasion was doomed to quagmire given sectarian divisions, not to mention our Army’s intent to disassociate themselves from the word “occupation”.

Anyone pretending otherwise is just that … shamefully pretending.

More than two million people suffered or are suffering as a result of George’s, Hillary’s, Jeb’s, etc., etc. dumbass war and its needless consequences, however much Jeb would like to pretend tens of thousands of people did not die in vain.

It would or will be very difficult for me to support the absent-a-moral-foundation Hillary, but Jeb’s even harder given the chance of him appointing another Scalitomas, and now with his recent support for the Iraq debacle (which is not to say Hillary’s support for the bloodletting, however nuanced, is in any way more acceptable).

Posted by nln | Report as abusive

Well, I think he is lying. First of all, he was on the PNAC committee, the neocon committee, that called for a new Pearl Harbor and we got a new Pearl Harbor. This man new about 9/11 ahead of time. If you believe this Rothschild demon you will just further the cause of warmongering.

Posted by bgamall | Report as abusive

Point is he didn’t vote to go into Iraq because he was a Governor not a Congressional Representative in 2004.

Now, how about that Democratic candidate named Hillary? Oh that’s right, she voted for the use of force. She was for it before she was against it and her vote actually counted.

So who is to blame here between the two candidates?

Posted by Bdy2010 | Report as abusive

How about, instead of letting such a bad decision result in us “knowing what we know now”, just doing all of the up front research and taking stock of the consequences before making a decision of that magnitude? If you want to be be president, be ready to answer to how you’ll make decisions going forward not how those decisions should be made after the consequences have already revealed the massive sacrifices. We don’t need another “oops, my bad” president.

Posted by sentient02970 | Report as abusive

Jeb Bush comes full-circle on Iraq invasion: In other words: He doesn’t know his behind from a hole in the ground. Enough said. This guy has the IQ of a rock

Posted by linebacker | Report as abusive

My brother was wrong but I didn’t think it at the time! so please vote for me in 2016 LOL

Posted by Saxson | Report as abusive