Election 2016

Did Jeb Bush Misunderstand a Question About Whether He Would Have Authorized the Iraq War? Does It Matter?

The younger Bush is still aligned with the decisions made by his brother's administration.


Gage Skidmore

In an interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly last night, former Florida governor and likely presidential contender Jeb Bush said that even knowing all that we now know, he would have authorized the invasion in Iraq that occurred under his brother, President George W. Bush.

Did Jeb Bush mean exactly what he seems to have said? Maybe not. On CNN this morning, Ana Navarro, who served as an aide to Jeb Bush in Florida and who remains close to the former governor, said that, in an email today, Jeb told her that he misheard the question.

Based on his answer, it seems possible that he thought he was answering a question about whether he would have made the same decision knowing only what was known at the time. That certainly seems to be his emphasis. 

Kelly asked: "Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?" 

"I would have," Bush responded. "And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody," he added. "And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got." [Emphasis added.]

Bush has yet to comment officially on the story, but I'm not sure how much it really matters. Regardless of exactly how he attempts to position himself on the Iraq war going forward, his history of enthusiastic cheerleading for the invasion and all that it stood for is quite clear.

Jeb Bush was an early backer of the sort of bellicose foreign policy posturing that would heavily influence his brother's administration. As a National Journal report on Iraq and the Bush family notes, Jeb Bush, along with Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld, signed on to the Project For a New American Century's statement of principles in 1997, and in doing so positioned himself as a backer of the group's hawkish outlook on foreign policy and international affairs.

Bush, who was running for governor of Florida, didn't sign on to the group's 1998 letter calling for war in Iraq, but once in the governor's office, he didn't stay entirely mum on foreign policy either. As National Journal notes….

Bush won that election, and as governor of Florida never had to vote on the Iraq war. He never had to formally endorse or disavow the invasion or troop levels or any other aspect of that conflict—but he did so anyway, providing unqualified support for his brother's decisions, even when the war began to drag on, public support began to fall, and more and more National Guard troops began to see repeated deployments.

In 2006, in his final year as governor, Bush traveled to Iraq and Kuwait along with other governors over Easter weekend, part of an effort by his brother's administration to shore up support for the war. At the time, more than 300 Florida Army National Guard troops were stationed in Iraq, and more than 100 Floridians had already died there.

In a conference call with reporters from Baghdad at the time, Bush praised the enthusiasm of the troops and defended the conduct of the war. "In a mission this ambitious, and this extensive, is it possible that mistakes were made? Of course it is," he said.

Last night, Jeb Bush referred again to mistakes in the Iraq war campaign, acknowledging some of the specific failures of the war effort. But then he circled back to defend his brother. "By the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well? George W. Bush," he said, before adding: "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 important takeaway here is that Jeb Bush, who has long been a backer of the school of thought that served as the primary intellectual cheerleader for the Iraq war, wishes people to know that he remains essentially aligned with his brother's presidency on matters related to Iraq. Regardless of what question he thought he heard, that's telling enough.

NEXT: Jack Davies Interviews the Founder of Liberland

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  1. Go ahead Reason, keep talking about Jeb. Still not voting for him.

    1. Yeah….they are getting to be like Drudge was back in the day with Jon Huntsman….the only ones talking about him.

      1. They go on benders for this or that candidate. It will be like 12 posts a day on Jeb for a week or two and then the same on Walker or someone else.

  2. Does Jeb Bush not want to win the election? Because he seems to purposefully be taking positions that make it very unlikely. “I’m just like George Bush” is not exactly a winning message in a general election.

    1. I have a theory that Jeb and Hillary made a bet to see who could deliver the biggest ‘fuck you’ to voters and still become president.

      1. Worked for Obama, twice.

      2. Example, Obama just rammed his cock deep… deeeep into the ass of his environmentalist supporters.

        Deep. DEEEEEEP.

          1. I’m shocked Reason hasn’t covered this. I don’t even give a shit about the hat tip. This is pretty big news.

            1. I’m shocked Reason hasn’t covered this. I don’t even give a shit about the hat tip. This is pretty big news.

              I posted something about it the other day how the “kayaktivist” and other environmentalists are going to cause the very thing they say they are trying to prevent – a nasty spill. It is a pretty big deal, Shell has been fighting for the right to drill since 2008.

              1. The Kayaking story was definitely good for local lulz. City council members posturing by joining in their kayaks made of petrochemicals. Mayor driving in his SUV that runs on unicorn farts saying that “Oil isn’t the industry of the future, and we want to support the industries of the future”.

            2. But drilling is so *penetrative* – we have such a rape culture when it comes to Mother Nature!

    2. “Does Jeb Bush not want to win the election?”

      Don’t listen to what the man says, Irish, listen only to Megyn and the other pundits telling you how much of THE Frontrunner he is or will be.

      This is only slightly off topic, but I wanted to read some of my fellow commentators’ opinions about this article: “On foreign policy, it’s Rand Paul vs. the loonies of both parties” http://www.nj.com/opinion/inde…..es_of.html

      1. Never read anything by that author before, but he seems to have a sane logical view of American foreign policy. To many politicians and reporters only focus on the stated intentions of their foreign policy views. They completely ignore the results that come about because of their policies and act like they didn’t help cause them.

  3. When I run 2020 and answer all questions with, “no, fuck you, cut spending.” I’m going to use this walkback often. I misunderstood the question.

    1. “What I really meant to say was ‘fuck off, slaver!'”

      1. You’re on the short list to run my campaign.

        1. I could be a spokescritter, sure.

    2. Obviously what he really meant to say was “Abortions for some. Tiny American flags for others.”

  4. Megyn Kelly is so hot and so average in every other way. It is not that she is dumb. It is more that she just isn’t that smart and it is more obvious that usual that she is where she is because of her rather formidable looks.

    1. Misogynist.


      1. She has a ton of conservative fan boys on Facebook. I love to troll them by pointing out she owes her entire career to her looks. God, do they get butt hurt over it. “But she is one of ours, she is brilliant. Like to see you host a TV Show…”

        1. It does take a certain amount of talent and intelligence to be quick on your feet while broadcasting live. If she didn’t have a face for television she may well have had a successful career as a syndicated radio host.

          1. She is not dumb. She just isn’t as smart as she and her fan boys think she is.

            1. I’ve never met any of her fanboys, so I wouldn’t know.

          2. Oh, hell, how smart do you have to be to be one of the leftwing bimbos that dominate the field? Sure , they all know the Leftwing Narrative drill, but they seldom get called on it.

            1. Left wingers don’t have to be smart because their audience considers personal attacks to be compelling arguments. All they have to do is call someone names when they start to lose an argument, rather than debate the merits of an issue.

              People on the right tend to look more at principles than principals, which require much more intelligence to argue effectively.

        2. I can only imagine.

        3. Like to see you host a TV Show…”

          Trust me, you really wouldn’t.

          Sure, I’ve got the dashing good looks an impeccable style sense, but my interviewing approach would probably traverse the spectrum between “hostile” and “implacable”, with occasional diversions into “mocking”. Regardless of which TEAM the guest/victim belonged to.

    2. I don’t know. Megyn Kelly taking a dump on Bill O’Reilly’s chest over his idiotic reaction to the Garland shooting was pretty great. She seems pretty smart and is a fucking genius by the standards of late night political talk shows.

      1. Megyn Kelly taking a dump on Bill O’Reilly’s chest

        You had to light the Warty signal, didn’t you?

    3. Holy God, Megyn Kelly is 44 years old with three kids.

      Whatever her secret is, humanity needs it.

      1. If Kelly were smart, and that’s a big if, she would be better off leaving Fox, letting Hugh Hefner pay her BIG money to pose for Playboy, and go off quietly into the sunset. As it stands now, she’s only embarrassing herself.

        But then again, they let O’Reilly have a show and he embarrass himself nightly.

        Of course, after having three kids, posing for Playboy probably isn’t an option, is it?

    4. You seem to think that if she was as smart as she is hot, in the same position that she wouldn’t have still gotten hired for just her looks. I mean, her job is a TV host, not a computer engineer.

      1. Sure. But I have never seen her say anything that was that smart or interesting. Sorry, beating up on Bill O”Reilly is hardly impressing. There are some really good looking women who are also very smart. Kelly is just not one of them but thinks she is. And that is what is annoying about her.

  5. Speaking of violating sovereign boundaries without consent, here’s the latest chapter of the Jackie rape saga.

    “A University of Virginia associate dean of students filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone on Tuesday, alleging that the magazine portrayed her as callous and indifferent to allegations of sexual assault on campus and made her the university’s “chief villain” in a now-debunked story about a fraternity gang rape.

    Nicole Eramo is seeking more than $7.5 million in damages from Rolling Stone, its parent company Wenner Media and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the investigative journalist who wrote the explosive account of sexual assault on the campus in Charlottesville, Va. The magazine retracted the story after news organizations and the Columbia University journalism school found serious flaws in it.”

    HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHA. Oh, man. Rolling Stone is going to be so fucked.

  6. GWB
    GWB 2.0 (Obama)
    GWB 3.0 (Jeb)
    Who wouldn’t want that?
    Forward, America!

    1. GWB 3.0 (Hillary)


      1. I see it working either way.

    2. “Our country is on the edge of a precipice, and I suggest it’s time to take a giant step forward!”

  7. A University of Virginia associate dean of students filed a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone

    What could be better than a feeding frenzy among Team Social Justice?

    1. I hope she wins.

      She’ll need the money when she has to pay damages as the loser in the libel suit brought against her.

  8. “I’m just like George Bush” is not exactly a winning message in a general election.

    Hey, If Romney had run on that platform, he’d be President, now!
    You can’t prove me wrong, so I win.

  9. Both Megyn Kelly and Jeb Bush are a couple of idiots. The question was as plainly stated as a question can be:

    “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

    When Jeb said, “And so would have Hillary Clinton.” Kelly should have questioned that answer. Most assuredly, neither Hillary or anybody else in their right mind would have authorized the invasion knowing what we know now. Hell, it wasn’t even justified knowing what they thought they knew then.

    And I thought only W was capable of that trademark deer-in-the-headlights look.

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