Jeb Bush was speaking in Chicago on Wednesday at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, in what is likely his most important speech to date. He was laying out his vision for America’s foreign policy future when he made some startling comments about the war in Iraq, in what was likely a move to separate himself from the legacy of his father and older brother President’s George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Let’s go to Iraq. There were mistakes made in Iraq, for sure. Using intelligence information capability that everybody embraced, about weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to be accurate.
Not creating an environment of security after the successful taking out of Hussein was a mistake. because Iraqis wanted security more than anything else. But my brother’s administration, through the Surge — one of the most courageous acts of any president, because there was no support for this, it was hugely successful and created the stability that when the new president came in, he could have built on to create a fragile but more secure situation. That would have not been created if we hadn’t allowed the void to be filled. The void can be filled because we created the void.
So the lesson is engagement, whether it has to be the United States, it doesn’t.
When you have a failed state or a weak state and you leave, the first thing that happened, Maliki turned, it was fragile, to Iran. Iran’s influence has replaced the United States’s in a significant way. So if you’re serious about protecting the status of nation/states, you have to be bale to protect their integrity.
ISIS did not exist 3 or 4 years ago. In fact, the guy who is the Supreme Leader, whatever the title is, head of the caliphate, he was in a prison in southern Iraq.