Jeb Bush on War & Peace

Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect


OpEd: Not distancing himself from brother's Afghan policy

On 5 talk shows Sunday morning, Jeb Bush reminded America why he'll never be president: it's hard to distance yourself from your own last name. "I don't think there's any Bush baggage at all," Jeb said; adding that "history will be kind to George W. Bush."

To seriously challenge for the presidency, a Republican will have to pointedly distance himself from Jeb's older brother: acknowledging that George W. Bush squandered the budget surplus he inherited. No Republican will be able to promise foreign-policy competence unless he or she acknowledges the Bush administration's disastrous mismanagement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It won't be enough for a candidate merely to keep his or her distance from W: Romney tried that and failed. To seriously compete, the next Republican candidate for president will have to repudiate key aspects of Bush's legacy. Jeb Bush would find that excruciatingly hard even if he wanted to. And as his interviews Sunday make clear, he doesn't event want to try.

Source: Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast , Mar 11, 2013

God grants liberty only to ready to defend it

Last month, we welcomed home almost 2,000 soldiers of the Florida National Guard from the war on terror. Some won't make it home. It has been said, "God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to defend it." Because of the thousands who continue the fight, America will always be free.

We must acknowledge the great debt we owe patriots like [our lost soldiers]. We should honor their service by ensuring that our actions, both in and out of this chamber, are worthy of their sacrifice. We must serve this state as honorably and effectively as they serve this country. I believe we are on the right path.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature , Mar 2, 2004

Jeb Bush on Mideast

Policy of containment against ISIS just doesn't work

TRUMP: We're supporting troops [in Syria against ISIS] that we don't even know who they are.

BUSH: The lack of leadership in this country by Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, thinking that the policy of containment with ISIS works. It's a complete disaster. They're not attempting to take out ISIS. They're attacking the troops that we're supporting. We need to create a Sunni-led coalition on the ground with our special operators to destroy ISIS. You can't do that with Assad in power.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

No-fly zone in Syria; arm Kurds; establish Sunni coalition

Q: How is your strategy to defeat ISIS any faster or more effective than the current one?

BUSH: I would say a no-fly zone, creating safe zones in Syria, directly arming the Kurds in Iraq, reengaging both politically and militarily with the Sunnis - the Sunni tribal leaders who were effective partners in the creation of the surge. Have our troops be embedded with the Iraqi military. But, basically, all of this needs to be a strategy, not just one-off kind of incremental decisions being made by this president who wants to run out the clock. The strategy ought to be, how do we destroy ISIS and how do we create stability in the aftermath? And, right now, we have neither.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 29, 2015

Send troops to Syria to then remain to maintain stability

Q: One of the things the president has said is that his military advisers have told him that if you were going to put U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq, they would have to stay as an occupational force. Is that wrong?

BUSH: I think it is wrong. I think that had we kept a small force in Iraq, we wouldn't have the mess that we have right now.

Q: You want troops to go in, but then everybody agrees there need to be some kind of stability afterwards. If 10,000 was a good sustaining force in Iraq after all the activities, but this is a totally new adventure, it would seem that upwards of 10,000 troops would be necessary for the kind of engagement you're talking about.

BUSH: If I'm commander in chief, my first order is, give me options, and if the military says that we need a fighting force of X- thousand, and this is the best way to destroy ISIS, then I would take that under advisement for sure.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 29, 2015

Declare a war in Syria, take out ISIS and Assad

Q: Our coalition partners like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, they care more about getting rid of Assad than they do in dealing with ISIS. Should the United States pause on getting rid of Assad?

BUSH: No, I think we need to do both. We should declare war and harness all of the power that the United States can bring to bear both diplomatic and military, of course, to be able to take out ISIS. We need to declare a no-fly zone over Syria. Directly arm the Peshmerga forces in Iraq. Build up the Syrian Free Army. Re-engage with the Sunni tribal leaders. Embed with the Iraqi military. Be able to create safe zones in Syria. Garner the support of our European allies and the traditional Arab states. This a threat to Western civilization and we should consider it that way.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 15, 2015

Best way to defeat terrorist ideology is to destroy ISIS

Q: The French president says we are at war [with radical ideology after the Paris terrorist attacks]. How do you defeat an ideology?

BUSH: You take it to them in Syria & Iraq. You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country & to Europe & to the region with something that is more peace loving. We have to be engaged. This is not something you can contain. Each day that ISIS exists, it gains new energy and more recruits around the world.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 15, 2015

NATO should consider declaring war on ISIS

Q: The pope called the Paris massacre part of World War III. President of France Hollande called it an act of war.˙Should NATO invoke Article V, an attack on one is an attack on all, and declare war on ISIS?˙

BUSH: I think the president should convene the North American Council to discuss that. And I do think that it's worthy of consideration, for sure. If that's what the French want, as our longest and strongest and most loyal ally over our entire history, we should certainly consider it. Our hearts go out to the people of Paris and to France. This is the second time they have had an atrocious act of terror in their country. We need to show complete solidarity with them.˙

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 15, 2015

War is the only option in Syria, to take out Caliphate

Q: What do you tell an American public who says, "You know what, the Iraq War, Afghanistan, we've had a lot of blood and nothing's changed in the Middle East. We've tried intervention, we've tried toppling dictators, we've tried nation building. None of it has worked. What do you tell the American public?

BUSH: I tell the American public that a caliphate the size of Indiana garners strength each and every day if it's not taken out. 30,000 to 40,000 battle-tested soldiers that are organized to destroy our way of life. We have to be in this fight. There is no other option. And this threat can be contained, but more importantly, it'll never die unless it's destroyed. The policy of containment isn't going to work.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 15, 2015

We should have a no fly zone in Syria

Q: Donald Trump says we should let Putin "knock the hell out of ISIS" in Syria.

BUSH: Let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? That's not how the real world works. We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. They are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you're a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you're going to be beheaded. And, if you're a moderate Islamist, you're not going to be able to survive either. We have to play a role in this be able to bring the rest of the world to this issue before it's too late.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels--nobody even knows who they are.

Carly FIORINA: Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

When we pulled back in Iraq, ISIS filled the void

When we pull back, voids are created. We left Iraq. We should've had an agreement to stay there with a small force, and instead of that, we politically and militarily pulled back, and now we have the creation of ISIS. 36 days ago in this very library, I gave a speech with a comprehensive strategy how to take out ISIS, and it requires American leadership and engagement. We don't have to be the world's policemen. But we certainly have to be the world's leader.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

To honor those who died in Iraq, take out ISIS & stop Iran

Q: To the families of those who died in the Iraq war who say they liberated and deposed a ruthless dictator, how do you look at them now and say that your brother's war was a mistake?

BUSH: I wouldn't have gone in; however, for the people that did lose their lives, and the families that suffer because of it--I know this full well because as governor of the state of Florida, I called every one of them. Every one of them that I could find to tell them that I was praying for them, that I cared about them, this: To honor the people that died, we need to stop the Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Iraq invasion was a mistake; but now we can't abandon them

Q: You struggled to answer a question about whether knowing what we know now, we would've invaded Iraq. You finally said, "No." Was your brother's war was a mistake?

BUSH: Knowing what we know now, with faulty intelligence, and not having security be the first priority when we invaded, it was a mistake. When Obama became president, he abandoned Iraq. When he left Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Add a new U.S. base in Iraq's Anbar province

On Islamic State and Iraq:Bush told CBS' "Face the Nation" he would embed U.S. military trainers with Iraqi troops and that he believes the Islamic State group can be defeated without the use of American ground troops. At the same time, he has not ruled adding to the 3,000 to 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq now. The Republican hopeful said he would form a strategy with White House advisors and look to the "long haul." The former governor has endorsed the idea of adding a new U.S. base in Iraq's Anbar province. After a series of questions about his brother's decision to go to war, Jeb Bush said that in hindsight he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 15, 2015

On Palestine: Israel won't sacrifice when she is threatened

Conducting the foreign policy of a great nation requires maturity and a strategic sense of America's long-term interests. With Israel, those interests lie in a firm alliance. A state for the Palestinian people, side by side with Israel, will be possible only if the Palestinian people are represented by leaders committed to delivering on the promises made at the negotiating table. Ultimately, the most fruitful efforts for peace come in moments when America's word is trusted and America's commitment is certain. Anyone who claims to pursue peace in the region--especially between Israel and her neighbors--must know that Israel will make no sacrifices for peace when she feels threatened.

The future success of American foreign policy in the Middle East-- and the world--will require a fresh approach. One that takes to heart the realities of the region. One that rebuilds the friendships we once enjoyed. One that reminds our enemies of our determination.

Source: Jeb Bush opinion piece in National Review , Mar 25, 2015

Non-state terrorists are greatest threat we now face

Last week, as former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida sought to distance himself from his brother's foreign policy record at a speech in Chicago, he found himself embracing the sort of muscular engagement that had characterized the 43rd president's administration.

The former Florida governor called non-state terrorist groups such as the Islamic State "perhaps the greatest security threat that we now face for our own homeland."

He added, "Taking them out is the strategy."

Source: N. Y. Times 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 25, 2015

OpEd: Supports 2003 Iraq invasion even with current evidence

Democrats have long blamed George W. Bush with a failed execution of the Iraq war. "If you thought George Bush made the world less safe, then you're going to really hate Jeb Bush's approach," said a Democratic National Committee spokesman. "Even with the benefit of hindsight, he's one of the few people left who still stands by the decision to rush into a war in Iraq based on false information, even when it took resources away from the hunt for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

Over the course of his brother's presidency, Bush frequently expressed support for the war. As the Iraq conflict began in 2003, he [said of his brother] "in his heart, I know he is doing what he thinks is right, and I concur with him." He visited Iraq with other Republican governors in April 2006 to visit US troops. Nearing the 10th anniversary of the start of the war, Bush said that "history will be kind to my brother, the further out you get from this and the more people compare his tenure to what's going on now."

Source: Wash. Post 2015 profiles of 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 16, 2015

ISIS's rise is because world has no clue where US will be

Jeb Bush directly blamed the rise of ISIS forces and other Mideast crises on a widespread lack of trust in Pres. Obama's statements. "A president's word matters," Bush said. "Language matters. The use of their bully pulpit matters. So when you say things like, 'We're gonna have a red line,' you need to mean it," Bush said.

Bush was referring to Obama's declaration in August 2012 that Syria's use of chemical weapons would cross "a red line for us," necessitating US military intervention. Obama reneged on that commitment following Syria's apparent actual use of such weapons a year later, claiming "I didn't set a red line; the world set a red line."

"Presidents need to accept responsibility for their language," Bush said. "The problem in America today is that our friends have no clue where we will be, and so they change their behavior." By contrast, he said, "our enemies have a clue where we will be and they change their behaviors as well. And so these voids are created and bad things happen."

Source: Theodore Kettle on Newsmax.com, "Rise of ISIS" , Oct 31, 2014

Over time, people will respect our resolve in Iraq

Q: We're coming up on the ten-year anniversary of the war in Iraq which is widely seen in public opinion polls as a mistake. Do you think that will ever change?

BUSH: Yes. You know, a lot of things in history change over time. I think people will respect the resolve that my brother showed, both in defending the country and the war in Iraq. But history will judge that in a more objective way than today. The war has wound down now and it's still way too early to judge what success it had in providing some degree of stability in the region.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 10, 2013

Encourage regime change in Iran; keep military option open

Military options must be left on the table to force Iran's leaders to abandon their nuclear ambitions, according to Jeb Bush. The US should be much more assertive in encouraging regime change there as well, he said.

Bush said that not maintaining the viable prospect of US military action "empowers bad behavior in Tehran amongst its leaders." Bush criticized the Obama administration for failing to encourage internal resistance to Iran's mullahs. Iran's theocrats have subjected the "green movement" protesters to a series of brutal crackdowns.

"I think we need to be much more aggressive in supporting civil opposition to the regime in Iran," Bush said. "I was saddened to see how the Obama administration handled the post-election revolution on the streets. It seemed like we were very tepid, at a time when we should forcefully support freedom. It's part of who we are as a nation, and I think we should embrace this noble notion: If not for the United States, who? Who will be there to help?"

Source: David A. Patten and Kathleen Walter on Newsmax.com , Nov 29, 2010

1998: Declined to call for invading Iraq to depose Saddam

Jeb's views on, say, the 3rd World debt crisis or the appropriateness of the World Court are a blank slate. That said, there are clear clues as to how Jeb would handle foreign affairs.

Jeb supported the covert American effort to supply the right-wing militias making up the Nicaraguan contras in the mid-1980s. He has long supported the overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba. In 1997, he signed onto the Project for a New American Century, a group that included many of the neoconservative architects of the Iraq invasion, which called for a "Reaganite" foreign policy of military strength and "moral clarity"--although in 1998, the year he was running a second time for Florida governor, he was not a signatory to the group's call to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.328 , Feb 15, 2007

Easy to criticize Iraq war after the fact

Under top security, Gov. Jeb Bush spent Easter in Iraq with troops from Florida, reuniting with 338 Florida National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq. Bush’s surprise visit comes at a time of mounting discontent about the handling of the war effort by his brother, George W. Bush. Jeb Bush said: “In a mission this ambitious, and this extensive, is it possible that mistakes were made? Of course it is. After the fact, it’s easy to harp and to criticize, and, frankly, people have the right to do it.”
Source: Steve Bousquet in St. Petersburg Times, “Visit Troops” , Apr 15, 2006

Jeb Bush on Vietnam

1971: Registered for draft but never got drafted

For years, students entering college could count on getting a deferment from military service in Vietnam until they graduated. But after complaints that too many college students were able to avoid serving, Nixon changed the Selective Service policy so that students entering college in the fall of 1971--which would include Bush--could not count on getting an educational deferment. A few weeks after graduation from Phillips Academy and before entering college, on July 16, 1971, Bush filled out an index card on which he registered for the draft. On the line requesting a contact, he listed "Amb. George H. W. Bush, New York City."

Bush received a draft number of 26 on a calendar-based scale that went to 365, earning him a "1A" classification that meant he likely would have been drafted if the war continued at full pace. But he avoided such a fate because the war was winding down--a fact for which some credit was due those of his generation who participated in protests that he had refused to join.

Source: Boston Globe profiles of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2015

1971: Ambivalent about Vietnam, but would have served

Bush's mother, Barbara Bush, once said that Jeb had considered declaring himself a conscientious objector, adding that the family would have backed such a decision. Bush said in the interview that he was "ambivalent" about the Vietnam War, and stood by a previous comment that he was "probably against" it, a view that he noted was shared by many of his peers. But he said he never considered being a conscientious objector: "I registered; I would have gone; I got the physical. I was declared 1A, and the draft was eliminated," Bush said. Asked how voters considering him as a potential commander-in-chief might view his less-than-enthusiastic view of serving in Vietnam, Bush urged that it be seen in the context of that war and that time. "I was 18," he said. "I'm 61 years old now." Unlike his brother George, who was a member of the National Guard from 1968 to 1974, Bush didn't volunteer for any kind of military service.
Source: Boston Globe profiles of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2015

Opposed Vietnam War; considered Conscientious Objection

He was a millionaire by the time he was 35, but he doesn't much care about money except for its ability to bring him the two things he does crave: power, and the thrill of winning it. He opposed the Vietnam War, to the point that he seriously considered registering as a conscientious objector rather than submitting to the draft--but nevertheless has received the same electoral support of the active and retired military traditionally enjoyed by his family.
Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 3 , Feb 15, 2007

Disliked Andover because of Vietnam-era campus turmoil

Jeb actively chose a different path than his father. After Andover, which he disliked because of the Vietnam-era campus turmoil that marked his time there, Jeb went to the University of Texas for college, ostensibly to be closer to the Mexican girl he had met during an Andover program his senior year. Upon graduating, Jeb chose the banking business, spending 5 years at Texas Commerce Bank, including 2 at the bank's Venezuela branch in Caracas. After coming home in 1979 to work on his dad's unsuccessful run for president, Jeb settled in Miami--again, to escape his father's shadow in Texas--and got into real estate, a business his father had never entered.
Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 74 , Feb 15, 2007

1971: Troubled by LBJ's Vietnam, but registered to serve

The flames of 1968 seemingly had no effect on George W. Jeb wasn't so sure.

The fact of it was, Jeb was deeply troubled by Vietnam and Johnson's handling of it. So troubled, in fact, that in the coming years, not only did he not sign right up to join the infantry but instead he was seriously considering filing for conscientious objector status, and wanted to run it past his dad.

To George H. W. Bush's credit, and notwithstanding his later, withering criticism of those who did not fight, he told Jeb that he would support whatever decision he made. George said, 'Whatever you decide, I will back you 100%.'"

In late 1971, Jeb, a lanky 18-year-old with hair longer than his parents might have liked, decided to back his father's political career. He went to Houston to get his physical. Had Nixon & Congress not wound down the draft, Jeb would likely have been called up. So he can argue that although he wrestled with the prospects of fighting in a war, in the end he did the right thing by his country.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.332-334 , Feb 15, 2007

1972: considered conscientious objector status

In 1972 Jeb, then 18, had pulled a low lottery number in the draft--number 26--and he told his parents that he was thinking of becoming a conscientious objector. As Barbara Bush recounted in 1984, "George said, `Whatever you decide, I will do. I will back you 100%.'" But the family was spared its crisis. The draft for Vietnam ended one day before Jeb, who had already passed his physical, might have been called. When Jeb ran for governor of Florida years later, he disputed his mother's recollection.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.240 , Sep 14, 2004

Extend international order friendly to our security.

Bush signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

Conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests? Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

  1. we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
  2. we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
  3. we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
  4. we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-WP on Jun 3, 1997

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