George W. Bush left Iraq in pretty good shape, only for President Obama to mess it all up, according to Jeb Bush. The candidate, speaking at a national security forum in Iowa yesterday, continued to defend his brother's war record, arguing that "taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal," Bloomberg reports. He blamed the rise of ISIS on Obama's failure to strike a deal for US troops to stay in the country after 2011 and said that under the Bush administration, the "mission was accomplished" regarding Iraq's security. "That is a fact," he said. "You can't rewrite history in that regard."
Bush said the 2007 troop surge was a courageous move but that chaos occurred when the next administration "declared success" and washed their hands of the effort, reports Politico, which notes that 17 of his 21 foreign policy advisers served under George W. Bush. The candidate, who admitted months ago that he wouldn't have invaded Iraq knowing what we know now, said mistakes were made after the invasion and that he and his brother now believe disbanding Iraq's military was an error. He also refused to rule out lifting Obama's ban on torture, telling the forum he didn't want to make a "definitive, blanket kind of statement," the AP reports. (This week, Bush used Iraq to attack Clinton.)