Am I the only one who remembers PNAC? Jeb Bush was one of the original signers of PNAC’s Statement of Principals back in 1997, which declared:
• 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;
• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
• 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.
In 1998, these are the geniuses who sent this now-infamous letter to President Clinton advocating regime change in Iraq. They were convinced, as early as January 1998 (in truth, well before), that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and would destabilize the Middle East and the West’s access to its precious oil reserves unless he were removed from power. They wrote:
The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.
We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.
This was five years before our invasion of Iraq. They were focused like a laser on one thing and one thing only. The idea that “all of the intelligence agencies got it wrong” is such laughable bullshit. The entire Neocon-chickenhawk foreign policy apparatus behind George W. Bush had an agenda they’d been pushing for years, and that apparatus included his brother, Jeb. There was no “oops, we were given the wrong intel.” It was, “we’ve had this plan in the works for years and now we finally get to implement it!” Any “intel” that was used was cherry-picked to pre-select that which agreed with their agenda so they could justify their actions to the rest of the world.
So please, news media. Stop pretending Jeb just “flubbed a question.” You guys are getting it wrong because once again you’re just focused on the campaign, instead of being focused on the policy. The policy Jeb Bush has always advocated is hard-core Neocon hawkishness, and that is what failed us in Iraq. Not some cherry-picked intelligence.