Jeb Bush on War & Peace
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-WP on Jun 3, 1997
- 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.
Other candidates on War & Peace:
Jeb Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Page last updated: Apr 24, 2015