Jeb Bush to criticise Obama, Clinton over Iraq strategy

Jeb Bush to outline strategy to counter ISIS while pointing accusing finger at Obama and Clinton regarding Iraq

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will deliver a speech on foreign policy on Tuesday in which he will advance a renewed Middle East strategy for the United States and criticise Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

Bush, the son and brother of two US presidents - George HW Bush and George W Bush respectively - will deliver a speech at Simi Valley, California at 9pm EDT (1am GMT Wednesday) at the Ronald Reagan presidential library, the location of the next Republican presidential debate.

Bush’s campaign has released some excerpts of his speech in which he refers to ISIS as “the focus of evil in the world today” which he would make an “unyielding” effort to combat if he is elected president in November 2016.

Bush is expected to say, “We should pursue the clear and unequivocal objective of throwing back the barbarians of ISIS, and helping the millions in the region who want to live in peace.”

The former Florida governor will also argue that US leadership in the Middle East is necessary to defeat ISIS, according to excerpts made available in the media.

“The threat of global jihad, and of the Islamic State [ISIS] in particular, requires all the strength, unity and confidence that only American leadership can provide,” Bush will say.

Bush will point a finger at both Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State during the rise of ISIS, and Barack Obama, the incumbent president.

Bush’s brother, former president George W Bush, justified waging war on Iraq based on allegations regarding stockpiled weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that were not foud after closer inspection.

Jeb Bush’s claim, according to his campaign, will be that George W Bush’s troop surge in Iraq late in his presidency was a success while Obama's decision not to leave a US contingency force behind created a security vacuum.

“ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat,” Bush will say. “And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all this?”

According to Bush, Clinton “opposed the surge” just like President Obama, “then joined in claiming credit for its success.”

As required under a 2008 security agreement worked out by former president George W Bush, American troops left Iraq in December 2011 despite efforts from both countries to prevent this. The United States and Iraq tried to negotiate so that several thousand US troops would remain in Iraq beyond the deadline, but could not agree on terms.

The Obama administration required legal immunity for US forces which the Iraqi government refused to grant, and in the end American troops withdrew from the country.

Bush will accuse Clinton of then standing by as the "hard won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away. In all her record setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once.”

Bush will argue that Obama’s policy of striking ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq from the air is ineffective, and that the US must claim a leading role in the region in a more aggressive manner.

“Instead of simply reacting to each new move the terrorists choose to make, we will use every advantage we have, to take the offensive, to keep it, to prevail,” Bush will say. “In all of this, the United States must engage with friends and allies, and lead again in that vital region.”

TRTWorld and agencies