Jindal Supports Bush Invasion of Iraq Too

Not learning any lesson at all from watching Jeb Bush get hammered for saying he supported the invasion of Iraq, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he thinks George W. Bush “absolutely made the right decision.” And just for fun, he throws in a major lie about the withdrawal of troops from that country.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, in Iowa on Friday, cast no blame on former President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq for the unintended consequences of the war.

“The problems we face in Iraq today I don’t think were because of President Bush’s strength but have come about because of President Obama’s weakness,” Jindal said. “President Obama didn’t listen to his military and other advisers and instead, he withdrew all of the troops without a status forces agreement, without some kind of remaining, residual ability to keep stability in Iraq.”

Wrong. There was a Status of Force Agreement in place and it was signed by Bush. It required that we pull our troops out when Obama did so unless the Iraqi parliament asked us to stay, which they refused to do. The Republicans keep pushing this lie that Obama withdrew the troops on his own, but it’s simply bullshit. It was Bush who chose that date for withdrawal and Obama followed the agreement he put in place. But that inconvenient fact just disappears down the memory hole.

Jindal didn’t specifically say he would have invaded Iraq given what he knows today. He said it’s not “productive” to consider hypothetical questions about foreign policy, but he fully defended the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

“At the time, I think President Bush absolutely made the right decision,” Jindal, who is considering running for president in 2016, said during the taping of “Iowa Press.”

I’m just baffled by the political judgment here. What use is it to a Republican candidate to say this? Anyone who agrees with you is already going to vote Republican, but the voters in the middle, the ones you have to get on your side to win an election, are strongly opposed to the invasion. This is going to strike them as Jindal showing really, really bad judgment and lessen his credibility for making any kind of foreign policy decision should he win the presidency.

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  • colnago80

    And will the lamestream media point out that Jindal is lying about the troop withdrawal? Ho, ho, ho, and need I say ha, ha, ha.

  • llewelly

    In order to win the primary, they do need to appeal to people who are very sure the invasion of Iraq was a good thing that Obama fucked up, and that seems to be what they are trying to do. But on the thread about Jeb, eric pointed out that Jeb could have done so without looking as foolish, and it seems Jindal could have done the same.

    So far it is looking like winning the primary whilst not alienating the middle is beyond them.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Major points to Bobby for running cover for JEB. If one or two other of the never-had-a-chance contingent fall in this way, it’s going to make the whole thing a routine (if minor) Republican dogma and no longer news. Which in turn means it will be dead as far as a topic when the general election comes around.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    It was Bush who chose that date for withdrawal and Obama followed the agreement he put in place. But that inconvenient fact just disappears down the memory hole.

    A lot of Democrats want that inconvenient fact to disappear as well, considering how prominently the Bush-Cheney Iraq policy stood on the grievance list when they promised “Change”, only to follow the B-C plan to the last jot ‘n’ tittle.

  • Doc Bill

    The first Kwik-E-Mart attack ad will sink Jindal faster than a papadum in a monsoon. He’s been living in a Republican bubble in Louisiana so long that crazy is the new normal. But, please, please, please run, Bobby! Your entertainment value far exceeds any impact you’ll have on politics.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, he’s got a point. Obama did cause us to lose Iraq. All he had to do to win was two simple things: get the agreement from their government that there’s no way in hell they were going to give us, and keep all of our troops there forever.

    Plus, if we kept them all there it would be a much shorter march to Tehran.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    It’s like something my mom used to ask me: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” (Hint: “no”) This is sort of like: “If all your friends started a war and it turned out to be universally recognized as terrible, would you still recommend doing it?” Uh… Really.

  • eric

    @3:

    Major points to Bobby for running cover for JEB. If one or two other of the never-had-a-chance contingent fall in this way, it’s going to make the whole thing a routine (if minor) Republican dogma and no longer news.

    Yes there does seem to be some “herd defense” strategy going on here: “if we all say the same thing, the public and our opponents can’t hold it against us.” I would note that foreign policy debate in the last couple of general elections has had this sort of character: few major substantive differences between the candidates, even though they rhetorically insist their position is far far superior to their opponent’s.

    Which in turn means it will be dead as far as a topic when the general election comes around.

    Maybe. I doubt Hilary will answer much differently from her GOP rival in prospective foreign policy questions, but on this particular retrospective question, I don’t know that she would necessarily say the same as Bush or Jindal. She might if she thinks implying the war was an unnecessary waste might lose her servicemen/servicewomen votes, but unlike Bush or Jindal, she has no real party or administration loyalty reason to do so.

    .

  • carpenterman

    Well, it’s not like foreign policy is an important part of the President’s job or anything.

  • StevoR

    @2. llewelly :

    In order to win the primary, they do need to appeal to people who are very sure the invasion of Iraq was a good thing that Obama fucked up, and that seems to be what they are trying to do. But on the thread about Jeb, eric pointed out that Jeb could have done so without looking as foolish, and it seems Jindal could have done the same.

    Yes indeed. I saw and quoted that myself here :

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2015/05/17/jeb-walks-back-iraq-war-comments/#comment-424427

    @5. Doc Bill : “The first Kwik-E-Mart attack ad will sink Jindal faster than a papadum in a monsoon.”

    Actually I’m pretty sure papadums float! I hope you are wrong about this simply because there’s already more than enough depressing news about US and other racism everywhere already.

    @ 3. D. C. Sessions says

    Major points to Bobby for running cover for JEB. If one or two other of the never-had-a-chance contingent fall in this way, it’s going to make the whole thing a routine (if minor) Republican dogma and no longer news. Which in turn means it will be dead as far as a topic when the general election comes around.

    Maybe. Quite likely even. But necessarily certain. It may depend on events in Iraq itself as to whether this is a hot topic by main election time still or not. Daesh (Is-IL/IS) have just captured Ramadi which is one major provincial Iraqi capital located quite near Baghdad. If the Daesh Jihadists keep Ramadi and threaten or even take Baghdad in coming months ..then what? I don’t think this is terribly likely but it is one plausible scenario. I’m sure y’all can imagine other such scenarios where it could be a hot issue still too.

    We’re just at the start of a very long election indeed and there’s a famous saying that a week is a long time in politics. I’d be surprised if there weren’t many more surprises and twists and turns to come.

    I will however stand by my prediction that Hillary Clinton will win both her race then the presidential one. The Republicans, well, I expect Jeb Bush to be their man but am a lot less certain of that. FWIW I got the last POTUS election right too. Not that it was that hard to predict or that I was alone in that. I do think it will be a very long time before the Republicans ever regain the US presidency and that they’ll have to change dramatically on a number of issues before they do. I’m calling 2020 for Hillary Clinton already!

  • StevoR

    @ ^ Typo fix that’s : ” Maybe. Quite likely even. But ,b>NOT necessarily certain. It may depend on events in Iraq itself.. ” natch.

  • StevoR

    @8. eric :

    “Maybe. I doubt Hilary will answer much differently from her GOP rival in prospective foreign policy questions, but on this particular retrospective question, I don’t know that she would necessarily say the same as Bush or Jindal. She might if she thinks implying the war was an unnecessary waste might lose her servicemen/servicewomen votes, but unlike Bush or Jindal, she has no real party or administration loyalty reason to do so.”

    I like Hillary Clinton and I want as well as expect her to win & become POTUS in 2016 but on this particular question she previously -like Obama among many (most? Nearly all?) US politicians said at the time that she supported the decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein – see :

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members… It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, effects American security. This is a very difficult vote, this is probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Any vote that might lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction.”

    – Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat, New York) Addressing the US Senate October 10, 2002

    Also for that matter :

    “Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.”

    – State Senator Barack Obama (Democrat, Illinois) Speech at Federal Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, October 2, 2002

    Source : http://www.freedomagenda.com/iraq/wmd_quotes.html

    Gee a Democratic party senator or two arguing the heresy here that Saddam Hussein was evil dictator, a plain “bad guy” and that his removal from power and indeed the planet would be a good thing. Political suicide eh? Wonder what happened to him since then?

    Wonder if anyone will ask either of them about what they’d do in retrospect knowing what they know now or whether that will be considered news especially if they admit that at the time they made the best decision they could with what they knew then which is NOT of course what we know now.

    FWIW. At that time I was a lot more left-wing than I am now (which is saying something) and I actually opposed the Iraq war and even marched against it back then. Since then, I’ve mellowed and got a bit more sense of proportion and reality, maybe that can /will happen to some other commenters here too, who knows? The past is a different country indeed and the future uncertain.

  • llewelly

    StevoR:

    … arguing the heresy here that Saddam Hussein was evil dictator …

    There is nothing in any comment in this thread which necessarily disagrees with the idea that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. You might get some equivocation over the word “evil” but I doubt anyone would disagree that Saddam Hussein did horrible things.

    You are seemingly upset because (a) you were correctly criticized for being factually wrong on a few points, and (b) some people misunderstood your view. That’s a rough combination, but, well, that’s the internet.

    As for what Hillary would say if asked about the Iraq invasion today? I don’t know, but here is apparently what she said in her recent book:

    “[M]any Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake become (sic) more painful.”

    “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

    here .

    That’s from 2014. I seem to recall she equivocated all over the place during the 2008 campaign, and did not admit how wrong she was, but I’m not motivated to look up specific quotes.

    In any case her 2014 statement is at best a rather slimy half-truth; I don’t believe for a moment she believed the Bush administration’s lies. I think she figured the war would be popular, so she supported it.

    Nonetheless – I have never yet seen a half-way acceptable explanation of how anything Obama or Clinton actually said (as opposed to certain popular interpretations) supported the idea that there was any potential for a large foriegn policy difference between them. A narrow disagreement about whether or not a specific invasion was justified is hardly an indicator of any large scale “change” in foriegn policy.

    After all, didn’t Obama say “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” ? Isn’t that a fair summation of Clinton’s primary foriegn policy attitude since at least the mid-1990s? She’s just more likely to break in favor of a war that is horribly planned but popular.

    Realistically speaking, almost all wars are “dumb”, unless the goal is to make astronomical amounts of money for war profiteers, and maybe loot some natural resources. (I don’t think permanent colonization has been a thing for a while now.)

    PS. Bernie is an Eisenhower fanboy. So the biggest changes he’s likely to make in foriegn policy are (a) better educated troops, and (b) keep the troops of the streets after they come home, and (c) plan for really long occupations from the beginning, and (d) spend a higher portion of government money at home. We’ll still have tons of imperialism. I’ll be supporting him anyway. I’m happy to go to anti-war protests, but in my view voting is about domestic policy. Voting on foriegn policy approaches political utopianism.

  • llewelly

    My apologies. I left out an “l” in blockquote.

    StevoR:

    … arguing the heresy here that Saddam Hussein was evil dictator …

    There is nothing in any comment in this thread which necessarily disagrees with the idea that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator. You might get some equivocation over the word “evil” but I doubt anyone would disagree that Saddam Hussein did horrible things.

    You are seemingly upset because (a) you were correctly criticized for being factually wrong on a few points, and (b) some people misunderstood your view. That’s a rough combination, but, well, that’s the internet.

    As for what Hillary would say if asked about the Iraq invasion today? I don’t know, but here is apparently what she said in her recent book:

    “[M]any Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake become (sic) more painful.”

    “I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.”

    here .

    That’s from 2014. I seem to recall she equivocated all over the place during the 2008 campaign, and did not admit how wrong she was, but I’m not motivated to look up specific quotes.

    In any case her 2014 statement is at best a rather slimy half-truth; I don’t believe for a moment she believed the Bush administration’s lies. I think she figured the war would be popular, so she supported it.

    Nonetheless – I have never yet seen a half-way acceptable explanation of how anything Obama or Clinton actually said (as opposed to certain popular interpretations) supported the idea that there was any potential for a large foriegn policy difference between them. A narrow disagreement about whether or not a specific invasion was justified is hardly an indicator of any large scale “change” in foriegn policy.

    After all, didn’t Obama say “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” ? Isn’t that a fair summation of Clinton’s primary foriegn policy attitude since at least the mid-1990s? She’s just more likely to break in favor of a war that is horribly planned but popular.

    Realistically speaking, almost all wars are “dumb”, unless the goal is to make astronomical amounts of money for war profiteers, and maybe loot some natural resources. (I don’t think permanent colonization has been a thing for a while now.)

    PS. Bernie is an Eisenhower fanboy. So the biggest changes he’s likely to make in foriegn policy are (a) better educated troops, and (b) keep the troops of the streets after they come home, and (c) plan for really long occupations from the beginning, and (d) spend a higher portion of government money at home. We’ll still have tons of imperialism.

  • eric

    StevoR:

    on this particular question she previously -like Obama among many (most? Nearly all?) US politicians said at the time that she supported the decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein

    That’s the question Jeb wanted to answer but not the question asked. The question asked was: knowing what we know now, would you have gone to ward with Iraq? Llewelly’s quote from Clinton’s 2014 book seems to indicate a “no” answer, which would distinguish her from the GOP field.

    As with the pro-war side, there are potentially stupid and politically damaging ways to answer “no” as well as good ways to answer “no.” Every voter gets to make their own decision on whether an answer is one or the other, but personally I don’t have a serious issue with Senators saying that at the time they took the Secretary of State (Colin Powell) at his word on the bio WMD claim. In hindsight, there was reason for skepticism: Bush’s administration was simultaneously pushing the incredible and unbelievable claim that there was a link between the Saddam regime and the 9/11 hijackings. So the public arguably ‘could have known’ that they were lying across the board, not just on that one issue. However, Colin Powell was not Cheney and IMO it was perfectly reasonable for people who might be highly skeptical of Bush and Cheney’s honesty to still think ‘if Colin Powell is saying this as Secretary of State, the US intel must really support his conclusions.” So I don’t see anything much wrong with Clinton’s (2014) answer.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ eric : Agreed. Good point(s). Fair enough.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I’m just baffled by the political judgment here. What use is it to a Republican candidate to say this?

    It’s pretty simple really. First, he has to do his bit to appear tough and resolute, and to bash liberals and Democrats as “soft on terrorism.” And second, yes, the Iraq war was an incredibly stupid idea, but he and the rest of the GOP know the Democrats will have an uphill battle explaining exactly WHY it was so stupid, without sounding like waffling Ivy-League wimps.

    The Republicans keep pushing this lie that Obama withdrew the troops on his own…

    They’re probably also forgetting that their won nominee, John McCain, also promised in 2008 to have our troops out, around 2013.

    And this bit of blithering by StevoR left me laughing with sheer disbelief:

    At that time I was a lot more left-wing than I am now (which is saying something) and I actually opposed the Iraq war and even marched against it back then. Since then, I’ve mellowed and got a bit more sense of proportion and reality…

    Seriously?! You opposed the war at first, but then you changed your mind and thought it was a good idea, AFTER the opponents were proven right and the warmongers wrong? That’s gotta be the most twisted, disgraceful, ridiculous thought-process I’ve ever heard. Either your conversion story is fabricated, or you simply stopped thinking and let the warmongers do your thinking for you.

    I predicted, as early as 1998, that a US invasion/occupation/regime-change operation would fail in almost exactly the way Bush’s op failed. NO ONE has ANY excuse to think such an op would do any good, either before or after 2003.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Daesh (Is-IL/IS) have just captured Ramadi which is one major provincial Iraqi capital located quite near Baghdad. If the Daesh Jihadists keep Ramadi and threaten or even take Baghdad in coming months ..then what?

    You know, there’s a lot of Americans who predicted that this sort of bitter, chaotic, open-ended civil bloodshed would have been the result of any attempt by a non-Muslim foreign power to overthrow and replace Iraq’s government; and that could easily get WORSE than Saddam’s brutal actions. How does it feel to know that we were right all along, and you’ve been proven wrong?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Gee a Democratic party senator or two arguing the heresy here that Saddam Hussein was evil dictator…

    Oh grow the fuck up already. Are you actually trying to imply that there was any sort of “orthodoxy” that said Saddam was a nice guy and painted all disagreement as “heretical?” Who the fuck didn’t think Saddam was an evil dictator, at any time?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    eric @ # 15: … I don’t have a serious issue with Senators saying that at the time they took the Secretary of State (Colin Powell) at his word on the bio WMD claim. In hindsight, there was reason for skepticism: …

    There was also such reason at the time – namely, that the words came from the mouth of a career liar and cover-up artist with a slimy, bloody trail reaching from Vietnam to the Iran-Contra fuckup.

  • StevoR

    @17. Raging Bee : “You opposed the war at first, but then you changed your mind and thought it was a good idea.”

    In fact I haven’t ever thought the war on Iraq was a good idea. I didn’t and still don’t. How many times precisely do I need to tell you I think the war with Iraq was a mistake before you actually notice that?

    What I have learnt to do is see at least a little bit of the other side of the story and see that they have some sort of case even if I don’t entirely agree with it. Imagine another point of view and seeing why they think as they do and see that they do have the odd good point as well.

    But I am unsurprised such complex thinking and shades of gray have gone whooshing right past your head and reading comprehension (lack of) ability here Raging Bee.

    @ 18 Raging Bee : Well, damn, that sure makes Saddam Hussein completely justified and a wonderful gentleman who deserves our full respect and the overlooking of everything bad he’s ever done don’t it?

    (Do I need a sarc tag? Hmm .. it is Raging Bee I’m talking to, so, yup, I guess I do. Rager, that was sarcasm for ya there!)

  • StevoR

    @19. Raging Bee : ” Who the fuck didn’t think Saddam was an evil dictator, at any time?”

    Judging from you comments here and attacks on me for making that exact point, well I’d say you for one, Raging Bee!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    What I have learnt to do is see at least a little bit of the other side of the story and see that they have some sort of case even if I don’t entirely agree with it.

    Oh please. I saw the other side’s case too, both before and after the war started. That didn’t mean I was unable to check their claims against the larger verifiable reality. Just because there’s two sides to a debate, doesn’t mean you can’t make a reasonable and decently-informed judgment as to which side is more congruent with reality.

    Judging from you comments here and attacks on me for making that exact point, well I’d say you for one, Raging Bee!

    Really? Quote me even ONCE saying Saddam was not an evil dictator. You can’t, can you? You’re just another neocon hack lazily and mindlessly calling his opponents “pro-Saddam” because that’s all he can think of to say.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ Raging Bee : If you aren’t pro-Saddam why all your attacks on me for pointing out that yes he was indeed an evil dictator? Why your strenuous objections to the mentions of reality that getting rid of Saddam Hussien was a good thing even if other aspects of the war didn’t work out? Why your objection to placing a fair share of the blame for the 2003-2011 war in Iraq on Saddam’s head?

    As for you checking claims and verifying what the other side is saying – well that’s been done as far as Saddam Hussein’s appalling record of atrocities goes :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saddam_Hussein%27s_Iraq

    On this count -the idea that Saddam was evil and that regime change and liberation of Iraq from him was desirable you have to say Bush and the pro-war side were correct even if they werre wrong about other things liek the WMDs. That’s all I’m saying and its factually accurate and true.

    The best moments of the Iraq war were the reactions of the Iraqi people when Saddam’s statue fell and their dictator was captured and put on trial by Iraqis in their courts. For a few all too brief moments they were then united and grateful and free. Tragic what happened afterwards.