Silent No More: George W. Bush Finally Breaks Silence, Publicly Eviscerates Barack H. Obama
by, Wilmot Proviso, WESTERN JOURNALISM
Breaking his silence on Barack Obama’s Middle East policy behind closed doors, former President George W. Bush said that his successor’s approach on Iraq, Iran, and the Islamic State group had placed America in “retreat.”
Bush’s remarks, which came during a speech in front of Jewish donors at the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, was transcribed by an audience member. It contains the most scathing appraisal by Bush to date of Obama’s foreign policy initiatives.
The former president first turned his attention to Iran, where he said that Obama had made mistakes by trusting Tehran’s intentions to disarm and by easing sanctions too easily.
“You think the Middle East is chaotic now?” Bush asked the audience. “Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
He also said that the idea of lifting sanctions on Iran with the threat of automatically reimposing them should they fall into noncompliance simply wasn’t feasible.
As for the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, Bush said, “He’s smooth … you’ve got to ask yourself, is there a new policy or did they just change the spokesman?”
The former president then turned his attention to Iraq, where he quoted Sen. Lindsey Graham’s assessment that Obama’s withdrawal of troops in 2011 was a “strategic blunder.” Bush added that, while his administration had reached an agreement to withdraw in 2011, his intention was to negotiate a long-term status of forces agreement that would have kept U.S. troops in the war-torn country–something Obama failed to do.
Bush also referred to the emergence of the Islamic State group as al-Qaeda’s “second act.” He then noted that the man who allegedly killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was apprehended and locked in Guantanamo Bay under his watch.
“Just remember the guy who slit Danny Pearl’s throat is in Gitmo, and now they’re doing it on TV,” Bush said, comparing the results of his approach to Obama’s.
As for the efforts to dismantle the Islamic State, Bush stated that Obama’s error has been a lack of coherent military strategy. When you want to defeat an enemy, Bush said, “you call in your military and say ‘What’s your plan?’”
“When the plan wasn’t working in Iraq, we changed,” Bush added, referring to the 2007 troop surge that dramatically reduced the insurgency.
“In order to be an effective president … when you say something you have to mean it,” Bush said. “You gotta kill ’em.”
While Barack Obama has been extremely vocal about criticizing his predecessor and blaming him for any number of the country’s ills, the Las Vegas speech is one of the first instances of George W. Bush publicly attacking Obama’s record. However, given his brother’s presidential campaign, it’s unlikely to be the last.
h/t: Bloomberg Voice