In an interview on Fox and Friends, former President George W. Bush told said America has learned the “lesson” that Iraq wasn’t ready to be abandoned. According to a new survey, the former commander-in-chief may just be right.
In a new poll, Americans say they now support U.S. ground troops in Iraq to deal with the ISIS threat, believe airstrikes alone will not be enough to defeat the terror army. But Americans’ perceptions of the U.S. military’s effectiveness under President Obama was sadly low, with more believing it has declined since 2008 than increased. Among veterans and active military, the perceptions are even worse.
Since leaving office, Bush has been adamant about not criticizing President Obama, who was forced to make the decision to launch airstrikes in Iraq — and now Syria — in a new war against the Islamic State.
When asked if the Iraqi people have already failed to seize the opportunity to build a new country, Bush, who is always the optimist, gave a very characteristic answer.
“It’s not over,” he said.
He also said, however, that U.S. airstrikes are showing the Iraqi people still need more help to defeat ISIS.
“The Iraqi people obviously are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they want to live in peace,” President Bush said. “They’re not ready to do it on their own, and that’s the lesson we’ve learned recently.”
In 2007, after just receiving polling results from White House advisors that showed a surge-like strategy would be the least unpopular action he could take, the president delivered a prophetic warning about what would happen if U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq too early. He said at the time this would risk “mass killings on a horrific scale” and potentially draw U.S. troops back into the country to confront a threat even greater than the one we face now.”
Unfortunately, particularly for those who sacrificed life and limb for U.S. gains in Iraq, the president’s predictions have now come to fruition.
“I know the nature of the enemy,” the former president responded when asked how he knew what would happen.
“Anybody who kills 3,000 innocents and beheads people because of their religion or because of their point of view is dangerous.”
He said an effective strategy to confront the threat of Islamic extremism is long-term and “takes time,” then went on to warn against what he called “impatience” among some in the American public, presumably the American Left.
“Americans have got to understand that the lesson of 9/11 is still important today as it was right after 9/11,” he said. “And that is the human condition elsewhere matters to our national security.”
Bush also said he agreed with Obama’s military advisers — who the current president overruled — that the U.S. should have left a residual force when it pulled out at the end of 2011.
But, again, he refused to condemn President Obama, saying he’s not going to “second-guess our president.”
“I understand how tough the job is.”
Fox & Friends After The Show-Show Interview