After days of equivocation, Jeb Bush on Thursday declared: “Knowing what we know now, what would we have done, I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.”
Bush’s comments came during a town hall meeting in Tempe, Ariz., where he was speaking ahead of an appearance at a Republican National Committee meeting.
“That’s not to say that the world isn’t safer because Saddam Hussein is gone. The world is safer,” Bush said. He went on to say it also didn’t mean the sacrifices of troops who died in Iraq, and their families, were not wasted; he explained his difficulty answering the question as concern for military service members who fought in the war.
Thursday is Bush’s fourth day attempting to clarify remarks he first made during a Fox News interview that aired Monday, when he answered Megyn Kelly’s question about whether he would have launched the 2003 invasion knowing the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was faulty. “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” he said then.
The comments drew intense criticism from within his own party, as other likely rivals for the presidency said one by one that they would not have invaded.