Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said it was “shameful” for President Barack Obama to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq and toppling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was “a pretty good deal” during a national security forum on Thursday.
Bush said Obama pulled troops from Iraq “to fulfill a campaign promise to get out of Iraq in a precipitous way.”
“To create the chaos that came afterwards, I think is shameful,” he said. during the forum in Iowa.
Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush, signed an agreement to pull combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. But Jeb Bush argues that agreement should have been altered because of instability in the country.
The GOP presidential candidate also continued to carefully defend his brother for his decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Earlier this year Bush struggled to answer if, knowing now that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not possess nuclear weapons, he agreed with his brother’s decision to invade the country. When asked if he thought the U.S. could have avoided its current problems with ISIS if we never invaded, Bush said: “Who knows? That’s such a complicated hypothetical. I’ll tell you though that taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.”
Bush said during last week’s GOP debate, “It was a mistake, I wouldn’t have gone in” to Iraq.
Bush has attempted to place the blame for ISIS on Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary.
“He just wants to run out the clock, in my mind,” Bush said of Obama’s strategy to deal with ISIS. “This is all an exercise to get past January of 2017 and head off to Chicago.”