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Jeb Bush Now Says ‘I Would Not Have Gone Into Iraq’

Jeb Bush Faces Firestorm Over Iraq War Comments 2:05

After nearly a week of differing answers on the question, Jeb Bush on Thursday said that, knowing what we know now, he would have not authorized the invasion of Iraq.

"Here's the deal: If we're all supposed to answer hypothetical questions, knowing what we know now, what would you have done, I would have not engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq," he said at a town hall event in Tempe, Arizona.

Bush added that the world is still safer because of the ouster of Saddam Hussein and that the troop "surge" late in the war was a "courageous effort" that created stability in the region.

The likely GOP presidential candidate also said that he was initially reluctant to say he would not have supported the war because he does not want to take away from the sacrifices made by troops who lost their lives in the conflict.

"It's very hard for me to say that their lives were lost in vain. In fact, they weren't," he said. "Their sacrifice is worth honoring, not depreciating."

That echoes comments Bush made on Wednesday, when he said he did not want to engage in "hypotheticals" about what he would have done because it would "do a disservice" to fallen soldiers.

But it conflicts with his initial statement in a Fox News interview, in which he appeared to say that he would have supported the Iraq War even with the correct intelligence information. Bush later said that he misinterpreted that question.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Bush said he had not spoken to his brother, former President George W. Bush, before changing his statement on Iraq.

"I don't go out of my way to disagree with my brother," Bush told reporters. "I am loyal to him. I don't think it's necessary to go through every place that I disagree with him."

— Carrie Dann