‘I can defend the invasion of Iraq’

Ryan Lizza’s essential story on the calamity of Jeb Bush’s foreign policy includes cameos by many members of the Legion of Doom: Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Porter Goss, Stephen Hadley. Another nasty piece of work, Otto Reich, makes an appearance. Reich, I’m sorry to say, is a Cuban American whose most notorious sting was as the head of the excellently named Office of Public Diplomacy, charged with persuading the media to publish lies about the extent of Soviet involvement in Central America. Among the pearls: Soviets had MiGs in Nicaragua; that Nicaragua had chemical weapons; that American reporters, gay and straight, received sexual favors from Sandinista prostitutes.

Here is in 2015:

“I can defend the invasion of Iraq,” Reich told me. “What did the invasion of Iraq do? It caused all of the people who would’ve otherwise come and attacked us and killed Americans on our soil—it caused them to go to Iraq and die there. That may sound very brutal, or whatever, but we have seen what has happened when you have an Administration like the current one, that did not realize what Bush had done; sent the troops home from Iraq; created a vacuum that was filled by ISIS. And they’re killing Americans and everyone else—they’re mostly killing Muslims. I lay that at the feet of the Obama Administration.”

He added, “All Republicans say what I just did . . . but it’s not reported. Nobody listens. It goes against conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is that Bush was a failure in foreign policy, because of Iraq. Well, history is beginning to tell a different story.”

One truth bleeds out of this human pustule. I have no doubt that the GOP believes “Iraq,” whatever this term means in 2015, is a success, or was at least salvageable had it not been for the perfidy of Obama and the Democrats cutting a surge that the Maliki government had no intention of supporting.

Now Reich’s new client has fictions of his own to peddle:

He has called for a no-fly zone over Syria that would help a Sunni-led army fight a two-front war against Assad and ISIS, but it’s unclear who would make up the forces. He told reporters that American airpower in Syria is “restricted by lawyers kind of imposing all sorts of conditions.” He would change the rules, he said, so “that it would be there to fight to win.” He didn’t specify which rules he would lift, but, as Graham noted, almost every military expert dismisses the idea that airpower alone can defeat ISIS…

To fight ISIS in Iraq, Bush made the familiar argument that America should arm the Kurds and “embed with the Iraqi military,” both of which Obama is effectively doing. When asked whether he would send more troops, Bush said that the U.S. already has thirty-five hundred troops in Iraq and that the real issue was how to better integrate them into Iraqi forces. Pressed further, he conceded, in a roundabout way, that he would be willing to send more American troops back to Iraq.

There it is. Send troops back to Iraq. Bush is so stupid that he thinks that he can restore American prestige by returning troops to the battlefield responsible for the biggest moral calamity in American foreign affairs since Vietnam.

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