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Forget What We Know Now: We Knew Then the Iraq War Was a Joke

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From flickr.com/photos/91746536@N06/17644952909/: Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush
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So presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is taking a pounding for face-planting a question about his brother's invasion of Iraq. Apparently, our national media priests want accountability from leaders on this issue.

One of the first "gotcha" moments of the 2016 presidential race came about as follows: Reporters following Jeb Bush on a pre-announcement campaign tour smartly decided to badger him about his position on the Iraq invasion. "Knowing what he knows now," they asked, would he have done the same thing as his brother?

Jeb's answer was characteristically Bushian: yes, no, and maybe. Bush III somehow hadn't prepared for the one question he was most absolutely certain to face the moment he decided take a step in the direction of the White House.

It was a little bit like invading a country and having no plan at all for what you do after you seize the capital. In other words, the kind of thing that should disqualify a person not just from the presidency, but maybe also from having a driver's license. George W. specialized in these jaw-dropping oversights, and it seems his brother might have a similar talent.

Over the course of four or five very painful days Jeb pushed his Iraq position all over the board. First he said yes, he would have done the same thing as his brother (and so would have Hillary Clinton, he pointed out). Then he said he misunderstood the question. Then he said that even answering the question would dishonor the troops (which I thought was an impressively clever and Rove-ian response!).

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Head by now turned all the way around, in the fashion of nature's magnificent owl or Linda Blair, he finally told Fox's Megyn Kelly, "Knowing what we know now. . .I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq."

It was a no-win question for Jeb. He had two choices with this question: either send his brother up the river or set himself up for a general election campaign wearing a position that polls say could hurt him with 70 percent of voters.

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http://rollingstone.com/taibbi
Matt Taibbi is an investigative reporter for Rolling Stone magazine

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