What Went Wrong: Republicans Keep Ignoring the Lessons of Iraq

What Went Wrong: Republicans Keep Ignoring the Lessons of Iraq
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks at the Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, Calif., Aug. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Kevork Djansezian).

Earlier this month, Jeb Bush gave a major foreign policy speech focusing on U.S strategy in the Middle East. It offered a compelling lesson in the pitfalls of a politician named Bush talking about Iraq.

In the speech, Bush blamed the current instability in Iraq on the Obama administration and in particular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He suggested the White House had squandered the hard-earned gains from the 2007 surge in Iraq, which he argued could be successfully replicated in Syria.

Beyond a rather blatant effort to rewrite history, Bush’s speech was a stark reminder that many of America’s political leaders, especially those in the GOP, have still failed to come to grips with the mistakes made in Iraq and their lessons about the limits of American power. Until those mistakes are discussed more candidly and forthrightly, the United States runs the very real risk of repeating them again.

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