In a foreign-policy address last week, Jeb Bush declared, “I’m my own man,” and even tried to prove it, saying there were unspecified “mistakes made in Iraq, for sure,” referring to the war his brother launched. During a radio interview on Wednesday, host Hugh Hewitt brought up a concern about a third Bush presidency that probably hadn’t occurred to most people: Would Jeb “be overly cautious about using force for fear of having a ‘third Bush war’ occur?” Everyone can rest easy, because the answer is no.
Bush said that if he’s lucky enough to win the presidency, “then I would have a duty to protect the United States. And there are circumstances where a commander-in-chief, the president of the United States has to make tough decisions.” He added, “I wouldn’t be conflicted by any legacy issues of my family. I actually, Hugh, am quite comfortable being George Bush’s son and George Bush’s brother. It’s something that gives me a lot of comfort on a personal level, and it certainly wouldn’t compel me to act one way or the other based on the strategies that we would be implementing and the conditions that our country would be facing.”
“So a conservative who is a strong Defense conservative would not have to be hesitant to worry that you would be reluctant to use force anywhere, but especially in the Muslim world?” Hewitt asked. Bush responded:
I don’t think there’s anything that relates to what my dad did or what my brother did that would compel me to think one way or the other. I think that history’s a good guide for our country. And the simple fact is you start with the premise that America’s role in the world is a force for good, not for bad things to happen, you’ll have, lessen the likelihood of having to use military force around the world.
So how exactly would Bush let history be his guide without directly taking cues from the last two Republican presidents? Allow the Washington Post to explain: