If John Bolton announces a run for the presidency in a couple of hours, the presidential debates, especially the ones on foreign policy are going to be must watch:
WASHINGTON EXAMINER – At least one Republican eyeing a 2016 presidential campaign still supports the Iraq War: John Bolton.
The hawkish former United Nations ambassador, 66, told the Washington Examiner in an interview this week that he stands by the decision made by his old boss, President George W. Bush, to invade Iraq and topple dictator Saddam Hussein. Bolton, long a strong supporter of the Iraq war, said his opinion wasn’t altered by the post-war discovery that Hussein’s regime did not possess weapons of mass destruction.
“I still think the decision to overthrow Saddam was correct. I think decisions made after that decision were wrong, although I think the worst decision made after that was the 2011 decision to withdraw U.S. and coalition forces,” Bolton said. “The people who say, oh things would have been much better if you didn’t overthrow Saddam miss the point that today’s Middle East does not flow totally and unchangeably from the decision to overthrow Saddam alone.”
Some of Bush’s likely competitors for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination have come out in favor of the Iraq war based on the intelligence available at the time, but opposed if they knew then what is known now. That is probably the safe political position to take in the Republican primary. But Bolton was critical of the notion that the Middle East would be “sweetness and light” today had the U.S. not ousted Hussein.
“And that’s the other fallacy of those who say it was clearly a mistake, because you can’t assume if he had stayed in power, sweetness and light would prevail in the Middle East today,” Bolton said. “I am convinced he would have gone back to the search for nuclear weapons. He had kept 3,000 scientists and technicians together, he called them his nuclear Mujahadeen. They’re the ones with the intellectual capability to rebuild the program.”