Knowing what we know now, I would still have voted to go into Iraq in 2003. I think it was the right thing to do and I think the objective data still shows that Saddam Hussein was happy to collaborate with our enemies to undermine us.
But I don’t blame our Republican candidates for saying no. Jeb Bush stepped in it the other day and got his news cycle completely turned upside down. Megyn Kelly gave Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) a shot at answering the question and he said that based on what we know now he would not have supported invading Iraq. Likewise, Cruz opposed the Obama actions in Libya, which shows consistency on point.
He said on Fox News
[I]f and when we’re required to use military force, it should be with a clearly defined objective. It should be with overwhelming force, and then we should get the heck out. It is not the job of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to transform foreign nations into democratic utopias. It’s [their] job to hunt down and kill terrorists who want to murder Americans before they can carry out jihad.
Cruz is savvy enough to also be able to point out that the only candidate running for President who did vote to invade Iraq was Hillary Clinton.
Additionally, I think Cruz and the other Republicans should be cautious about leaving this issue to be re-litigated. We did not have the data in 2003. The media would love for the Republicans to stay on this topic. It is a naked admission that the “war on women” rhetoric is not working.
Hillary Clinton has not answered a question from the press in weeks. I think the next time a Republican candidate is asked if they’d have gone into Iraq in 2003 based on 2015 knowledge they can honestly say they did not vote for the Iraq War in 2003, unlike Hillary Clinton, and they’ll wait for her.
In any event, Cruz handled the question well and avoided the news cycled Bush is now having. But must we re-litigate Iraq when only the Democrats’ candidate voted for the war?