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Jeb Bush Calls For More US Troops In Iraq

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By Mike Eckel

(RFE/RL) — Jeb Bush, the Republican presidential candidate and brother of the man who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has called for deploying more U.S. troops in Iraq as part of the fight against Islamic State militants.

The hawkish comments from Bush on November 18 were a reflection of the Islamic State militancy, global terrorism and security fears have begun to dominate the race to succeed President Barack Obama in next November’s election.

The leading Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was expected to give a major policy address on November 19 in which last week’s terror attacks in Paris and the ongoing air war in Syria and Iraq were expected to top the agenda.

Despite name recognition from being related to two presidents—his brother, George W. Bush, and his father, George H. W. Bush— Jeb Bush has struggled in pre-election polls. He has lagged behind more outspoken candidates like real estate mogul Donald Trump or retired surgeon Ben Carson.

But with the Paris attacks raising alarms among Washington policy makers and fears that the Syrian war is spinning further out of control, presidential candidates and Washington lawmakers have started calling for tougher action by the White House.

In a speech at the Citadel, a publicly funded military college in South Carolina, Bush said more U.S. troops should be sent as part of a larger global coalition to Iraq, where Islamic State militants have seized swaths of territory in the north, including the second largest city, Mosul.

“Radical Islamic terrorists have declared war on the Western world. Their aim is our total destruction,” Bush told an audience made up mainly of cadets. “We can’t withdraw from this threat, or negotiate with it. We have but one choice: to defeat it.”

“The brutal savagery is a reminder of what is at stake in this election. We are choosing the leader of the free world,” he said. “And if these [Paris] attacks remind us of anything, it’s that we are living in serious times that require serious leadership.”

“The United States – in conjunction with our NATO allies and more Arab partners – will need to increase our presence on the ground,” he said.

Bush, who used to be governor of Florida, did not say how many more U.S. troops would be needed, though he said he would defer to military commanders for precise numbers.

After a nearly complete withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011, the Obama administration has gradually increased the size of the U.S. force, helping the weak Baghdad government to deal with Islamic State threat.

Today there are about 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, plus other soldiers from NATO and coalition members.

U.S. advisers earlier this month joined with Iraqi Kurdish forces to help them in attacking the strategic northern city of Sinjar, which had been seized by Islamic State militants in August 2014.

Obama recently ordered a few dozen U.S. special operations troops to northern Syria to help Kurdish forces there in their fight against the Islamic State.

The issue of increasing the U.S. military presence in Iraq is a fraught one for Bush, and for the entire presidential field. Obama won the presidency in 2008 in part due to his pledge to draw down the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan after years of fighting and counterinsurgency.

He also won by criticizing Clinton who was a U.S. senator in 2002 when she voted to authorize George W. Bush to send U.S. troops to Iraq. She recently said she regretted that vote.

After losing to Obama, Clinton went on to become his first secretary of state.

Jeb Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, was president in 2003 when he ordered the invasion of Iraq, in which U.S. forces easily toppled Saddam Hussein but then struggled for years after to quell a brutal insurgency that included former Iraqi military officers, Baath party leaders and Al-Qaeda. Nearly 4,500 American soldiers were killed.

South Carolina, where Jeb Bush gave his speech, is one of the first states to conduct primary voting for parties to choose candidates, and a win there has given candidates a tremendous boost in the past.

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One thought on “Jeb Bush Calls For More US Troops In Iraq

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    November 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm
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    I watched several debates of the Republican Presidential Candidates and Mr. Jeb Bush was on the stage. I thought of him as a very weak candidate with a low level of knowledge. Mr. Trump was correct when he calls him a light weight candidate. In fact, he has no weight. Yet, his father is defending him and just published a book blaming some members of taking the country to wars in the Middle East. It does not matter now. His father bombed Iraq and killed thousands of men, women, children, and babies. He destroyed roads, bridges, houses, hospitals, and shelters. He even destroyed land and animals. He just likes to kill innocent people and destroyed things built by others. His brother is also a killer and killed man, women, children, and babies in Iraq. He destroyed libraries and cultural history . He was listed as a war criminal and could not go to Europe to deliver a lecture. Both, Bush the father and Bush the son had destroyed the American economy and had created recessions and stagnation. The financial crisis of 2007 destroyed millions of jobs and damaged firms and industries. The infrastructure of the country needed 200 billion to be maintained in 2008. Father and son worked to pillage oil from other countries, benefiting oil corporations and the military industrial complex, and they are the driving force of the new waves of terrorism. Without them Daesh would not have existed in Iraq.
    Now, another member of the Bush family wants to be president. He talks about war and troops. He likes his father and brother believes in colonialism and is interested in occupying weak and defenseless countries. Similar to his father and brother he will not challenge strong nations but will go after small nations that have no army and weapons. He thinks that Americans need to work longer to earn their income, forgetting that Americans have been working longer with less pay. He is a racist and hates Muslims and Islam and he is insulting Muslims daily and creating hostility against them. He thanks all Muslims are terrorists but he hides that by talking about Radical Islam. Like his brother he will be running another war of crusaders again. If Americans vote for Jeb Bush to be the next president of the country, then the economy will bankrupt completely because of new wars. Please Mr. Jeb Bush just drop the presidential campaign and be a regular American citizen. But I now you cannot do it.

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