Former President George W. Bush took time out from his scheduled play at the fourth annual Warrior Open golf tournament for veterans to tell Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade: Yes, the incursion into Iraq was worthwhile.
“The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, the Taliban in power,” he said.
Mr. Kilmeade referenced a 2007 warning that Mr. Bush gave about leaving Iraq too early — during which he spoke of the potential for terrorists to establish a safe haven and of the likelihood that escalating violence could force U.S. troops to return to the region — and asked, “How did you know?”
Mr. Bush said he learned plenty about the realities of evil when terrorists struck American soil in 2001.
“I know the nature of the enemy,” he said. “Anyone that kills 3,000 innocents or beheads people because of their religion, or because of their point of view, is dangerous. There’s a short-term strategy to bring them to justice, and a long-term strategy to encourage free societies to prevail so as to marginalize their ideology. … Democracy takes time to take hold and yet there’s an impatience with that process.”
Mr. Bush refused to “second-guess” Mr. Obama, and rather encouraged America to be patient with the White House administration’s current response to the Middle Eastern violence — yet said he always agreed with Gen. Martin Dempsey’s recommendation to leave between 10,000 and 15,000 of troops in the region to serve as a stabilizing force.
Mr. Bush also spoke briefly of the current Secret Service debacle and said interim leader Joe Clancy is a “good man” who will “do a good job.”
“I trust his judgment a lot,” he said.
Mr. Bush is kicking off the fourth annual Warrior Open near Dallas with remarks on Thursday. The 36-hole tournament, which opened on Wednesday, is in honor of the U.S. military.