- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he must have interpreted a question incorrectly when he said recently that he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq and that armed with 20/20 hindsight, he’s not sure what the decision would have been.

“I interpreted the question wrong, I guess — I was talking about given what people knew then, would you have done it, rather than knowing what we know now,” he said Tuesday on radio host Sean Hannity’s show. “And knowing what we know now, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead-up to the war and the lack of focus on security. My brother’s admitted this, and we have to learn from that.”

In an earlier interview, asked by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly whether he would have authorized the invasion “knowing what we know now,” Mr. Bush said he would have.

“And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” he said.

In the radio interview, though, Mr. Bush says he doesn’t know what the decision would have been in hindsight.

“That’s a hypothetical, but the simple fact is, mistakes were made,” he said.

The initial answer and subsequent follow-up illustrates the challenge Mr. Bush, who is laying the groundwork for a potential presidential run in 2016, is going to have as he tries to strike a balance in offering areas of distinction between himself and former President George W. Bush.

Other 2016 hopefuls said they would not have authorized the invasion in hindsight.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper it wasn’t the right decision, knowing what we know now.

“I want to answer your question directly, because that’s what I do. If we knew then what we know now and I were the president of the United States, I wouldn’t have gone to war, but, you know, we don’t get to replay history,” Mr. Christie said.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has spoken critically of the U.S. intervention in Iraq, told the Associated Press that it’s “a real problem if he can’t articulate what he would have done differently.”

Asked on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” if he would have authorized the invasion knowing what we know now, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said, “of course not.”

“The entire predicate of the war against Iraq was the intelligence that showed they had weapons of mass destruction and that there was a real risk they might use them,” he said, pointing out that there was bipartisan support at the time based on that intelligence.

“We now know that intelligence was false, and without that predicate, there’s no way we would have gone to war with Iraq, and we know that now in hindsight,” Mr. Cruz said.

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