Iraq War Casts Shadow Over GOP White House Hopefuls

Even Hawks Scrambling From Legacy of Failed War

With assorted Republican presidential hopefuls declaring their candidacy, foreign policy is becoming a hot topic, with most of the candidates trying to out-hawk each other at every turn. Then there’s Iraq.

The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq is looming large over all the campaigning, and most of the field is trying mightily to shed the legacy of this disastrously failed war.

Most are chalking it up to “bad intelligence” at the time, and conceding the invasion was the wrong decision, while trying to spin the war as something less disastrous than it actually was.

Jeb Bush, is facing the most heat on this issue, both because he is touting as a top adviser his brother George W. Bush, who launched the 2003 invasion, and because he declared that he would launch the war himself even knowing what he knows now, though he’s since tried to spin this as having “misheard” the question.

Chris Christie and Rand Paul are both saying they wouldn’t have gone to war, Marco Rubio says the war made the world a better place but stopped short of endorsing it, while Mike Huckabee called it a “botched military strategy,” and blaming the Iraqi people for not supporting the occupation more than they have.

Other candidates are so far avoiding comment, apparently seeing Iraq as such a losing issue that they’re better off avoiding any comment one way or the other.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of