2016 Candidates Struggle With Iraq War Narrative

Hillary: 2002 Vote for War 'a Mistake, Plain and Simple'

The 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq has become a centerpiece issue for presidential primaries for the 2016 election, with candidates struggling to get their positions settled.

Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton seems to be the latest trying to distance herself from her votes in favor of the war, declaring them “a mistake, plain and simple.

She’s not the only one grappling with the issue, however, with Republican Jeb Bush first endorsing and then disavowing the war in recent weeks, claiming he “misheard” the question.

In the more crowded Republican race, it could become a much bigger issue, as many of the candidates are trying to portray themselves as the hawk of all hawks for the sake of fund-raising, but also coping with the reality of just how unpopular that disastrous war was.

Some are trying to thread the needle on the issue, insisting the invasion was a mistake, but the war was won by George W. Bush and lost by Obama, while others seem eager to just distance themselves from the conflict at all costs.

Ultimately, even those who weren’t around to vote on the matter are going to have to make some statement on the war as decision-making precedent, particularly with the questions of being lied into that war looming large in the American public’s minds.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.