Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Jeb Bush says he would have authorized Iraq invasion, but he’s still got some explaining to do

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Jeb Bush: "In retrospect, the intelligence that we saw, that the world saw was faulty."

If he had been president in 2003, Jeb Bush, like his brother, would have authorized the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In an interview with Megyn Kelly that will air on Fox News Monday evening, she asks Bush whether he would have authorized the bombing that his brother’s administration called “Shock and Awe” and the subsequent invasion and occupation that was dubbed “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Here’s the exchange, which Fox has released in advance of the full interview:

Megyn Kelly: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

Jeb Bush: “I would’ve. And so would’ve Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would’ve everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that we got.

“In retrospect, the intelligence that we saw — that the world saw — was faulty. And in retrospect, once we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn’t focus on security first. And the Iraqis, in this incredibly insecure environment, turned on the U.S. military because there was no security for themselves and their families.

“And by the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well. George W. Bush. So — newsflash for the world if they’re trying to find places where there’s a big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”

I would assume that a lot of thought has gone into how Jeb Bush will answer this as he heads toward the official announcement of his candidacy. As his latest crack at squaring this particular circle, it’s — well, it’s only his latest crack. He said pretty much the same thing in February. His answer to Fox, as his previous speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, leaves behind several questions that both Jeb and his brother should someday answer.

Intelligence question

The intelligence was “faulty.” Who was responsible for the intelligence? The Bush administration, and not the senators who relied on the intelligence when they voted to authorize the war. Why was it wrong? There are certainly many, many critics of the run-up to the war who believe that the intelligence was heavily influenced — “cooked,” some say — by the desire of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to justify the war. Will candidate Jeb Bush be exploring the famous flaws in the evidence and how they came about?

Also, I don’t know how carefully Megyn Kelly prepared her questions, but Bush actually ignored her question. She asked him “knowing what we know now” whether he would have authorizing the war. We know now that the intelligence was “faulty.” Saying yes to that makes little sense, if you would have been starting a war that you know was based on faulty intelligence. He also “knows now” that the post-war restoration of order was botched. He is either engaging in magical thinking or he was prepared for a different question (“based on what was known at the time, would you have authorized the war”) and decided to answer the one he preferred rather than the one he was asked.

Clinton question

Hillary Clinton and “everybody” who saw the faulty intelligence would have authorized the war. On Hillary Clinton this is true. She needs to explain her vote to authorize the war and explain how she would avoid making such mistakes again in the future.

But “everybody” did not vote to authorize the war.

Twenty three senators (21 Democrats, one Republican and one independent) voted no. Both of Minnesota’s senators, Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton, voted no. Barack Obama, who was then running for the Senate, spoke against the resolution. Bernie Sanders, who was then in the House, voted no, as did three Minnesota members of the House (Betty McCollum, Martin Sabo and Jim Oberstar) and 128 other House members.

When I look at the list of Democrats who voted for the resolution, every one of them who subsequently ran for president voted “aye.” They are: Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman and Chris Dodd. I’ve always thought there was something sadly telling about this fact, that those with presidential ambitions all voted aye.

Blix question

Hans Blix. Hans Blix. Hans Blix. Forgive me. This is one of my personal obsessions. I’ve written about it before and I will probably write about it again. The evidence that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed. But the best evidence that he probably was hiding something was that Saddam had kicked out the international inspectors who were supposed to verify that he wasn’t hiding anything. And he wouldn’t let them back in.

Then he did. After the Senate had already voted and the war was imminent, Saddam allowed the U.N. inspection team back in and gave them complete freedom to look anywhere. (Bear in mind, Secretary of State Colin Powell had told the UNited Nations that the U.S. intelligence agencies not only knew what weapons Saddam was hiding but where he was hiding them.) Hans Blix of Sweden, head of the U.N. inspections team, went back in and was getting excellent cooperation from the Iraqis. He found no WMD. He asked for a little while longer to finish the work and verify that the WMD that had existed early had all been destroyed. But no, Blix and his inspectors had to be evacuated so they would not be killed by U.S. bombs.

This was months after Congress had voted to authorize the use of force and those senators who voted aye, including Sen. Clinton, did not have the benefit of Blix’s findings before they voted. It’s not clear from Jeb Bush’s exchange with Kelly whether her question — knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion — refers to what we knew before or after the U.N. inspectors had been allowed back in and had found no WMD.

The decision to ignore Blix — in fact to evacuate Blix and start the bombing — was George W. Bush’s. If Jeb Bush is saying that he would’ve authorized the invasion on that basis, it is different than the authorization the Senate had adopted.

I suspect he will not do this. Somehow or other, those who retrospectively want to justify the decision to bomb and invade and overthrow Saddam seem to get away with ignoring the Blix team’s findings. But if he wants to be honest and clear, Jeb Bush (and everyone else who still defend the decision to unleash the dogs of war) should clarify whether his answer includes the fact that when his brother made the final big decision to unleash the dogs of war, unbiased international inspectors had found that Saddam had, in fact, no WMD.

I haven’t seen the full Kelly interview, so perhaps she asked about Blix. But I’d be surprised. Can we really learn the right lessons of the Iraq War if we keep ignoring this?

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (40)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/11/2015 - 03:55 pm.

    The war was sold as a quick and easy venture that would pay for itself.

    A flower-strewn cakewalk.

    Well, it wasn’t.

    If the Bushes were willing to put in the quarter million (or more) troops that were a realistic estimate of need, could the war have been sold to the electorate?

    And the issue still remains–removal of Saddam benefited the Iranians the most.


    This answer will be a continuing wound to his candidacy.

    Hey, how about 3 Bushes, 3 wars?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/11/2015 - 06:01 pm.


      Not to mention all that Iraqi oil that was supposed to pay for the war
      (and is now financing ISIL).

    • Submitted by Steve Vigoren on 05/11/2015 - 07:10 pm.

      And so here we are,

      unable to find a way to extricate ourselves from a constant state of war, just less ‘boots on the ground’. And a presidential candidate can say with a straight face he would do it all over again, and still be considered a serious candidate. That is the unfortunate state of affairs we find ourselves in.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/11/2015 - 06:02 pm.

    Any good politician knows

    that you answer the question that you’re prepared to answer, not the one you were asked.
    Some just are more blatant about in than others.
    And the Bushes were never noted for subtlety.

  3. Submitted by Bill Willy on 05/11/2015 - 07:09 pm.

    The intelligence that we got

    What it says to me is, if Jeb Bush were elected we’d get just about the same level of personal intelligence we got when his brother and father were elected.

    Among other unbelievably stupid and destructive things, that included 70% of the pre-Obama National Debt (right around $7.5 Trillion between the two) that Republicans have been so hot to “get under control” since losing the presidency.

    They want to do that, of course, by increasing defense spending and cutting “entitlement” and “social programs” as opposed to raising taxes on people that run and invest in companies like Halliburton, that made $40 billion from the war via “fast-track, no-bid” contracts. And, coincidentally enough, the vice president was the CEO of Halliburton, just before resigning to become George Juniors running mate.

    Probably the only thing more bizarre than the prospect of Jeb Bush being elected president is the prospect of any of the others among the too-many-to-count field of “Republican hopefuls” getting the job.

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/11/2015 - 07:41 pm.


    ‘Bush’ and ‘intelligence’ in the same sentence.
    That is of course unfair to Poppy, who was far more competent than his offspring.

  5. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/11/2015 - 08:11 pm.

    A few comments

    “On March 7, 2003 Hans Blix reported accelerated cooperation throughout the month of February but it was still not “immediate” and “unconditional” as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1441.” This is from Wikipedia but it has a reference for this. So apparently, Saddam did not give inspectors “complete freedom to look anywhere.” And of course one at that time the obvious thing to think about was if Mr. Blix had any hidden agenda (he was against the war to begin with, the same as Russia and France, and not for the reason of not believing in WMD.

    Intelligence was faulty – but is was also British and French and Russian and almost everyone else’s so accusing Bush of “cooking” it is unfair. And of course praising those who voted against the war as visionaries is strange considering that most of them voted against just because it was a vote against Bush (remember that those who are against Iran deal now are accused of doing it to obstruct Obama’s policies).

    And finally, we should all realize that had Bush pulled the troops out of Iraq the day Saddam was caught, he would have been the hero for everyone in the world.

    Mr. Willy, how much debt did Obama add? And are you OK with Clinton who did vote for the war and helped her husband make hundreds of millions? Oh, and how intelligent was it to get rid of Qaddafi?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/12/2015 - 12:10 pm.

      Mr Gutman says….:praising those who voted against the war as visionaries is strange considering that most of them voted against just because it was a vote against Bush…

      In those strange days after 911, going counter to Bush was bring charges of being “anti-American” and “working for the terrorists”.

      It took real courage and principle to vote “no” on the Iraq war.

      Very unlike today, where the easiest vote is to vote against anything Obama proposes.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/11/2015 - 08:34 pm.

    Why would Saddam

    have been a hero?

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/11/2015 - 08:54 pm.

    To refresh everyone’s memory …

    The Gulf War of 1991 was never officially concluded. Saddam had continued to violate the ceasefire agreement including shooting at U.S. recon planes flying over Iranian military installations.

    Resolution 1441 stated that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq’s breaches related not only to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by its troops during the 1990–1991 invasion and occupation. It also stated that “…false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq’s obligations.”

    On 12 September 2002, (6 months prior to the invasion) U.S. President George W. Bush addressed the General Assembly and outlined a catalogue of complaints against the Iraqi government. These included:

    – In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq supports terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments….And al-Qaida terrorists escaped from Afghanistan are known to be in Iraq.”

    – The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001 found “extremely grave” human rights violations

    – Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction (biological weapons, chemical weapons, and long-range missiles), all in violation of U.N. resolutions.

    – Iraq used proceeds from the “oil for food” U.N. program to purchase weapons rather than food for its people.

    – Iraq flagrantly violated the terms of the weapons inspection program before discontinuing it altogether.

    It wasn’t just about the possibility of Saddam sharing his WMD with terrorists organizations under the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” doctrine, a plausible scenario but certainly not the only rationale.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/12/2015 - 09:28 am.


      And of course we have obeyed every U.N./Security Council action that we have not vetoed.
      And the last war that was formally declared by Congress was WWII.

  8. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 05/11/2015 - 09:03 pm.

    Not a Good Answer At All

    One more reason that I hope he isn’t the GOP nominee.

    I do have to take some issue with this though: “The intelligence was “faulty.” Who was responsible for the intelligence? The Bush administration, and not the senators who relied on the intelligence when they voted to authorize the war.”
    The intelligence available said the same things that it said during the Clinton years. Then President Bill Clinton said that he believed it and there is no reason whatsoever to think that Hillary had reason to doubt it either. IIRC, intelligence agencies from around the world believed that Hussein had WMD and was lying to inspectors. That makes the argument that this was all cooked up by Cheney et al much more difficult.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/12/2015 - 08:51 am.

      It’s Clinton’s Fault!

      “The intelligence available said the same things that it said during the Clinton years. Then President Bill Clinton said that he believed it and there is no reason whatsoever to think that Hillary had reason to doubt it either.”

      Did Bill Clinton take us into war over faulty intelligence? I know it is difficult–if not impossible–to let any story about the presidency pass without a derisive reference to the Clintons (“Hillary would have done the same thing–I just know it!”), but the fact is that it was George W. Bush who got the country involved in a seemingly endless war based on faulty intelligence. The buck stops there (“The buck? What about all the bucks from the Clinton Foundation?”).

      “[I]ntelligence agencies from around the world believed . . .” At one point, they may have done so. The US did not allow inspections to be completed, so they really didn’t want to know. The intelligence presented was what the administration wanted to hear.

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 05/13/2015 - 07:14 am.


        If you look back, I actually wasn’t dinging the Clintons on this at all. The intelligence community believed that Iraq had WMD (or WMD capability) and was at some level trying to develop nukes. That was the US intelligence and those around the world. The idea that Hussein was a threat predates the Bush administration. The information that Bush had was fundamentally the same as what Bill Clinton had while he was president and I see no reason to think that Hillary Clinton would have gone in a different direction.
        I honestly don’t know how a third Clinton administration (or a Gore administration) would have dealt with the world after 9/11. The evidence from the time (speeches and votes) say that Hillary supported going to war. But yes, it was the Bush admin that actually made the decision and they deserve plenty of criticism for that.

        “The intelligence presented was what the administration wanted to hear.” If this is true, then there should have been some shift between presidencies. There wasn’t one.
        My take on this is different. The intelligence community had so long believed in Iraqi WMD that it became something of a ‘fact’ to them. Instead of treating it with the uncertainty that it deserved, it became a believed in thing. Every hard piece of data that came in later was judged against that belief. Widespread confirmation bias reigned and there we were.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/13/2015 - 01:47 pm.

          What Bush had

          Bush may have been given the same information as Clinton, but there was a time gap. The situation on the groud changes constantly, so saying Bush was told the same thing as Clinton was does not lead to a conclusion that the intelligence was not faulty.

          • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 05/13/2015 - 02:53 pm.

            Time Gap

            Well of course the intelligence was faulty! Bush was told that Iraq had WMDs and they didn’t. This was the same thing that Clinton was told. This is the same intelligence that the Senators and House members were given. Even as the situation on the ground changed, the overall intelligence belief did not.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/13/2015 - 03:21 pm.

              Time Gap

              I’m not sure I see your point.

              If later intelligence is the same as earlier, faulty intelligence that points to a bigger problem. Did intelligence gathering in Iraq stop at a certain point? If it did, that is a very bad reflection on the intelligence community. If it did not stop, but continued to reach the same untrue conclusion, that is just as bad.

              • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 05/13/2015 - 09:22 pm.


                Well yeah, that’s my point. The intelligence community came to the wrong conclusion and then confirmation bias moved in and they couldn’t correct it. This is a very real problem and I don’t know how much work has been done to fix it.
                One of the obstacles to that fix has been a very loud group of people that need to believe that Bush lied.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/14/2015 - 11:44 am.

                  “One of the obstacles . . .”

                  Sorry, that makes no sense. “We can’t reform intelligence-gathering, because we have to believe Bush lied.”

                  That’s an excuse, not a reason.

                  • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 05/16/2015 - 07:44 am.


                    The obstacle is that some people need so badly to believe that the evil ol’ W Bush lied us into war, that there has been urgency in fixing the actual problem.
                    This isn’t limited to the Iraq intelligence either. How much has been written on the recession that didn’t involve assigning political blame? It’s either ‘Bush caused the meltdown’ or ‘gov’t agencies caused the housing bubble’. The dire NEED to assign blame has kept us from understanding what actually happened and most importantly, how to avoid it in the future.
                    We should be having a discussion on how much the stimulus spending helped. We should be talking about whether the money was spent in the right places. We can’t really do either because that would be seen as a criticism of Obama and any talks would break down into attacks along predictable lines.
                    I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to come up with other examples. This is a real problem.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 05/18/2015 - 09:58 am.

                      Actually, we know the stimulus did what it was supposed to, there just wasn’t enough of it because they didn’t realize how big the problem was. At the time the stimulus passed, they believed the economy was contracting at a 3% rate when it actually was contracting at nearly a 9% rate.

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/11/2015 - 09:13 pm.

    A few points

    Mr. Gutman, how much did George W. Bush (hereafter referred to as “the shrub”) add to the national debt? Let’s compare that to the amount Mr. Obama has added.

    The Clintons have behaved as any self-respecting Republican would behave. They’ve done their best to capitalize on name recognition and publicity,, and at least they’ve had the decency to wait until Bill was out of office to overtly take the path of self-aggrandizement. The fact that Hillary can help her husband make “hundreds of millions” (source, please) ought to be seen as laudatory by people who like to call themselves “conservative.”

    While we wait for those, please enlighten us about Mr. Qaddafi.

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/12/2015 - 08:15 am.

    But in the end, this cooks the current Bush candidate’s goose.

    Another situation where a massive “night is day”, “black is white” Orwellian campaign is required to get someone elected.

    But all along the way, old passions and enmities aroused.

    Not good, dredging up the past like this.

    Next thin you know, Bush 3 will have to explain what forms of torture he thinks are acceptable and which are not.

    Too many pitfalls, too many doors to be opened.

    Not a way to 50.1% of the electorate, especially when a majority have thought for years that it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq.

    All the while the Mideast remains in flames.

    Sure, war again–first under a CIA spook, then under a cowboy, and next, a hedge-fund manager. That’s what America wants and needs.

  11. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/12/2015 - 09:06 am.

    The real question was

    Is there evidence of an imminent threat to the United States? Even if everything else the Bush administration claimed was true, there was no threat of imminent danger to the U.S. Thus, there was no legitimate basis to make all-out war against Iraq, to invade or to occupy.

    Someone should ask Jeb (and other candidates of either major party) whether they believed there was such a threat and why.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/12/2015 - 10:04 am.

      Informal Amendment

      the meaning of ‘Threats to the United States’
      has been broadened to include economic threats.
      This makes sense in the context of corporations being defined as individuals.
      That’s who was threatened by Iraq.

  12. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/12/2015 - 09:15 am.

    The Challenging Thought I’m Forced to Consider is This

    How would Mitt Romney have done if he’d been able to get the votes of all those “Christian” “Conservatives,”

    who just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a Mormon,…

    or Obama,…

    so they just stayed home.

    Jeb Bush, having the advantage of BEING a Bush,…

    for the big money crowd who love the Bushes,…

    because they’ll borrow huge amounts of federal money, with ZERO plans to pay it back,…

    in order to pay for BIG military and other private contracts which will line the pockets of those rich friends,…

    and, of course DE-regulate the Wall Street Casino again to allow for much higher stakes gambling (and skimming off the profits into the Jamie Dimon’s of the Street’s pockets,…

    and the America NEEDS to start slapping the world around, again in order to make it “safe” for people like them, crowd,…

    (because that’s probably how their daddy ran the family they grew up in),…

    and without that Mormon problem, Jeb may very well be able to pull that dysfunctional Republican coalition back together one more time,…

    in order to pull off a win for “their team.”

    Of course, if he works the same run-up-the-federal-deficit-and-debt miracles that Ronnie Raygun and Jeb’s brother George did,…

    starts a war late in his first term to ensure a second term,…

    and wipes out the Affordable Care Act,…

    it’s likely NO Democratic president will be able to rebuild the figurative smoking hole he’ll leave behind where the United States used to be.

  13. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/12/2015 - 04:57 pm.

    Thought that this Bush

    Was somewhat smarter than his brother George. No more

  14. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/12/2015 - 09:21 pm.

    A few more

    Mr. Rovick, how do you know what the reason to vote ‘no’ was for all those people? Remember that it was not 2001 anymore but 2003… You just assume the best because those people are your people. But in politics it is usually the worst assumption which is correct so I will stick to my explanation.

    Mr. Holbrook, Bill Clinton took us to war (in Yugoslavia) for no reason at all since no intelligence indicates that there was any threat to America coming from there. He also did it without UNSC authorization if I remember correctly… He also did NOT take us to war in Afghanistan preferring to fire a few missiles thus giving bin Laden a free hand. As for intelligence, it was coming from all over the world, including France and Russia who did not want that war… And does America need another “reset” with Russia and another Libya?

    Mr. Schoch, national debt growth from 2000 to 2008: 4.5 trillion (55% to 68% of GDP); from 2009 to 2014: 7.5 trillion (68% to 101% of GDP) Is this the information you were looking for?
    Mr. Bush stayed away from politics and public scene after his term while Clinton jumped into it to make money and keep his name recognized. Sure, you may say that this is as Republican behavior as anyone’s making money but usually those people are vilified by Democrats for making that money; so how come the Clintons are the exception (along with all Hollywood elite)?

    A proof of “hundreds of millions” earned? Here it is: And that was two years ago…

    What kind of information do you need about Kaddafi? That he was no threat to America and yet Obama killed him (OK, indirectly)? That without him Libya is a mess and became a threat to America?

    Mr. Hamilton, was there any threat to America from former Yugoslavia? From Libya? So the difference is that Clinton and Obama bombed those countries and didn’t try to help them. Bush bombed Iraq and tried to help after that…

    Mr. Kappahahn, can you explain what you were talking about? The only thing clear is that you are against the Bushes, and Reagan, and Romney, and the wealthy, and so on… What are you for? The wealthy Clintons?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/13/2015 - 01:49 pm.

      The war in Yugoslavia–more accurately, Kosovo–was a so-called humanitarian war, under the imprimatur of NATO. The idea was to stop genocide before it spread too far (kind of like if Britain had attacked Germany in 1938).

  15. Submitted by Bill Willy on 05/13/2015 - 02:53 am.

    One million, to five million, million dollars

    The people elected to represent us and do the best possible job maximizing America’s resources decided it was imperative that “We the people” (meaning ALL of us: Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Tea Party people, and non-political Americans alike) invest “whatever it takes” of those resources on an undeclared “War on Terror.”

    “Estimates vary,” but here’s a typical example (from 2011) that appears to be the widely-accepted case when it comes to American’s (tax-free credit card) spending on that war since September 11th, 2001:

    “Last week, the Pentagon told you the costs of the war on terror had eclipsed $1 trillion. Wednesday morning, a panel of academics experienced in war accounting says that’s only a down payment — and that its real, total cost is around $5 trillion.”

    People think and talk about gigantic numbers like those like they’re clearly understood parts of a simple equation, much the same way we understand our personal income and monthly expenses. But I’m not so sure many of us actually have a clear idea of just how much money is involved, or how off-the-charts expensive the “War on Terror” has been and still is.

    Not to bother with “obvious things we all know,” but as a quick reminder, one billion equals 1,000 million, and one trillion equals 1,000 billion.

    In terms of value, and how that relates to the question of, “What have we gotten for our money?” or “What has our return on the investment been?” or “How ELSE could we have invested those millions of millions, thousands of billions, or trillions of dollars?” here are a few examples:

    Road and bridge work (we can’t seem to afford anymore):

    “The final estimate of the cost of the Interstate System was issued in 1991. It estimated that the total cost would be $128.9 billion, with a Federal share of $114.3 billion. This estimate covered only the mileage (42,795 miles) built under the Interstate Construction Program.”

    42,795 miles of Interstate highways like 35W and I-94 (the ENTIRE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM) got built for the cost of a little more than one year’s worth of the “War on terror.” But, for some reason, congress can’t seem to bring itself to invest a DIME in that kind of thing these days.

    Or what if we decided it might be a good idea to beef up our passenger rail systems?

    “Just getting air-conditioning to troops in Afghanistan, including transport and maintenance, costs $20 billion per year, retired Brig. Gen. Steve Anderson told National Public Radio recently. That’s half the amount that the federal government has spent on Amtrak over 40 years.”

    And how about that stuff everyone seems to agree is “The most important investment we can make in our future”?

    “The United States spent an average of $10,608 per pupil educating its young people in the nation’s elementary-secondary school systems in fiscal 2012.” (Minnesota spent $10,796 per pupil in 2012.)

    “In Afghanistan, the cost per service member climbed from $507,000 in fiscal year 2009 to $667,000 the following year, according to the Congressional Research Service. Fiscal year 2011 costs are expected to reach $694,000 per service member, even as the U.S. military begins drawing down 33,000 of the 99,000 troops there.”

    $600,000 per soldier, $10,000 per student. Are we getting 60 times the return on our investment in soldiers than we are on our investment in students, our supposedly most important investment?

    And on and on like that it goes… We can’t afford to fix our roads or maintain or improve our infrastructure in general. We can’t afford to, say, double the amount we spend on each Minnesota kid’s education (to $20,000 per year), and we just HAVE to cut $1 billion from the MN Health and Human Services budget, including getting rid of MinnesotaCare, because, some say, “It’s unsustainable.”

    Et cetera.

    Yet no one bats much more than half an eye when THOUSANDS of times the cost of ALL those things are being poured down the drain of war because… because… because why?

    Someone please explain why the “War on Terror” has been a good, intelligent investment. Please explain what we’ve gotten for our money, or how the return on our one, to five, trillion dollar investment is paying off – generating “profits” that are being re-invested in things like infrastructure, education, health care, or private sector non-military business development, expansion, etc., that results in more jobs, higher wages, and general “prosperity for all” (who have MADE that investment).

    Forget about all the exploded local neighborhood real estate (homes, stores, government buildings, etc.), its infrastructure and dead people. Just keep it confined to economics and tell me why that $1 Trillion to $5 Trillion “War on Terror” investment we’ve all made has been a wise, conservative investment, and not the (Mount Rushmore-worthy) monumentally UNintelligent and destructive investment I keep thinking it has been.

    Really. Go ahead. Explain it to me.

    And, while you’re at it, explain to me why you would vote for anyone that calls themselves a “conservative” and says they’d do the same thing, or anything similar, “given what we know now.”

  16. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/13/2015 - 03:24 pm.

    And what was the question again?

    In a media interview yesterday Shrub 2 backed away from his initial response as not understanding the ‘question’ ?

    So if he could not follow or understand the original media question two days ago, how is he going to “understand ‘ if he were to become man of the hour responsible for considering the fate of this nation’s next move while lounging in the lead office chair in the Oval office?

    It is not the clothes you wear or the investments you acquire – or the wealthy investors that support you. We need a wise president

    Obama has done well on most issues…but another from the Bush league? Scary indeed, though others may think otherwise

  17. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/13/2015 - 10:22 pm.


    Mr. Holbrook, first of all, Clinton bombed Yugoslavia twice: in 1995 and 1999. Second, since when does the NATO have the power to decide who to bomb if it is not itself attacked? And third, Saddam killed more of his own people than Serbs killed Kosovars so why don’t you consider Iraq war a humanitarian one?

    Mr. Willy, imagine that you live in a very rough neighborhood where everyone hates everyone. Would you consider buying a gun a good investment even though it will not give you any monetary return… except your own life, of course? Consider that the war on terror is pretty similar – it is a tool to survive and no return is expected except being able to keep living. And yes, that is exactly the reason NOT to vote for those who want to give the weapons away and negotiate with the terrorists and murderers…

    Ms. Beryl-Knutson, can you tell me where Obama did well? And how come another Clinton (who just prefers to ignore unpleasant questions) doesn’t look scary?

  18. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/14/2015 - 10:02 am.

    Gutman,believe in yourself and recognize the possibility that…

    truth lies at times in the words of others; my best advice hey.

    Where did Obama do well Gutman asks…well Obama brought the majority of our military home; the live ones that is… the dead returned earlier under the Bush debacle….

    Affordable health care should have been Wellstone’s single payer plan but Obama managed to get at least some positive improvement considering all the Republican compromises made in order to pass.

    Obama is an honest man and if there is any criticism from here is that he tried to hard to reach across the proverbial aisle and forgot to realize that the majority of Bushites care only for their own wee successes and to h..with anybody else.

    I don’t debate…call it a character flaw …I sincerely believe in allowing others to think for themselves whatever their political limitations?

    And as to Hillary, she is not my favorite candidate; personally appears as self- ambitious as Jeb unless she changes, grows, whatever.

    footnote:do not appreciate your style of lining people up like a firing squad with same old interrogative rhetoric; is not very persuasive, no sir. But again, to each his own?

    You vote, I vote and we will all have to live with the outcome…so keep on firing away ; your style I suppose… enough said

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 05/15/2015 - 06:40 pm.

      Let’s see

      MS. Beryl-Knutson, sure, Obama brought the majority of our military from Iraq home… based on the agreement that Bush signed and he did not evaluate based on reality… with the result that more military now goes back to deal with ISIS and we have terrorism problems at home and more abroad coming from Libya which Obama bombed for no reason… and he also empowered Iran with the result that Assad is killing his people and Yemen is a battleground between Iran and Saudi Arabia…. And Obama let Russia grab Ukraine with his “reset” policy… OK, I can continue but I am tired.

      Affordable health care was shoved down people’s throat and I think not a single Republican voted for that – so much for Obama’s compromises. And Obama’s being an honest man? How about promises he made and never kept? The most open White House in history? You can keep your doctor? Red line for Assad? And now about killing bin Laden? Should I continue?

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2015 - 12:59 pm.

    You lost me…

    When I saw the words: “Jeb Bush”.

Leave a Reply