Rubio: Iraq invasion 'was not a mistake'

Rubio: Iraq invasion 'was not a mistake'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioReport: VA drug thefts not going away Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer McConnell on Trump: 'We could do with a little less drama' MORE (R-Fla.) said on Sunday that he thought former President George W. Bush had acted correctly by authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq based on facts known at the time.

ADVERTISEMENT
“It was not a mistake for the president to go into Iraq based on the information that he was provided as president,” Rubio told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“He wasn’t dealing with a Nobel Peace Prize winner,” Rubio said of the second Bush administration’s struggles with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

“The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein is not there,” Rubio added of the invasion’s aftermath.

Rubio, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said that the second Bush administration acted on the best available intelligence it had at the time.

That analysis, he added, initially implied that Iraq had obtained weapons of mass destruction.

“It was governed by a man who in the past had committed atrocities with weapons of mass destruction,” Rubio said of Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Rubio said it was unfair to criticize former President George W. Bush’s decision simply because Iraq’s stockpile of weapons of mass destruction never materialized.

“Presidents don’t have the benefit of hindsight,” he said. “A president can’t make a decision based on what someone might know in the future.”

The topic of authorizing the controversial invasion plagued former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) all last week while he weighs his own 2016 bid.

Should he run, Iraq could become a major campaign issue, given Jeb Bush’s older brother launched the unpopular military operation.

Jeb Bush first raised eyebrows last Sunday when he said during an interview that he would have made the same decision as his brother, given what is known now.

“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everyone,” Bush told Fox News host Megyn Kelly in an interview that aired Monday on the “The Kelly File.”

“And so would almost everybody that was confronted with intelligence they got,” he said.

Jeb Bush reversed course last Thursday after encountering fierce backlash for those remarks.

“I would have not have engaged, I would not have gone into Iraq,” he said.

“That’s not to say the world isn’t significantly safer because Saddam Hussein is gone – it is significantly safer,” the former Florida governor added.