From the same group of foreign policy thinkers that brought us the US quagmire in Iraq, now we are told that war in Syria is a must. Jeb Bush, allegedly a rational thinker according to many in the media and Republican pundits. Bush’s words are never based on anything but a political calculation. Let’s look at this week’s claim about Syrian refugees.
At a minimum we ought to be bringing in people that have — orphans or people that clearly aren’t going to be terrorists. Or Christians,” Bush said during a campaign stop South Carolina. “There are no Christian terrorists in the Middle East, they’re persecuted.”
Bush here plays politics to the evangelical-dominated primary electorate in South Carolina – the same state where his brother saved his 2000 Presidential campaign by smearing John McCain and visiting Bob Jones University. Bush did not acknowledge that Christians were treated as first-class citizens in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, in fact in many cases holding high government positions. But the neo-conservtaive desire to oust Hussein, which was executed by Bush’s brother at the cost of 5,000, tens of thousands of wounded Americans and a rising national deficit led to Christians being less safe in Iraq. Neoconservatives in the United States led by Lindsey Graham have pushed for regime change in Syria, where close to 100% of Christians backed Assad’s Government. The destabilization of Syria which began with CIA backed and trained rebels wanting to oust Assad had made Christians less safe.
The shift of the Middle East from Pan-Arabism to Islamism has been largely due to the United States meddling in the region. Pan-Arabism was a secular movement based largely around nationalism and a common identity – which is why Christians featured prominently in those governments.
Jeb Bush though has never been wed to the truth. Whether it was manipulating statistical data about education in Florida to get a desired ideological outcome, overreacting to the Terry Schiavo case or blowing up at reporters that dared to challenge him, Bush is a reactionary whose PR team has done a brilliant job of selling him to less seasoned reporters and mainstream Republicans as “rational” and “reasonable.”
Since the former Florida Governor has such a loose relationship with the truth, who knows what will come out of his mouth next? Just last months as The Atlantic’s Pieter Bienhart notes, Bush essentially created his own reality regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal. Bush’s reality was based on reactionary hyperbole, the type you see from pundits on Twitter and ideological talking points.
Time and again throughout his career, Jeb Bush has been wed to something less than the truth for political reasons – now as his Presidential Campaign attempts to regain relevance, he is especially desperate and willing to say anything in order to gain attention.