Paris, March 25, 2015 — The first foreign policy speech given by a major Republican presidential prospect, Jeb Bush, in mid-February, was notable for its display of ignorance about the world and its menaces — unfortunately a common Republican characteristic. Among these was the claim that the army of the Islamic State numbers some 200,000 men under arms, ten times the number generally accepted in professional and intelligence circles.
Mr. Bush also said the Islamic State is a new phenomenon. Actually, it derives from the so-called al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, whose existence in 2003 was notoriously cited in Washington as a motive for invading Iraq.
Jeb Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, is on record as blaming Barack Obama for the continuing shambolic condition of Iraq, claiming that Obama refused to keep American troops there after 2011. In fact, Obama had nothing to do with it. The U.S. withdrawal was dictated by the 2008 Iraq-U.S. agreement signed by the Iraqi government and by George W. himself.
Despite these errors, Jeb Bush is better informed than most members of his myth-addicted party. Consider the credulity and ignorance Republicans displayed at the congressional address of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Netanyahu delivered a twisted discourse on the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, congressional Republicans cheered as if he, rather than Barack Obama, were President of the United States.