Trying to distance himself from the foreign policy failures of his father and brother, Jeb Bush declared that he is “his own man” this week. Those words were carefully crafted to reassure 2016 voters that, if elected, Jeb wouldn’t make the same diplomatic and military mistakes as the two Bushes that preceded him into the White House.
Voters can surely appreciate Jeb Bush’s tacit admission that both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush failed in the realm of foreign policy. However, actions speak louder than words. Voters, therefore, may have cause for concern. Despite Jeb Bush’s assertion that he is “his own man”, his foreign policy team is made up largely of former advisers to his father and his brother. His decision to assemble a foreign policy team from the ranks of the former Bush presidencies should give voters pause to question whether a Jeb Bush White House would be any different than a George Bush White House.
Jeb Bush is being advised by a foreign policy team that reads like a “who’s who” list of former Bush administration neo-conservatives. Jeb is letting many of the architects of the Iraq War have a seat at his foreign policy advice table. Jeb Bush’s foreign policy team includes controversial hawks like former U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte and former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
Stephen Hadley, one of George W Bush’s National Security Advisors, is also part of Jeb’s foreign policy team. So is Meghan O’Sullivan, who helped Hadley advise Dubya on Iraq War policy. Jeb Bush is also recycling George W. Bush’s Homeland Security advisors, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff. In addition, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the Bush-Cheney administration’s torture program, Jeb is being advised by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. He also is soliciting advice from two of George W. Bush’s CIA Directors, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden.
In addition to drawing from his brother’s old team, Jeb is also enlisting the support of people who advised his father, George H.W. Bush. Former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Schultz, are two of the more prominent members of Jeb’s foreign policy advisory team. While the Reagan-Bush era foreign policy advisers are likely to be less controversial than the Bush-Cheney neo-cons, they still offer little to support Jeb’s assertion that he is “his own man”.
While Jeb Bush talks about being independent, his willingness to surround himself with the same faces that presided over the Persian Gulf War and the ill-fated Iraq War, leaves voters with little reason to trust the man who hopes to be the next Bush President. The simple fact that Jeb Bush is willingly taking advice from the very people who pushed America into the Iraq War under false pretenses is enough to disqualify him from being elevated to Commander-in-Chief of the nations’ Armed Forces. The nation can not afford another Bush presidency. Nor can the rest of the world.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.