George W. Bush was given the opportunity to criticize Obama on Islamic State and Iraq. Here's how he handled it. | - FACTOIDS
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George W. Bush was given the opportunity to criticize Obama on Islamic State and Iraq. Here's how he handled it. |

Former President George W. Bush declined to criticize President Obama’s handling of Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State, the terrorist group that has captured large swaths of land in the Middle East, opting instead to respect the difficulties associated with the office.

“The president has to make the choices he thinks are important,” Bush said during a Fox News interview that aired Thursday. “I’m not going to second guess our president. I understand how tough the job is. To have a former president bloviating and second-guessing is, I don’t think, good for the presidency or the country.”

But that’s not to say that Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade didn’t try to coax an “I told you so” moment from Bush, who has warned in the past that withdrawing from Iraq without leaving some U.S. troops to ensure a smooth transition could end in disaster.


“I tell people all the time — off the record, by the way — that [former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s] relatives were enslaved in the greatest democracy ever for 100 years,” he added. “Democracy takes time to take hold. Yet there is an impatience with that process. Americans have got to understand that the lesson of [the September 2001 terrorist attacks] is still important today as it was right after 9/11, and that is the human condition elsewhere matters to our national security.”

The former president also noted the fact that the Islamic State has been able to capture much of Iraq, requiring a response from the U.S., shows the country has a long way to go in establishing peace for its people.

"The Iraqi people obviously are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they want to live in peace," Bush said. "They're not ready to do it on their own, and that's the lesson we've learned recently."

The president was also asked how he knew that Iraq would fall to pieces if the U.S. withdrew without leaving behind a contingency to ensure a peaceful transition. He answered: "I know the nature of the enemy."

"Anybody who kills 3,000 innocents and beheads people because of their religion or because of their point of view is dangerous," he said.


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