In a major foreign policy speech this week, Jeb Bush forcefully argued that the current problems in Iraq -- especially increasing violence and the rise of the Islamic State -- are due to President Barack Obama, supported by his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
That argument forecasts Bush's hopes of being the Republican nominee who takes on Clinton and the Democrats in November 2016.
But Bush's look back at U.S. failures in Iraq doesn't tell the whole story. A review by PolitiFact shows he leaves out some key turning points.
"Why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?" Bush asked. "That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well. ISIS grew while the United States disengaged from the Middle East and ignored the threat."
That's a very selective reading of the facts about Iraq. First of all, we know the timetable to leave was in place when Obama took office. We also know elements of ISIS existed long before the U.S. troop withdrawal, all the way back to when President George W. Bush launched the Iraq war. Finally, Clinton's role isn't nearly as clear-cut as Jeb Bush suggested.