Jeb Bush said more soldiers and marines “may well be needed” in Iraq as he laid out a muscular approach to defeating the Islamic State Tuesday night, calling for embedding troops with Iraqi forces as he sought to lay the blame for the terrorist group’s emergence on President Barack Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Iraq war has bedeviled his campaign, but Bush sought to turn the tables, blaming Clinton and the Obama administration for allowing the Islamic State to grow by pulling out troops and leaving Iraq in a “blind haste.”
“They believe in soft power,” Bush said. “I don’t have a problem with soft power, as long as there is hard power behind it.”
At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Bush laid out a more detailed plan for fighting the terrorist group than any of his Republican presidential rivals. But his speech carried risks, with Clinton’s campaign calling it a “bold attempt to rewrite history and reassign responsibility.” And he called for stepped up military involvement in Iraq and in Syria, including air strikes and enforcing a no-fly zone.