Presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is the keynote speaker at tonight’s sold out event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. His remarks will concentrate on foreign policy and will question the role of our then-Secretary of State in the Middle East: “Where was Hillary Clinton?”
Excerpts of Governor Bush’s prepared remarks (from Jeb Bush: Where was Hillary Clinton?):
—Despite elaborate efforts by the administration to avoid even calling it by name, one of the very gravest threats we face today comes from radical Islamic terrorists.
The terrorists are possessed by the same violent ideology that gave us 9/11, and they are on the offensive and gaining ground.
It is not true, and was wishful thinking by the Administration to claim, that “the tide of war is receding.”
The reality is that radical Islam has been spreading like a pandemic – across the Middle East, throughout Africa and to parts of Asia, even in the nations of the West, finding recruits in Europe and the United States.
—”What we are facing in ISIS and its ideology is, to borrow a phrase, the focus of evil in the modern world.
“And civilized nations everywhere, especially those with power, have a duty to oppose and defeat this enemy.”
—”So 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?
“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.
“And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge…then joined in claiming credit for its success … then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.
“In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once.
“Who can seriously argue that America and our friends are safer today than in 2009, when the President and Secretary Clinton – the storied “team of rivals” – took office?
“So eager to be the history-makers, they failed to be the peacemakers.
“It was a case of blind haste to get out, and to call the tragic consequences somebody else’s problem.
“Rushing away from danger can be every bit as unwise as rushing into danger, and the costs have been grievous.”
—”The threat of global jihad, and of the Islamic State in particular, requires all the strength, unity, and confidence that only American leadership can provide.
“Radical Islam is a threat we are entirely capable of overcoming, and I will be unyielding in that cause should I be elected President of the United States.
“We should pursue the clear and unequivocal objective of throwing back the barbarians of ISIS, and helping the millions in the region who want to live in peace.
“Instead of simply reacting to each new move the terrorists choose to make, we will use every advantage we have – to take the offensive, to keep it, and to prevail.
“In all of this, the United States must engage with friends and allies, and lead again in that vital region.”
—”We are in the seventh year of a significant dismantling of our own military, in almost inverse proportion to the threats that are multiplying.
“And I assure you: the day that I become president will be the day that we turn this around, and begin rebuilding the armed forces of the United States.
“A winning strategy against the Islamic State, or against any threat to ourselves and our friends, depends ultimately on the military strength that underwrites American influence.”
—”For generations, American-led alliances, American diplomacy, and American credibility deterred aggression and defended the peace.
“This is the way forward in our time as well, led by a president who is resolute – as I will be – in the defeat of radical Islamic terrorism wherever it appears.
“We can protect our people, put adversaries back in retreat, get things moving our way again, and win back the momentum for freedom’s cause.”