Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday, Marco Rubio said he wouldn't have been in favor of the Iraq War knowing what we know today:
"Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it," said Rubio.
Asked whether the war was a mistake on The Five in March 2015, Rubio said it wasn't a mistake:
ROGINSKY: "Was it a mistake to go to war to Iraq?
RUBIO: No, I don't believe it was. The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein does not in Iraq. Here's what I think might have happened, had we not gone in . And you might had an arms race to put Iraq in Iran, they are both would purse the weapon. I will be dealing with two problems, not just one. We forget that Iraq, at the time of the invasion, was in open defiance of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. That the United Nations refused to enforce. They were, they were, they were refused to comply with allowing inspectors in. Repeatedly, this was a country whose leader had gassed his own people on numerous occasions. So I think, hindsight is always 20/20, but we don't know what the world would look like if Saddam Hussein were still there. But I doubt it would look better in terms of -- it will be worst -- or we are just bad for different reasons. I think it's very difficult to predict, I think -- a better notion is, at the end of the Iraq war, Iraq had an opportunity to have a stable, peaceful future. The U.S. pulled out, completely abandoning it to Maliki, who then proceeded to move forward on these very aggressive strategies against the Sunni. Creating the intellectual and -- environment, that allowed ISIS to come back in and take advantage of what's happening
Bush previously said last year invading Iraq was the right decision.
"No, I think it was the right decision," President Bush said. "My regret is that -- a violent group of people have risen up again. This is 'Al Qaeda plus.' I put it in the book, they need to be defeated. And I hope we do. It's - I hope that the strategy works."
Rubio's remarks on The Five are similar to ones he made in 2010 during a debate, though he was then asked a slightly different question:
SMITH: Mr. Rubio, is — is America safer and better off for having gone to war in Iraq?
RUBIO: I think the answer ultimately is yes. First of all, the world is better off because Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge in Iraq. And I think we have to remind ourselves of that, is that the world is a better and safer place because Saddam Hussein no longer is in charge of that country.
Let's understand one thing. Right now, we are worried about Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. Well, if Saddam Hussein was still there, and you know the relationship and the long history between Iraq and Iran, you'd have two nations in a full-blown arms war, the way you've seen, for example, between Pakistan and India.
So the world is a better and safer place, and not to mention the Iraqi people are better off than they were under Saddam Hussein. There's no doubt that Iraq has a long way to go. You know, there are a lot of issues that that society and that that nation-state faces. But it is better off today than it was when Saddam Hussein…
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
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