The White House has brushed off former President George W. Bush’s recent criticisms of the President Brack Obama’s foreign policy, saying that al-Qaeda-linked militants were not in Iraq before the 2003 invasion of the country by Bush.
“I do think that we’ve made the case aggressively before, and I think that’s backed up by extensive evidence, that there are links between al Qaeda … and ISIL. And the fact is al Qaeda was not in Iraq prior to President Bush’s decision to commit significant American military resources on the ground in that country,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.
During a closed-door gathering of Jewish donors over the weekend, Bush said Obama withdrew American troops from Iraq too quickly in 2011 and paved the way for ISIL. He also urged Obama not to remove sanctions imposed against Iran over the country’s nuclear program following a possible final agreement.
“In order to be an effective president… when you say something, you have to mean it,” Bush said at the Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas.
Earnest also tweaked Bush by suggesting Obama was elected primarily as a result of the American public rebuking the Bush administration’s foreign policy decisions.
“The fact that President Bush has a different perspective and a different philosophy when it comes to foreign policy, isn’t just a well-known difference [between them],” he added. “In the minds of many people, it’s the principle reason that President Obama is sitting in the Oval Office right now.