Bush Makes Mistake By Saying “Mistakes Were Made”

Brother Benen absolutely nails the familial pattern in Jeb Bush’s choice of words, in his Big Foreign Policy Speech:

In 1986, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush offered an unsatisfying, passive-voice explanation for the Iran-Contra scandal in which the Reagan administration sold weapons to Iran in order to finance an illegal war on Nicaragua.

“Clearly, mistakes were made,” Bush said.

In 2004, then-President George W. Bush offered an eerily similar unsatisfying, passive-voice explanation for the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which U.S. officials tortured detainees at an Iraqi prison:

“It’s also important for the people of Iraq to know that in a democracy, everything is not perfect, that mistakes are made,” Bush said.

In 2015, former Gov. Jeb Bush offered a practically identical, unsatisfying, passive-voice explanation for his brother’s catastrophic war in Iraq, launched under false pretenses, and bungled every step of the way.

“Let’s go to Iraq,” Bush said during the Q&A at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “There were mistakes made in Iraq, for sure.

One family, multiple scandals, one phrase.

It’s more than a little unfortunate Jebbie fell into this habit (itself a sign of someone who has trouble accepting or assigning responsibility) after a speech that was telegraphed as declaring his independence from the foreign policy legacy of his father and his brother. I mean, what can he do for an encore? Say “read my lips, no tax increase”? Start babbling about strategery?

Donate Now to the Washington Monthly and your gift will be doubled

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.