Jeb Bush got an unexpected verbal smackdown by a college student after a town hall meeting this morning.
When the meeting concluded, Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old political science major at the University of Nevada, shouted out, “Governor Bush, would you take a student question?”
Ziedrich had questions for Bush, because during the meeting, he said that America’s retreat from the Middle East under President Obama had contributed to the growing power of the Islamic State.
The student told Bush that he was wrong, and proceeded to make the case that blame lay with the decision by the administration of his brother George W. Bush to disband the Iraqi Army.
Here’s how the conversation went, as reported by Michael Barbaro of The New York Times:
“It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military were forced out — they had no employment, they had no income, and they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons,” Ms. Ziedrich said.
She added: “Your brother created ISIS.”
Mr. Bush interjected. “All right. Is that a question?”
Ms. Ziedrich was not finished. “You don’t need to be pedantic to me, sir.”
“Pedantic? Wow,” Mr. Bush replied.
Then Ms. Ziedrich asked: “Why are you saying that ISIS was created by us not having a presence in the Middle East when it’s pointless wars where we send young American men to die for the idea of American exceptionalism? Why are you spouting nationalist rhetoric to get us involved in more wars?”
Mr. Bush replied: “We respectfully disagree. We have a disagreement. When we left Iraq, security had been arranged, Al Qaeda had been taken out. There was a fragile system that could have been brought up to eliminate the sectarian violence.”
He added: “And we had an agreement that the president could have signed that would have kept 10,000 troops, less than we have in Korea, could have created the stability that would have allowed for Iraq to progress. The result was the opposite occurred. Immediately, that void was filled.”
He concluded: “Look, you can rewrite history all you want. But the simple fact is that we are in a much more unstable place because American pulled back.”
Here’s a video of the confrontation:
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