So much for the long standing policy of not criticizing the standing President. George Bush opened up over the weekend as to what he regards as a lapse of foreign policy judgement in regard to Iraq, Iran and all of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian region for that matter. However, Ari Fleischer was quick to defend his old boss, saying Bush was simply stating his opinion, not criticizing the Obama administration. Of course, that's not how the media read these juicy quotes leaked by those who attended the "behind-closed-doors" meeting of Republican Jewish Coalition members, which Ari now heads.
Well, not directly anyway. Bush and Republican Jewish Coalition members had to know his opinions would get leaked, but as long as no sources are identified it was just an accident. Bush still officially sticks to his non-meddling stance, leaving it to former members of his administration to attack Obama every chance they get.
It seems the GOP strategy is to restate the Bush Doctrine, which led us is into these wars in the "Middle East," as Bush calls it. You've got everyone from Lindsey Graham to Ted Cruz anxious to get actively engaged in the much broader region once again. So, right on cue here was Bush speaking his mind on the subject as if to give these presidential aspirants a baseline for their FP agendas.
Bush "apparently criticized" Obama's stance on Iran, claiming that lifting sanctions was a bad idea. This the very same president who relaxed sanctions on North Korea in an effort to bring the country to the negotiating table. He also took North Korea off the terrorism blacklist, just like Obama recently did Cuba. Apparently, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.
The former president also "apparently criticized" Obama for pulling troops lock, stock and barrel out of Iraq. To hear Ari, Bush never intended to do so but rather negotiate a deal, much like Obama is trying to do in Afghanistan, to keep a small contingent in place in case something like ISIL kicked up. What a prescient mind he had!
The White House is smart not to put too much stock in Bush's "apparent criticism," especially since he really didn't mean it that way, according to Ari Fleischer, who apparently still acts as Bush's press secretary.