Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, was confronted by a 19-year-old college student on Wednesday who shouted out during a town-hall meeting “your brother created ISIS”.
Ivy Ziedrich, political science student at the University of Nevada, confronted Mr Bush as he took autographs from audience members. She felt compelled to confront him as moments before he had argued that America’s retreat from the Middle East was a bad thing, and had contributed to the rise in power of ISIS.
Ziedrich told the former governor that he was wrong, and laid the blame with his brother George W. Bush. Jeb Bush, whilst surprised by the outburst, defended his position with her in a brief debate.
“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.”
Mr. Bush turned away. The conversation was over.