NEWARK, N.J. (CBSDC/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie says that knowing what we know today, the decision to go to war with Iraq was ultimately the wrong one.
The potential Republican presidential contender told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview taped Tuesday in New Hampshire that he believes former President George W. Bush made the best decision he could at the time given what the intelligence community was saying about the country’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.
“But,” he said, “I don’t think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD that the country should have gone to war. So my answer would be no.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seen as Christie’s biggest rival if the two men choose to run, sidestepped a question this week about whether he would have given approval for the war based on what is now known about the faulty intelligence that influenced his brother’s decision.
In an interview with Fox News earlier this week, Jeb Bush said he would’ve authorized the war in Iraq but that mistakes were made when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was removed from power.
“I would have [authorized the invasion], and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got,” he told Fox News.
But in an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Bush said he “interpreted the question wrong.”
Christie also cautioned against spending too much time dwelling on the past. “We need a forward-looking foreign policy that talks about how to reassert American authority and influence around the world,” he said, adding: “We don’t get to replay history.”
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Kentucky, who already has announced his candidacy, said last month that it “was a mistake” to topple Hussein.
But U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who also is running, defended the war earlier this year, saying “the world is a better place” because Hussein doesn’t run Iraq.
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