When 19-year-old University of Nevada at Reno student Ivy Ziedrich confronted assumed presidential candidate Jeb Bush, during an event staged by his Orwellian-named Super PAC Right to Rise, she taught us all what it means to put the people in “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Ziedrich, interviewed on MSNBC, stated that the Bush organized Super PAC event was staged in a way to attract or assemble a friendly and supportive audience. She just happened to get word of it and decided to attend. When she heard the Bush false narrative about how Iraq evolved regarding ISIS and violence and instability, she decided to confront him after his speech and challenge his lies, misinformation and misrepresentation of history and facts.
She told him, “your brother created ISIS.”
Ms. Ziedrich reminded us that there’s more on the line in our presidential election sweepstakes than who will appeal to voters in the Iowa Caucus or New Hampshire primary. This college student’s opening shot challenged the lowering of our political discourse and media-induced historical amnesia. In questioning Jeb Bush’s narrative that Iraq is more unstable today due to President Obama’s decision to end the Iraq war and withdraw combat troops, Ziedrich demonstrated that critical thinking and having the courage to stand up to a moneyed candidate heightens the country’s discourse. Take note, mainstream media, a 19 year old just ate your lunch!
All she did was point out historical facts: that Jeb’s brother, W, carried out a de-Ba’athification policy that led to the firing of the Iraqi Army, where 500,000 soldiers lost their jobs, pay, pensions, and, oh, allowed to keep their guns, leading to an immediate pool of insurgents (al Qaeda, ISIS, etc
Jeb pushed back with the false narrative that Obama could have left troops in Iraq. But that answer ignores other facts, such as the inability to renew the SOFA — the Status Of Forces Agreement (initially negotiated by brother W and expired in 2011) between the U.S. and Iraq — namely that there is not one because Iraq wouldn’t give U.S. troops immunity from prosecutions by local Iraqi laws. That made leaving any troops behind impossible.
Then there is the “inconvenient truth” that the Bush administration supported former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who contributed to widening the divide between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish Iraqis, leading to, in particular, Sunni disaffection with the government.
All this comes on the heels of his embarrassing response to the question: knowing what we know now, would Jeb invade Iraq? Yes, he said, only to revise later through a series of political contortions.
Possibly the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history, W’s Iraq invasion led to the death of nearly 4,500 U.S. troops, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, millions more displaced and an unstable, divided country, reeling in chaos and violence – with a bill still being paid in the $1.5 to $3 trillion dollar range.
Jeb Bush’s loyalty to his brother over the country was supposed to allay questions about presidential decisiveness and help to obfuscate cherry-picked intelligence, twisted into lies. What was his alternative? He would have to admit that his brother lied, violated international law, and unleashed terror and suffering on a country and its people. As the old saying goes, Bush isn’t qualified to run for dog catcher.
Well, most likely, Jeb wouldn’t and won’t have to delve into any of those arguments because these Super PAC staged events depend on, first, a well trained and complicit media, and secondly, rarely allow for spontaneous interactions with critical thinking 19-year-olds who hunger for truth.
But will we be able to depend on those idealistic, concerned, politically aware youth who use education to learn, understand, achieve and act on the world? Chances are becoming slim. Average yearly student debt continues to climb to an accumulated $1.2 trillion. Jeb Bush and Republican’s toxic policies regarding education (perceived to be a Jeb Bush strength) have cut Pell Grant funding, covering 76 percent of student college costs in 1980, to just 30 percent in 2014. States across the country with Republican governors such as Wisconsin and Illinois are cutting higher education funding to the bone.
Photo: Ivy Ziedrich confronts Jeb Bush. | YouTube screenshot