Bush ‘advisor’ talks Iraq decision
October 22, 2013, 6:22 pm by Emily Zendt
A former U.S.ambassador and counselor of George W. Bush reaffirmed her doubts about the invasion of Iraq and touted the former president’s leadership during a Tuesday visit to Horseshoe Bay.
Karen P. Hughes discussed her career, the Bush Administration, the role of women in government and the direction of the Republican Party and American politics at a packed meeting of the STAR Republican women at Quail Point Lodge.
Described in contemporary news accounts as "Bush’s most essential advisor” and "closest confidant,” Hughes confirmed that she shared her doubts about whether to initiate military action against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"My advice to the president, as he shared with (noted Washington journalist) Bob Woodward in his book, was that if he decided that we had to go to war that he had exhausted every other option first,” Hughes said. "I had raised questions and talked to the president and Condoleezza Rice (National Security Adviser), but I felt my role was to ask questions and not to make judgments.”
Educated at Southern Methodist (SMU) in Dallas, the former TV news reporter joined George W. Bush’s campaign for governor of Texas in 1994 and followed him into the White House as a key advisor. She played a major role in the 2004 Presidential race, then returned to government in 2005 for a two-year stint as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
Hughes said President Bush’s "hands-on” style of leadership is something that President Obama lacks, especially in light of the recent gridlock in Washington.
"I think there has been an absence of presidential leadership;” she said, adding that she "would urge our (Republican) party leaders to talk more optimistically about our philosophies rather than articulating so much about what we are against.”
In response to a question, she said as a former diplomat she believes a number of questions remain unanswered about the terrorist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 that left four Americans dead, including the American Ambassador to Libya. In particular, she said protection for the Ambassador and Embassy Staff members seemed unusually light on the Anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy in an unstable country.
Hughes also highlighted the importance of women in elected positions, at one point calling women the "backbone” of the Republican Party.
"I think that if we had more women in elected office at every level of government, maybe we wouldn’t see some of the dysfunction that we are seeing, unfortunately, out of Washington right now,” she said
"I do believe, and saw around the world, that women are
increasingly becoming the agents of change and improvement in their
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