It was a mistake for the United States to invade Iraq in 2003, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says, insisting he'd have "gotten rid of the problem of Saddam Hussein some other way."
In an interview with The Hill
on Wednesday, the retired pediatric neurosurgeon said President George W. Bush's wrong decision was worsened by the nation's ultimate lack of a "long-term strategy."
"I've said definitively that I was never in favor of going into Iraq," Carson told The Hill, reiterating a position he has publicly held
since at least 2013.
"Since we did go in, the big problem is that we didn't secure victory there, and that's a huge problem."
"I would have gotten rid of the problem of Saddam Hussein some other way," he said. "When you go into a situation with so many factions and such a complex history, unless you know what you're doing or have a long-term strategy, it just creates more problems."
Carson did not elaborate on how exactly he would have toppled the Iraqi leader without boots on the ground, telling The Hill only: "There are a lot of ways to get rid of people."
The 2003 Iraq invasion issue
has dominated the headlines since Jeb Bush defended the decision by his brother, then-President George W. Bush, to invade the country.
The former Florida governor and likely GOP presidential candidate days later
said he wouldn't have made the same decision had he known about the flawed intelligence on which it was based.
In The Hill interview, Carson also said he supports some parts of the Patriot Act, though he says the National Security Agency's bulk phone data collection is a violation of the Fourth Amendment — weighing in on a debate that is raging in Congress over whether to reauthorize the law.
"I think some aspects of the Patriot Act are wise, so you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but certainly in terms of the Fourth Amendment, the unwarranted mining of data from citizens is a violation," Carson told The Hill.
"I totally oppose that. Our authorities can get a warrant anytime they want. If they need it in the middle of the night, they can get it, no problem."
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul
, who has also announced a presidential bid, is conducting a filibuster against reauthorization.
and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
have defended the data collection as necessary to thwart terrorists.
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