A November 17 New York Post editorial attacked former President Bill Clinton's criticism of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, stating that "[it] has long been accepted that former presidents do not publicly criticize their successors, particularly when it comes to foreign policy." The editorial then falsely claimed that "the first President Bush held his tongue when it came to judging Clinton's dubious foreign-policy performance." But as Media Matters for America documented when Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume made a similar claim on September 19 -- which he retracted two days later -- former President George H.W. Bush criticized Clinton's foreign policy decisions on several occasions.
On October 13, 1993, during a visit at a San Antonio grade school, Bush expressed concern that the humanitarian mission to Somalia that he had launched nearly a year earlier was being "messed up" by the Clinton administration. In the February 1994 edition of Washingtonian magazine, Bush criticized the Clinton administration's purported lack of a "general strategy" in the foreign policy arena and the "start-and-stop" failures it had exhibited, citing Clinton's handling of the volatile situation in Haiti as a prime example.
From the November 17 New York Post editorial headlined "Bill Clinton's Bad Behavior":
In a speech to students at the American University of Dubai, the former president fired a rhetorical broadside against President Bush, saying the invasion of Iraq was "a big mistake."
Toppling Saddam Hussein may have been "a good thing," said Clinton, "but I don't agree with what was done."
He particularly blasted the decision to "dismantle the whole authority structure of Iraq," suggesting that the U.S. should have left Saddam's "fundamental military and social and police structure intact."
Thanks for nothing, Bill.
It has long been accepted that former presidents do not publicly criticize their successors, particularly when it comes to foreign policy; certainly the first President Bush held his tongue when it came to judging Clinton's dubious foreign-policy performance.