Former President George W. Bush has told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he was "frustrated" when the U.S. pulled troops out of Iraq in 2011, clearing the way for ISIS to be formed from the remains of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
"I think what people have got to realize is this bunch of thugs can be defeated, because we did so with the surge," Bush said in a portion of the interview broadcast Monday. "And we can win again."
"I've heard both Presidents [Obama and Trump] say we're going to degrade and defeat ISIS and I say 'go get 'em' because they can be degraded and defeated," Bush added. "It's very important, in my mind, that we do so, so that people know they can rely upon us and the people -- not only governments but people on the ground."
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Bush sat down with Hannity ahead of the release of "Portaits of Courage" a book featuring Bush's paintings of almost 100 military veterans. Bush said the idea to do the portraits came from one of his art instructors, who advised him to "paint people nobody knows."
"And it just dawned on me ... warriors," Bush said. "And so I did, I painted all these warriors. I’ve known every one of them. I know their stories ... and I admire them greatly."
A companion exhibit to the book will be on view at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas beginning Thursday and continuting through Oct. 1.
"This exhibit," Bush said, "honors those who heard the call and volunteered and were willing to risk their lives to not only defend ourselves, but to advance liberty."