Former President George W. Bush recently addressed one of the defining issues of his Presidency – the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was a guest on CBS’s Face the Nation which aired Sunday morning with Bob Schieffer. The host asked Bush if he regretted sending troops into Iraq.
With the hindsight of more than a decade since the 2003 invasion, Mr. Bush told Schieffer that he believed “it was the right decision.”
During his term in office, there were accusations that the invasion was more about “finishing what his father started” than about any weapons of mass destruction. The lack of finding WMDs has made Bush a laughing-stock for many years, but recently he has been somewhat vindicated. There actually were WMDs in Iraq, reported the NY Times in October, some of which are now being used by ISIS forces against the Iraqi, Yazidi and Kurdish peoples. However, the news of those being found did not filter down to the American people during Bush’s Presidency and has only recently been reported.
George W. Bush addressed the gossip that circled around that “clearly he had only one thing in mind and that was to finish the job his father did because my dad decided not to go into Baghdad after routing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.” 9/11 changed everything, he says, and the younger Bush was very concerned.
“… the danger we were concerned about was that the weapons would be put into the hands of terrorist groups that would come and make attacks of 9/11 pale in comparison.”
Schieffer and Bush discussed the former Commander in Chief’s belief that Saddam Hussein would back down when George Bush issued the ultimatum that Hussein needed to leave Iraq and let the weapons inspectors in. Referring to Bush’s recently released book, 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush, Schieffer asked if he was surprised that Hussein didn’t leave. Bush was. He said that he fully expected for the Iraqi leader to recognize that he meant what he said.
“We’d given an ultimatum to the Taliban and deliver him– I make the point in the book, of course, that– and dad understood this better than anybody, that when you say something as President you better mean it. Words mean something.”
When Saddam Hussein was captured, Bush says that he was told that Hussein told an FBI agent, “I just didn’t believe Bush.”
To which President Bush told the show host, “And it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t believe me.” One thing that even his critics noted during his Presidency was that George W. Bush meant what he said. He wasn’t hard to figure out. He didn’t waver when he made up his mind, so it seemed to really surprise the President that the Iraqi leader didn’t take him seriously. Bush says that he believed he would leave. When he chose not to, Bush maintains that by that choice, Saddam “chose war.”
Former President George W. Bush does have some regrets about the invasion, however, reports the Blaze.
“My regret is that a violent group of people has risen up again. This is al Qaeda plus. I put in the book that they need to be defeated. And I hope we do [defeat them].”
He also stated that people sometimes don’t understand George H. W. Bush. Schieffer asked him if that’s why he wrote the book. He said, “No, it’s a tribute to him.” George W. Bush took the moment to show his love and pride for his father.
“It’s a bouquet to a guy I love.”
[image via Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]