President Bush reflects on his time in office, airing some regrets and looking to have some say in framing his legacy, during an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson airing Monday. Figuring foremost among his regrets, he said, was that he had acted on flawed intelligence about the infamous WMDs (or lack thereof) in deciding to invade Iraq.
“A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein,” Bush said. “It wasn’t just people in my administration. A lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence.
“I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess,” Bush added.
When pressed by Gibson, Bush declined to “speculate” on whether he would still have gone to war if he knew Hussein didn’t have weapons of mass destruction.
“That is a do-over that I can’t do,” Bush said.
Despite failed intelligence and accusations of mismanaging the war, Bush said his decision not to prematurely withdraw troops from Iraq was grounded in his values.
“I listened to a lot of voices, but ultimately, I listened to this voice: I’m not going to let your son die in vain,” he said. “I believe we can win. I’m going to do what it takes to win in Iraq.”