In CBS interview, former president says 2003 invasion–despite hundreds of thousands killed and the regional conflict unleashed by war of choice–was the “right decision”
George W. Bush does not regret his decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and he advocates more war in response to the rise of the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In an interview that aired Sunday, the former two-term president told Bob Schieffer of CBS News, “I think it was the right decision [to go into Iraq].”
“My regret is that…a violent group of people have risen up again,” he continued. “This is ‘Al Qaeda plus’…they need to be defeated. And I hope we do…I hope the strategy works.”
Bush reiterated his discredited justification for the initial invasion. “I went in there as a result of a very changed environment because of September the 11th,” he said. “And the danger we were concerned about was that the weapons…would be put into the hands of terrorist groups that would come and make the attacks of 9/11 pale in comparison.”
According to a 2008 study by the Center for Public Integrity, in the two years following September 11, 2001, Bush and his top aides told at least 935 documented lies to the public about alleged security risks posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Bush’s nod towards non-existent WMDs was not seriously challenged in the interview, which critics charge provided an uncritical platform for Bush to promote his new book and the legacy of himself and his family.
In the interview, Bush indicated that there is a “fifty-fifty” chance that his brother, Jeb Bush, will run for the presidency in 2016, raising the specter of a third Bush presidency.