June 3rd, 2010
10:35 AM ET
4 years ago

Bush: No regrets for waterboarding

Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects.
Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects.

(CNN) - In some of his most candid comments since leaving the White House, former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.

"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the former president said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.

"I'd do it again to save lives," he added.

In a question-and-answer session following his speech to the group of local business leaders, the former president also defended his 2003 decision to invade Iraq.

"Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world is a better place without him," he said according to the paper.

Bush's comments come days after a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey showed 64 percent of American's favor President Barack Obama's plan to significantly draw down troop levels in Iraq by the end of the summer. But public approval of the plan falls to 51 percent if Iraq does not have a stable government by August, the poll also showed.

The former president also opened up on a host of other issues, including the role faith played during his years in the White House.

"I prayed a lot," he said. "I really did. I prayed before every major speech. I prayed before debates. It was a very important experience."

"I don't see how you can be president and not believe in a higher power," he added.

Bush's recently completed memoir, titled "Decision Points," will hit bookshelves next November.


Filed under: George W. Bush • Homeland Security • Popular Posts • Terrorism
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Stacie

    Oh, it was so nice not to hear from him. Please go back to a life of seclusion on your ranch! We, The American People, have suffered enough.

    June 3, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. Fed Up!

    Yes, but W didn't specify whose lives were saved, when they were saved, and was the info gained from waterboarding the ONLY reason these lives were saved.

    June 3, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Worst President of ALL time!

    June 3, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. billybob 'n NC

    Only regret that I have about Bush is that he was ever our president...

    June 3, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Terri

    So now he has confessed. Thanks for nothing, George.

    June 3, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. demmie

    interesting how much more transparent Bush is than Obama. good job, President Bush!

    June 3, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    We just laugh at this clown trying to rewrite History.He should be in prison,not on the talking head circuit.hahaha

    June 3, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. GP

    like a rock, only dumber

    June 3, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Jessica

    War criminals do not have any regrets for the genocides and tortures they have done...shame on you Bush..shame on you!!

    June 3, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. emma

    Human beings have an inborn mechanism to defend their thinking, no matter the lack of truths to support their position. Yes, Bush is human. Now we know!

    June 3, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Robert in Texas

    It's time for this idiot to be put out to pasture at his little dude ranch in Crawford. He will be remembered as the WORST PRESIDENT EVER. Goodbye please.

    June 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Enrique

    But why did we get rid of Saddam Hussein? Was it for the WMD? Was it for his link to 9/11? Why have you never been able to answer that former President Bush? And why are your supporters not upset that you authorized the war in Iraq without paying for it? We added over a $1 trillion to our national debt for this war and it doesn't seem to bother them.

    June 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. davec

    Bush said "I'd do it again to save lives." This is the dangerous philosophy of 'the end justifies the means.' This is an anything goes way of operating that is a favorite of evil doers.

    June 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Sun52shine

    What do you expect from George Bush? Check the video where he wipes his hands on President's shirt after shaking the hands of the Haitian people!

    This man cares nothing for human kind, that's why it was so easy for him to waterboard prisoners and drop bombs on a whole race of people killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqians.

    June 3, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. jps

    Tough decisions on Iraq in 2003. Too bad his judgment was clouded by a loud voice in his ear (Cheney). Unfortunate he's still not seeing the light on waterboarding.

    June 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Benn

    There you have it; so send him to the Hague...

    June 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. tweety

    Really knucklehead? Do you really think YOU of all people saved ANY lives? Like he cares to begin with, the party of the selfish people?

    Its well known that tourture will get people to talk alright. The problem is they SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT THEM TO because they have had enough.

    If ya tourtured me enough I suspect you could even get me to say Bush was our greatest president. Dumba$$. Republicanknuckles, an enigma.

    June 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. James Cunningham

    Its about time this gutless wonder finally stood up for himself and his country against the blind, partisn ideological attacks and nonsense of the Obama Administration. Obama is now finally starting to make Bush look like a marvelous Ptresident compared to his own incometent self!

    June 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    All his prayers will not absolve him of his sins. Too many have died needlessly because of his poor decisions.

    June 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Sean in AK

    Didn't the Human Rights Commission, the Geneva Convention, the World Court, and the Dept of Justice all find that waterboarding constituted torture? Did he just admit to ordering this crime committed? Why has he nor anyone else in his administration not had to answer for this? At the very least, you'd think that he'd have sense enough to keep his mouth shut about it–maybe his handlers took the day off.

    June 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. km

    he admits to war crimes...something we hanged japanese soldiers for after WW2. too bad he'll never hang.

    June 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Brad

    In a word, this man is disgusting. He believes in a higher power but thinks the constitution is a piece of garbage? Thank God he is out of power!

    June 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    An unrepentant fascist to the end.... no surprise here.

    June 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. James Cunningham

    Its about time this gutless wonder finally stood up for himself and his country against the blind, partisan ideological attacks and nonsense of the Obama Administration. Obama is now finally starting to make Bush look like a marvelous President compared to his own incompetent self!

    June 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. All the news that's fit to omit

    Unlike the lies you libwits were told by the lamestream media, THREE high level CAPTURES were waterboarded a TOTAL OF THREE, not hundreds, THREE.

    All three gave up info and KSM sang like a bird and it SAVED lives and led to the capture of other terrorists and it led to INFORMATION.

    Nah, we should never have done this and oh ya, Bush sucks.

    For all the dolts faults, I WISH he was back as Oweblamo is the worst president (no cap deserved) in the history of this ONCE great Country.

    Obama lied and Pelicans died libwits..........

    June 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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