June 3rd, 2010
10:35 AM ET
5 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. Chas in Iowa

    "I'd do it again to save lives",......These folks just don't get it. You can torture anyone to get them to say anything. Is what they say true to fact or just what you want to hear to stop the torture?
    Good intellegence does not come from torture!

    June 3, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. vegasbohemian

    why are we listening to what an idiot rambles about...
    he prayed before speeches and debates?
    so do religious school elementary students;they pray to a higher
    power to get them through those few minutes up on stage so they
    could make a good impression on their audience and not stumble
    in their words or say the wrong thing.
    "I understand that the unrest in the Middle East creates unrest throughout the region." -George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002
    "We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure." -George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003

    His book should be retitled "Derision Points" George Bush man of redicule

    June 3, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Pete

    President Bush is being very candid ,you ask him about Water booarding he did not beat around the bush{]No Pun} about it. Obama has danced around and lied so much no one in his right mind would believe anything he says.

    If water boarding saved 1 life nit is worth it. if prevented a IED from exploding here or any where elsesit was worth it.GW does not hesitate .He ac acts

    June 3, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I agree with him

    June 3, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Janie Scott

    This man is such a ignorant pig that we could never expect him to realize what he has done to our country. Stay in Texas, George. We don't need you or any of your pathetic comments.

    June 3, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Michael

    Thank you George W. and Dick Cheney for giving our enemies the perfect excuse to torture our own brave men and women in the military who get captured. You two are the biggest reason we are so despised throughout the world. It will take 100 years to overcome the damage you've done, if it's even possible. Shame on you both.

    June 3, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Lisa

    Thank-you W. I felt much safer when you where in charge.

    June 3, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. David

    You might not regret waterboarding but I regret having you as President. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    June 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Way to go, Dubya. That should be a real stick in the eye for all those terrorists you helped create thanks to your torture policies.

    Let's hope no more of our troops get captured in Afghanistan or Iraq otherwise we'll be hearing the Taliban say, "Back at ya".

    June 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. JB

    If you've got enough upstairs, then you needn't look any higher for answers to difficult problems. Needless to say, Bush did a LOT of looking higher.

    June 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Jon

    Nice to remember a Prez that does what it takes to stop these murders. Can't play nice with these guys. Ok time to sit back and watch all the Lib's cry that we should just talk to them, or bow to them a few times then we can have"Peace in our time"

    June 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Larry

    Good for you, George!

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Admitting to a war crime! We could not ask for more, even the thugs at Nuremberg would not admit to it.

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Boo-Yah

    Yeah, and taking a hacksaw is one way to trim your nails, but there are more intelligent and humane ways to get the job done with the same or even better results!

    This man is such a simpleton and we have suffered and continue to suffer greatly for it.

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Blaum

    Say what you will with Bush....but at least Bush had some stones..... can't say that for teleprompter-speech-talk-the-talk-but-can't-walk-the-walk-guy.....

    he'd take a poll first instead of lead.....

    Obama is a joke... and it gets more apparent each day.....

    I so can't wait until 2012...... but he'll get a nice taste this November...

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. PedPink

    I hope he prays for the Gulf of Mexico.

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Felonious Monk

    He would throw away all that America stands for "to save lives."

    "Bush's recently completed memoir, titled "Decision Points," will hit bookshelves next November."-Gearing up for the push for money and the rewriting of history.

    I am ashamed to admit this monster is a fellow American.

    June 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Laughing in Florida

    And I prayed he would use good judgments and make the right decisions. That didn't work out so well.

    June 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. DallasTex

    Ya know Dubya... your silence has been golden since you left office. PLEASE keep it that way. Keep yourself holed up in your Preston Hollow bunker. And the least you could do is give credit where credit is due... I am sure it was really Darth Cheney that ordered the waterboarding...

    June 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. epab

    such a simple man

    June 3, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Flabbergasted

    I am appalled by the nonchalant attitude Junior is showing with this.
    Basically he's saying: "Yeah we did it; I knew about. I don't care and there's nothing you can do about it so there."
    I know this will not happen, but immediate legal action needs to be taken with the fact that he has openly admitted that he broke several laws and international treaties.
    And those tea-drinking morons out there keep wondering why President Obama keeps apologiziing on behalf the America every time he goes somewhere??!!!!???
    LET ME THINK!

    June 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. LIP

    Stand by your guns Feorge W.
    Whatever it takes to protect our country from any kind of terrorist attacks works for me.
    Invasion of Iraq...everyone spend some time going back to that time and Sadam's invasion of Kuwait and the burning of all the oil wells and his threats to others in the region and his genocide of his own population and most of all the WMD information given to the US by the Brits saying they had WMD's and our very own US congress signing on to the invasion. Enough about that subject.

    June 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. T

    How about waterboarding Bush for invading another country without cause and causing a lot of death and destruction ?

    June 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Agathe

    I wonder if former president Bush would have a problem with someone else praying to Allah, or Buddha or some form of higher power according to their belief and getting a different answer from their gods? Such as invading Iraq under false pretense is immoral. I am a Christian but I don't believe that after praying to our Christian god, our god told him to waterboard those terrorists or to invade Iraq thus creating so much misery and chaos in that country.
    I don't believe Bush was a bad President but a fanatical, simpleton Christian who thought he talked to god and got advice directly from god. That's scary.

    June 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Brian

    Here is a clear example of someone who is willing to stand – if only Obama would learn from this example of leadership. The BP oil spill happened and Obama went on vacation. As the oil continued to spill, the White House ignored it. The massive flooding happened and nothing from the White House. As the oil spill grew, the White House came out with we were there "on day one"?? Are you kidding me, only after day 20 did the White House or Obama even begin to deploy the necessary people. I think "hollywood" has done more than this White House. Now we find out that team Obama and the White House has lied about offering jobs to encourage people to quit certain campaign races. I can't believe it, but I would say that the majority of Americans are "missing George Bush right about now".

    June 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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