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. sharon

    any lawyers hear all of this?????????????????????????????
    How about the U.N.???????????????????

    when he did not talk ...................that was much better.

    June 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. black viper

    It doesn't supprise me. Stubborn idiots that think God put them in power never change.
    Everything is ok in the name of GOD.
    Even if it's to lie and send to boucherie 3000 of our brave men in uniform.

    June 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Dan in Chitown

    So you prayed before you dropped bombs on thousands of innocent people in Iraq just to get one lousy dictator out of power? What may I ask did God tell you after that, since you seem to be so In Tune......

    June 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. kmp

    Really you think the world is a better place now that Saddam is gone, really? I mean we have 4000+ Americans dead, the Iraqi government is a joke and you enabled Iran to rear its Ugly head once you got rid of Saddam. Not to mention this country is in severe financial straights because you payed for this war by cutting taxes and borrowing from China. So if this is your idea of better off, I would hate to see worse.

    Oh and I am still waiting for my trickle, from your trickle down economic plan.

    June 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. max

    I miss having a President who was willing to do what it takes to stop terrorism. I cant wait to see some of the looney liberal comments that will soon be flooding this page. See you suckers in 2012 to get that joke of a president out of the white house.

    June 3, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. MR AMERICA

    If it DID save lives, maybe....but we have known for 1000's of years that torture doesn't work, not to mention illegal. How about saving lives by using a method that actually works.

    And OF COURSE a President MUST believe in a higher power, because there is NO WAY there isn't one, right? Please. People believe in a higher power because they were taught to as children, and don't have the fortitude to question those beliefs. Those that question them have JUST AS MUCH A RIGHT TO BE PRESIDENT as you do, W.

    June 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Naqib

    Although I didn't agree with everything you did... and don't with most people... I think history will judge you well...

    And regardless... we sure miss you now...

    I thought you spent a lot... only took Obama a year to catch you...
    4.5 Trillion is 8 years... Obama raised the debt 4 Trillion in 18 months...

    June 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Mike

    A real President has to make tough decisions even when when he decides to do something he would rather not, but goes ahead if it is in the best interests of national security. That is a real President, not what we have now. Hopefully in 2012 we can elect a real President to sit in the oval office.

    June 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. hayden zeke

    Except it didn't save lives, Smirky-smirk. It cost lives as Al Qaeda used it as a recruiting tool. And speaking of tool.......

    June 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Bill

    If a "higher power" had input into the Bush Administration, then I would rather do without, thank you very much.

    June 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Florida Joe

    The pathetic truth is that this Idiot Bush actually believes this.........He must be speaking out now that Darth Vader is in hiding over the oil spill...........Need to get a jail cell ready for both of them!!!!

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. Moe Smith

    why would he have regrets? He CHOSE to torture people. whenever someone makes that decision, they have already lost all sense of conscience. Of course he has no regrets.

    Glad he's gone. shame he lasted as long as he did.

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. larry

    Not only is torture abhorent, it does not work. This is a proven fact. The torturing done by Bush and his thugs did not save lives. We, as a nation of civilized law abiding citizens, should not allow this crime to go unpunished. Bush and his monsterous cronies should be tried and convicted of war crimes. Only then can we say that we beleive in freedom.

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. Rich

    George Bush is a confessed war criminal. He has again publicly confessed to ordering the torture of prisoners of war. Torture is a war crime.

    GEORGE BUSH MUST BE TRIED AND EXECUTED!

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. aunt Bea and Opie

    This photo says it all.We have seen better photos on a babys bottom with a dirty diaper,hahaha

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Joe

    He did absolutely nothing for this country.

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Mike

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    June 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. GDMS

    This is why President Bush was a great President and President Obama is the worst President we ever had. President Bush cared about the safety of the American Citizens.

    June 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. katy Heys

    GWB was a spoiled little boy who got into office because of his dad and grandfather.

    That is why voting out incumbents and electing unknown people to public office is a stupid idea. We need people in leadership positions who are known. Rand Paul, for instance, is a naive idiot.

    June 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Dar

    Bush had some tough decisions to make after 9-11 and didnt have all the time in the world to make them. He had to make sure the terrorist groups were being shut down as fast as possible and it kept us safe here at home.

    June 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. big chief soaring eagle

    Me think this white man cool as cucumber. Him take no
    crap off rabid bears.

    June 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Mary

    God Bless President Bush! When it comes to protecting our country I say do what it takes... A Presidents first job is to PROTECT our Beloved Country..... I am NOT feeling protected. President Obama looks weak, In an effort to be liked we are growing weaker by the day...

    June 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Art

    So we as Americans have lowered our standards and resorted to 3rd world tactics of torture. Every American that is tortured in the battlefield, needs to thank Bush.
    How can anyone take Gods name in the same breath as torture.
    Look at the punishment that that God has imposed on us for the actions of our leaders.

    June 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. PAHoosier

    Soooo . . . if one prays, then one can do whatever they want. I'm sorry, but my reading of the Bible doesn't show me that the ends justify the means. Bush's 'faith in a higher power' sure is different than my 'faith in a higher power.' The world would be better without lots of people . . . does that mean we decide who lives and who doesn't and take matters into our own hands? Methinks not.

    June 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Kraig Rasool

    Bush has been truly watching too much of nothing lately as he once
    again proves that in his world all that exists is a belly laugh and a
    roll in the hay...He left the US in a bowl of sour-molded cherries, and
    now wants the american people to continue praising him for his
    long-standing buffon tactics....Uhhhhh how about I dont think so!
    He says he prayed alot before his speeches, well that didnt work either... How can anyone could have really taken him seriously then and now...I see him like an old western movie riding off into the sun-set waving his cowboy hat in the wind

    June 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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