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. pt

    Bush just reminded us again why he should never have been president! Anyone who believes the end justifys the means just doesn't get it! What a moran! Hope no one ever visits his meaningless library.

    June 3, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Brad

    What great moral fiber... I'm pretty sure authorizing torture is in direct opposition to what his religion teaches.

    June 3, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. rmanis

    President Bush, Vice-President, Cheney, Secretary Rice and former AG Gonzales should stand trial as war criminals for authorizing the use of this torture.

    June 3, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. jomo321

    Higher power? I guess he's referring to Cheney?

    June 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Justin

    So he approved torture which is "illegal", and he invaded another country, w/o probable cause..."no WMD were found"...which is illegal, did I miss something? Oh and he's not in jail, GWB anchored one of the most corrupt administrations in history.

    June 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Yeh, we believe you.

    Good news: Bush believes in a higher power.

    Bad news: The higher power was Dick Cheney.

    By the way, was invading Iraq the proper resonse to 9/11 or were there other motives?

    You be the judge...

    June 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Bill

    Fat lot of good all that prayer did for the country.

    June 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Pa Santigie

    What do you expect him to say.....one track mind I did it and i will do it again.....how moronic.
    I just hope that one someone will have the courage to bring this war criminal to justice.

    June 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Jim T

    Yes, the world is a better place without Saddam but it was not worth 5,000 US lives and billions of $$$. Further, Saddam was a paper tiger that helped keep Iran in check so getting rid of Saddam was foolish.

    June 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Thomas

    Thank you for standing by your convictions Pres. Bush. What the ungrateful masses don't realize or appreciate is that in a role reversal the terrorists inflict pain and suffering on their captives at several magnitudes greater than simple waterboarding to extract the information they seek.

    June 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    I guess it means nothing to this idiot that the Allies executed Japanese as war criminals for water-boarding POWs during World War Two.

    I guess that makes Dubya and Cheney/Strangelove war criminals.

    Ouch, truth hurts.

    June 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Chrissy

    And for that, I'd vote for you again W.

    June 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. sycamore

    There is no defense for the invasion of Iraq.

    June 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    Good job President George W. Bush, no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects and wouldn't hesitate to do so again because there are other form treatment to be used. Sometime you have to do what ever is takes.

    June 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. American citizen

    Yea, I prayed a lot when he was in office, too.

    June 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. BozzieBoy

    That W. is a real sport, huh!

    June 3, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Senator

    He should have and really it should still be policy when it comes to terrorist. the Genava convention should not apply to terrorist

    June 3, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Shucks

    It was a fact that they recieved very little if any extra intelligence from waterboarding. Even his own people have said so. I just think in his reactionary way, he really did think he was doing something helpful even though he was breaking the law.

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Jeff - Austin, TX

    I would like Mr. Bush to tell us how many lives were saved by warterboarding.

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Mason

    I miss him and we are lucky to have had Bush during that time. He did a heck of a lot better job than Obama has done so far. Can you imagine what Obama would have done on Iraq or Afghanistan if he would not have had Bush as a guide. Obama decisions would ahve been fatal like most he has made on his own thus far. Unfortunately Obama just was't ready to assume the Presidency. God Bless Bush and Obama.

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. DDRM

    That's why I like him – decisive and to the point!

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Paul in Canada

    Does his arrogance and ignorance really surprise anyone?

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Paul from Phoenix

    He may have been wrong on lots of what he did, but at least Bush had a spine and made decisions. Obama = no spine.

    Best example: How is that closing of Guantanamo going?

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Dale

    Maybe he should have been more concern about learning the truth instead of praying. Don't leave it on God's doorstep, George, especially when it's a big sack of flaming poop.

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Mike in SA

    Not sure why this is news. He approved of it before, so...

    June 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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