Bush says he regrets tone on Iraq

In an interview, the president says some of his remarks on the war "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."

Alex Koppelman
June 11, 2008 5:30PM (UTC)

Apparently, something about the British just puts President Bush in a confessional mood. In a recent interview with the Times of London, Bush admitted that he has some regrets about the prosecution of the war in Iraq; specifically, he says, he regrets some of the things he said about it.

"I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric," Bush said. Pointing to phrases like "bring them on" and "dead or alive," he said that these "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."


In the twilight of his presidency, Bush -- like those who've gone before him -- is concerned about his legacy. The Times reports that Bush "said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran."

Bush has said something similar about his regrets before. During a joint press conference he gave with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2006, a reporter asked the two heads of state, "Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?" Bush responded:

Saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

George W. Bush Iraq Iraq War Middle East War Room


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •