President George W. Bush is doing the book tour circuit, giving media interviews to talk, mostly, about his father’s legacy and influence.
But the 43rd president, who kept a low profile in the years since leaving Washington, also draws parallels in his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father,” between Bush 1’s Iraq War and his own. And with Iraq now in turmoil, Bush 2 can’t avoid being asked to justify a war that many believe was fought under false pretenses.
Appearing on NPR Wednesday morning, Bush was pushed by reporter David Greene to defend his decision to invade Iraq. With the rise of the Islamic State, Greene asked Bush if the country is safer now than when Saddam Hussein was in power. Bush argued that America is safer … and that Iraq could be.
“The man, Saddam Hussein, would have a lot of revenue as a result of high prices of oil. And even though there wasn’t, you know, a – we found a dirty bomb, for example – he had the capacity to make chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. And so there’s – you know, it’s all very hypothetical. But yeah, I could argue that we’re much safer without Saddam. And I would argue that the people of Iraq have a better shot at living in a peaceful – a peaceful state,” Bush said.
(Though maybe not any time soon.)
Bush then, not so subtly, threw President Obama under the bus for pulling troops out of Iraq, noting that “in 2009 and 2010, the violence in Iraq was settling down. And the democracy, even though it was not perfect — kind of like ours was initially not perfect — was beginning to work.”
But when Greene asked about Obama’s decision making, Bush said, “Well, one of the things I’m not going to do is second guess our president.”