10 Nov 2010

Bush gives TV interview, defends key decisions

9:40 am on 10 November 2010

In his first television interview since leaving office, former US president George W Bush has defended some of his most controversial decisions.

In the interview with Matt Lauer of the American network NBC, Mr Bush justified the use of the interrogation technique known as "water boarding", saying it had prevented terrorist attacks and saved lives.

He said his legal adviser had told him that the use of water boarding - or simulated drowning - on several Guantanamo prison inmates was legal, the BBC reports.

"He said it did not fall within the anti-torture act. I'm not a lawyer. But you've got to trust the judgment of people around you, and I do.

"I will tell you this: using those techniques saved lives. My job was to protect America. And I did."

Invasion of Iraq defended

Mr Bush is publicising his memoir Decision Points and said the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not wrong.

Mr Lauer asked Mr Bush about the "sickening feeling" he describes in the book every time he thinks of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"Was there ever any consideration of apologising to the American people?" Mr Lauer asked.

"I mean, apologising would basically say the decision [to invade Iraq] was a wrong decision," Mr Bush replied. "And I don't believe it was the wrong decision."

He said it might be some time before history is able to judge his presidency: "I hope I'm judged a success. But I'm gonna be dead ... when they finally figure it out."