“I Was Unprepared For War”

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So says a candid President Bush, in an interview set to air today with Charlie Gibson of ABC News.

GIBSON: What were you most unprepared for?

BUSH: Well, I think I was unprepared for war. In other words, I didn’t campaign and say, “Please vote for me, I’ll be able to handle an attack.” In other words, I didn’t anticipate war. Presidents — one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen.

GIBSON: You said you were not going to be in the business of nation-building. And so much of what you had to do was nation-building.

BUSH: Well, what I said was, in the course of a debate, I said the military shouldn’t be used to build nations. In this case, it turns out the military, in my judgment, was needed to remove threats to our security, and after that removal, the military, as well as our diplomatic corps, needed to help rebuild after tyrannical situations.

GIBSON: That’s the second time I’ve heard you use the word “joyful” about the presidency, and that might take people by surprise. Even in really tough times?

BUSH: Oh, yes. As I said, some times are happy, some not happy. I don’t want people to misconstrue. It’s not — I don’t feel joyful when somebody loses their life, nor do I feel joyful from somebody loses a job. That concerns me. And the President ends up carrying a lot of people’s grief in his soul during a presidency. One of the things about the presidency is you deal with a lot of tragedy — whether it be hurricanes, or tornadoes, or fires, or death — and you spend time being the Comforter-in-Chief. But the idea of being able to serve a nation you love is — has been joyful. In other words, my spirits have never been down. I have been sad, but the spirits are up.

Read the whole thing here.

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