President Bush is desperately trying to change global public perceptions about his abhorrent White House administration, and his personal role in cheerleading the US into the illegal War On Iraq.
Regrets? He has a few.
From Times Online :
President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.
In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”
Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”
The unilateralism that marked his first White House term has been replaced by an enthusiasm for tough multilateralism. He said that his focus for his final six months in office was to secure agreement on issues such as establishing a Palestinian state and to “leave behind a series of structures that makes it easier for the next president”.
Mr Bush is concerned that the Democratic nominee Barack Obama might open cracks in the West’s united front towards Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. At the EU-US summit in Slovenia, he pressed for tougher sanctions against Iran unless it agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment programme verifiably: “They can either face isolation, or they can have better relations with all of us.”
Mr Bush told The Times that when his successor arrived and assessed “what will work or what won’t work in dealing with Iran”, he would stick with the current policy.
Shaul Mofaz, a hardline Israeli minister, has suggested that a military strike on Iran is “unavoidable”. But Mr Bush said: “We ought to work together, keep focused. His comments really should be viewed as the need to continue to keep pressuring Iran.”
The President was keen to bind his successor into a continued military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, but offered only cautious optimism about a recent decline in violence. Asked about corruption allegations dogging Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, Mr Bush insisted: “I have found him to be an honest man.”
The President knows that Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain will have to distance himself from the current Administration. "He's an independent person who will make his decisions on what he thinks is best."
Asked if the US is ready for a black president, Mr Bush says: "I think the fact that the Democratic Party nominated Barack Obama is a statement about how far America has come.
"Having that all that, it's going to be important for the American people to figure out who can handle the task of the 21st Century. It's a challenging job."
More on Bush's somewhat bizarre claims to be a 'Man Of Peace', after deceiving America into an illegal War On Iraq from the UK Guardian :
To some it may come as too little too late. But setting out on his final trip to Europe as president, George Bush has expressed regret that his rhetoric in the run-up to the war in Iraq may have created the impression that he was a warmonger.
Bush, who met the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday on a tour that will take in Rome, Paris and London, also disputed the notion that the war had harmed the image of the US abroad.
Noting that he finds it difficult "to put youngsters in harm's way", he added: "I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain." Bush's statements come as his presidency enters its final six months. They also come as the two presidential candidates spar over the differences between them, notably their stances in the build-up to the war.
Far from being a lame duck, Bush said he was full of vigour.