Bush: OBL Raid ‘Good Call’

If former President George W. Bush has any bitterness that Osama bin Laden was finally killed under his successor, he's not showing it.

If former President George W. Bush has any bitterness that Osama bin Laden was finally killed under his successor, he’s not showing it.

ABC News (“George W. Bush Gives First Public Reaction to Osama Bin Laden Death“):

Former President George W. Bush made his first candid public comments on the killing of Osama bin Laden during an appearance Wednesday at a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas.

“I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies,” Bush said when asked what he was doing when he received the call from President Obama, according to an ABC News contributor who attended the event.

“I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said. “Obama simply said ‘Osama Bin Laden is dead.'”

Bush said Obama described in detail the secret mission to raid bin Laden’s Pakistani compound and the decision he made to put the plan into motion. He told Obama, “Good call.”

The 43rd president and man who initiated the hunt for bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks has shied from the spotlight since news broke nearly two weeks ago. Bush has declined interview requests and Obama’s invitation to join him at Ground Zero to meet with victims’ families and first responders four days after the raid.

But appearing before the crowd of 1,800 at the glitzy Bellagio resort and casino, Bush appeared light-hearted and relaxed in talking about bin Laden’s death.

When asked by forum moderator Melissa Lee of CNBC how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was “not overjoyed,” explaining that the campaign to track down the 9/11 mastermind was done not “out of hatred but to exact judgment.”

The development is ultimately a victory for the American people, he said.

“The guy is dead. That is good,” Bush said of bin Laden. “Osama’s death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader.”

“The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit. They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece,” he said, claiming no credit for himself.

“I met SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan. They are awesome, skilled, talented and brave,” he added. “I said, ‘I hope you have everything you need. One guy said, ‘We need your permission to go into Pakistan and kick ass.'”

The interview with George Stephanoupolous in the video is only tangentially related but it shows Bush at his best: Relaxed, self-deprecating, playful, and giving credit where it’s due. He’s doing a 100k bike ride for the Wounded Warriors project and sitting aside from an Army sergeant who lost a leg in the earliest days of Iraq–who apparently holds no ill will to the man who sent him there.

It would be more enjoyable, however, if ABC refrained from making its videos auto-play and sticking them on every stinkin’ page. It’s incredibly annoying.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. It would be more enjoyable, however, if ABC refrained from making its videos auto-play and sticking them on every stinkin’ page. It’s incredibly annoying.

    Oh dear lord, yes. I hate that.

  2. James in LA says:

    The world awaits the American DoJ to convene civilian grand juries to probe matters of war crimes based on the admission on national television by the former head of the previous criminal enterprise posing as a presidency that he gave the order to torture. The discovery from that effort is what is feared most.

    We will wait. They got Pinochet ‘ere the end.

  3. Dustin says:

    I’ve read a lot of crazy rantings on the internet, but aaron fleszar just took home the blue ribbon. That melted my mind.

    [Comment refers to an off-topic posting that’s since been deleted. – ed.]