Bush in Pa.: Pleased, not joyous, bin Laden's dead

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2011 11:51 PM
Bush in Pa.: Pleased, not joyous, bin Laden's dead

Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he was pleased, but not joyous, when he learned U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden.

Bush, in a speech in central Pennsylvania, praised President Barack Obama for making the hard call to go after the terrorist mastermind in Pakistan, according to the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era.

"The president made a tough decision. He could have said, `I don't believe the intelligence,'" Bush said.

Speaking to more than 2,500 people at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry's annual dinner, Bush recalled being at a restaurant when he got a call from Obama last month saying bin Laden was dead.

"I was not joyous. I was pleased," Bush said. "America should never be seeking revenge. We should be seeking justice _ and justice was rightly done."

The 43rd president was by turns serious and humorous as he spoke about the defining decisions of his presidency.

Bush defended his support of the $700 billion financial bailout of 2008, saying it "saved the country from going into a depression."

He also defended the use of enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the former No. 3 leader of al-Qaida, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"He talked _ and he talked a lot," Bush said. "The information Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave up saved lives."

Bush did not talk extensively about his decision to invade Iraq but said that "the toughest decision I made was to put somebody in harm's way ... to put a kid in combat."

Asked what he missed most about being in office, Bush replied: "Being pampered."

"I actually had to stop at some traffic lights coming here tonight," he said. "I was like, `Oh, God, the world's coming to an end.'"

Bush left office in January 2009 and has kept a low profile since returning to his home in Texas, working on a memoir and appearing occasionally to give speeches.

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Information from: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era , http://lancasteronline.com