WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Former President George W. Bush says he “didn’t have a strategy” and “was living day by day” in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
An extensive interview with Bush was to air Sunday in a National Geographic Channel documentary, “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” ABC News reported.
“September the 11th affected my presidency, and it caused … it caused me to make many decisions, some of which were extremely controversial, all of which were designed to protect the homeland. I didn’t have a strategy,” he said. “I was living day by day.”
Bush spoke of tough decisions the day of the attack, like the order to shoot down any commercial aircraft that disobeyed orders to land.
“I never campaigned on, you know, ‘Please elect me. I’ll be the kind of wartime chief you’ll be proud of,'” he said. “The war came upon us unexpectedly … and I made the decisions as best I could in the fog of war.”
He recalled learning of the attacks while reading to schoolchildren in Florida — and continuing to read “The Pet Goat” for several minutes because he “didn’t want to rattle the kids” and “wanted to project a sense of calm.”
He also spoke of his reaction to Osama bin Laden’s being killed by U.S. special forces.
“President Obama called me, told me that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and my response was, I congratulated him and the special operators that conducted a very dangerous mission.
“And so I was grateful,” he said. “I didn’t … feel any great sense of happiness or jubilation. I felt a sense of closure. And I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done.”