Bush admits Iraq intelligence error

US President George Bush has admitted the intelligence he used to justify launching war on Iraq was wrong.

    President George Bush (R) rarely gives television interviews

    In a rare television interview on Sunday with the American NBC network, Bush said his assertion on 17 March that i

    ntelligence

    leaves no doubt Iraq

    possesses "some of the most lethal weapons ever

    devised" was incorrect.

    But when challenged by interviewer Tim Russert, the president denied he took the nation

    to war under false pretenses.

    "First of all, I expected to find the weapons," he said. "

    I based my decision on the best intelligence

    possible, intelligence that had been gathered over the years,

    intelligence that not only our analysts thought was valid but

    analysts from other countries thought was valid.

    "And I made a decision based upon that intelligence in the

    context of the war against terror. In other words, we were

    attacked, and therefore every threat had to be reanalysed...

    'War on terror'

    "W

    e remembered the

    fact that he [Saddam Hussein] had used weapons, which meant he had weapons. We

    knew the fact that he was paying for suicide bombers. We knew

    the fact he was funding terrorist groups. In other words, he

    was a dangerous man."

    "

    I think that when you do hard things, when you ask hard

    things of people, it can create tensions. 

    I'll tell you, though, I'm not going to

    change. I won't change my

    philosophy or my point of view."

    President George Bush

    Bush also attempted to justify the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq 10 months after America invaded the country.

    He said Iraqi WMDs

    could have been destroyed during the

    war,

    could still be hidden, or could have been

    transported to another country.

    And when asked why people around the world hold him in such contempt, Bush reacted defiantly.

    "

    I think that when you do hard things, when you ask hard

    things of people, it can create tensions," he said. "

    I'll tell you, though, I'm not going to

    change. I won't change my

    philosophy or my point of view.

    Poll ratings 

    "I believe I owe it to the

    American people to say what I'm going to do and do it, and to

    speak as clearly as I can, try to articulate as best I can why

    I make decisions I make, but I'm not going to change because of

    polls. That's just not my nature."

    Bush's appearance was a rare foray for the president into the cut-and-thrust of lengthy television interviews.

    It comes as US polls suggest his approval rating has dropped below 50%.

    Democrat Senator John Kerry, his likely challenger in the November presidential elections, also has a lead of five to seven points over Bush, according to two recent polls.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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