With the premiere of the George W. Bush Presidential Center upcoming, the former president himself is gearing up for a two-week publicity tour after almost five years of relative peace out of the spotlight.
On his very first interview of the tour with The Dallas Morning News, Bush answered the question that people have been wondering ever since he left politics in 2009: Has he ever regretted any of his decisions in office?
Bush's answer: "I'm comfortable with what I did."
Comfortable? As the man helming what was arguably one of the worst presidencies in the history of the U.S., this interview could have been Bush's chance to tacitly apologize for some of the terrible decisions that were made under his administration. Five years down the road, safely out of politics, nobody would have begrudged him for it – even members of his own party have thrown him under the bus on several occasions. Instead, admitting his mistakes would have given him back some measure of respect in the eyes of the American public.
But instead, Bush decided to stick to the faulty rhetoric that defined his administration.
Here are four reasons Bush should have apologized:
1. For the creation of Guantanamo Bay detention camp:
What used to be a safe haven for refugees was transformed into a detention camp to hold suspected terrorists (many without any evidence that would hold in a court) without any regard to the rule of law. Reports of horrific torture methods being used on prisoners are constantly being leaked, and just this week, more reports of people being force-fed while protesting their unwarranted arrests have hit the news.
2. For the blatant disregard of the Fourth Amendment:
The Fourth Amendment protects the people's right from unwarranted search and seizure, and Bush stepped all over that when he allowed the National Security Administration to wiretap any communication in sight without a search warrant. Text messages, phone calls, emails, everything was open to the government. It wasn't until 2007 that public pressure forced the operation to end, and in 2009, the Department of Justice admitted that there was perhaps an "overcollection" of information.
3. For the tax cuts on the rich – that never materialized into economic growth:
Tax cuts are only tax cuts if they are paired with reductions in government spending. Otherwise, they are simply tax deferrals. Bush not only did not curtail government spending, he ballooned it. This is one of many reasons that Bush's economic plan was a failure.
4. For the Iraq War:
It's impossible to know where to start with this one: The reports of weapons of mass destruction that were never found? The false link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11? The fact that Bush said it would be a "cake walk" and we would win in less than a week? Or is it the 4,400 American soldiers that died in battle and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and displaced in the horrors of war?