The Times of London reports that “President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq”:
In an exclusive interview, [Bush] expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”
Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”.
I think it probably would have been easier for the president to have avoided giving the impression that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq if he hadn’t been, you know, a guy really anxious for war in Iraq.
I seriously doubt that Bush regrets his rhetoric as much as he regrets the disaster that his war became. At the time, Bush was having fun playing Churchill, Jr., but he’s begun to realize that, rather than being remembered as Mr. Freedom, he’s more likely to be remembered as Mr. The Guy Whose Rank Incompetence And Insecurity Helped Turn Iraq Into A Sectarian Killing Field, and this displeases him. As it should.