WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush said Tuesday he was disappointed in "flawed intelligence" before the Iraq war and was concerned that if a Democrat wins the presidency in November and withdrew troops prematurely it could "eventually lead to another attack on the United States."
In an interview with the political newspaper Politico and the Internet portal Yahoo, Bush also said he gave up golf in 2003 out of respect for U.S. soldiers killed in the war, which has now lasted more than five years.
"I didn't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf," he said. "I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."
Bush said he made his decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
A question submitted from the online audience asked Bush whether he felt he had been misled about Iraq as he made the decision to go to war.
"`Misled' is a strong word," he said. "Not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was."
"Do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don't. I think it was just, you know, they analyzed the situation and came up with the wrong conclusion," he added.
He acknowledged concerns about leaving the unfinished Iraq war to a Democratic successor.
"Both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have said they will — my own judgment is, is that race will only enter in if it's provoked by the press."
— Said he would return to using e-mail after he leaves office, saying he gave it up to avoid leaks. He said he looks forward to "e-mailing to my buddies. I can remember as governor I stayed in touch with all kinds of people around the country, firing off e-mails at all times of the day to stay in touch with my pals."