W. says Saddam didn’t believe we were coming for him; but he doesn’t regret taking him out

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Former President George W. Bush does not regret his decision to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Bush sat down Sunday for a rare TV appearance with CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer to plug his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father,” about former President George H.W. Bush’s life and public service.

“I think it was the right decision,” he told Shieffer of invading Iraq a second time. “My regret is that a violent group of people has risen up again. This is al-Qaida-plus. I put in the book that they need to be defeated. And I hope they are. I hope the strategy works.”

Bush dismissed criticism that he invaded Iraq to finish what his father started in the first Gulf War.

“I went in there as a result of a very changed environment because of September the 11th,” he said.

Bush told Schieffer he was “surprised” Hussein didn’t believe him when he issued an ultimatum to allow international inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction.

“When he was captured, I was told that the FBI agent that talked to him — he said, ‘I just didn’t believe Bush,'” the 43rd president said. “And it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t believe me.”

Bush also commented on the possibility that his brother, Jeb, may be running for the White House.

“It’s a lot of speculation about him. I occasionally fuel the speculation by saying that I hope he runs,” he said. “I think it’s 50-50. He and I are very close. On the other hand, he’s not here knocking on my door, you know, agonizing about the decision.”

Watch excerpts of the interview here via CBS:

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Tom Tillison

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