Former President George W. Bush seems serene in his retirement and expresses no doubt about some of the more controversial decisions he made while in office, such as the invasion of Iraq.
"I tend to look at it from a historical perspective," he told a reporter from the Huffington Post who joined him on a mountain-bike ride with wounded military veterans and other guests at Bush's Texas ranch.
Bush said: "There's a frustration at the Bush Institute," the policy center he founded, because he refuses to speak out on the issues of the day or defend his record in detail. But he added: "I don't want to do that." He refused to second-guess his choices as president and said he is content to let history be the judge of what he did.
Bush was asked if he felt responsible for the injuries suffered by the veterans he was mountain biking with over the Memorial Day weekend. "Well, to a certain extent you can't help it because had I not made decisions I made, they wouldn't have been in combat," Bush said.
"On the other hand, every one of these men were volunteers. None of them are angry. They don't blame anybody. And so I believe strongly that the decisions I made were the right decisions, you know? I knew going in that there were bad consequences to war. That's why, if people study my decision, they would recognize I tried to solve the problem diplomatically."
He added: "You know, I don't feel sorry for them, because they don't feel sorry for themselves."
Bush said he enjoyed being president but is happy with his low-key post-presidential life. "Fame can become very addictive," he said. "And I've had all the fame a man could want."
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.