President Bush Regrets Being Misunderstood

The Times of London has a fascinating exclusive interview with President Bush. Here’s an excerpt:

‘In an exclusive interview, he 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.”‘

When I read those lines, it reminded me of a sermon by John Piper from 2004 in which he rebuked the “swagger” of the President. I think Piper may have seen then what the President is regretting now. You can listen to the relevant portion below. It begins at 46:08.

[audio:http://www.desiringgod.org/media/audio/2004/20040808.mp3]

I won’t reproduce here all of Piper’s remarks. But at 46:08, Piper says this: “Being Christian pilgrims in American culture does not end our influence, it takes the swagger out of it. There’s just so many strutting conservatives, including our President.”

27 Responses to President Bush Regrets Being Misunderstood

  1. Paul June 11, 2008 at 11:43 am #

    Being that we’ve got a lame duck president in his last waning months in office, one should probably assume that he’s speaking from the heart.

    I’m glad that the president that at one point couldn’t think of anything that he did wrong or would have changed as president is now seeing some of the errors of his ways. You can’t change the mistakes you made in the past, but you can learn from them. At this point, if he simply learns from his mistakes and passes that knowledge onto McCain, who WILL be our next president, maybe, just maybe this country will have a shot at doing something beyond simply sliding into irrelevance as we’re seemingly doing today.

  2. MatthewS June 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    Ideologically, I am usually more right than left. But I usually react negatively to Piper. But it is only fair to grant when someone, especially someone you often disagree with, has a point. Seems Piper had a good point on this one.

  3. Joshua June 12, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    I appreciate Bush’s regret to being misunderstood. However, isn’t it a little late?

  4. Paul June 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm #

    I would say a lot late.

    a little late is going to Iraq without a plan, realizing that there’s a need for a plan and enacting one.

    A lot late is waiting until 2007 to start a surge and thinking that paying militants $10/day to not shoot at our troops is a long term solution.

    As I said before, Bush’s only chance for redemption at this point is to make sure that McCain doesn’t make the same mistakes he did.

  5. Joshua June 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    I definitely agree. The unfortnate thing is that hindsight is always 20/20. However, that doesn’t mean you have to fly ALL the time by the seat of your pants into a dark room.

  6. Alando Franklin June 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Paul,

    It’s a little to late I’m afraid…

    Q: Senator McCain, Do you now have a better estimate for when American forces can come home from Iraq?

    A: No, but that’s not too important!!!

  7. Paul June 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    Oh, I know.

    between not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia, thinking a 100 year presence in Iraq is a perfectly good idea, not worrying about when troops come home, calling his wife a trollop and the “c word” and now finding out that he certainly wasn’t a very good pilot at the very least and might have spilled the beans to the N. Vietnamese, we’re dealing with a guy that’s not nearly the military hero we’ve been made to believe and might very well make quite the incompetent leader.

    No matter what, come January 2009, America will be in sad shape no matter what.

  8. Alando Franklin June 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    I read somewhere earlier that many Baptist evangelicals(10%) are planning on sitting this one out…I’m giving some serious thought to it now…There’s no way I could sleep comfortably knowing that our troops are over there sacrificing their lives for an indefinite number of years, but not only that, the idea that I helped put in a CIC that thinks it’s not that important that they have a timeline to come home…Absolutely Amazing!!!

    BTW, I am a VET and have served my country!

  9. Paul June 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Alando,

    Instead of sitting out, why not vote for a third party candidate? Sure, they won’t get elected, but at some point, someone’s going to have to notice these fringe candidates that will be costing them swing states.

    If you’re conservative, it’s hard to question Bob Barr, the Libertarian Candidate.

    If, like me, you lean waaaayyyyy to the left, the green party is a viable option as well (and it’ll be the way I’ll likely vote this time out.)

    I fully agree with those that say that the least patriotic thing you can do is to not vote. I look at what my grandparents went through to become citizens, and I’d be a royal bum if I didn’t honor their efforts with a vote of my own.

  10. Alando Franklin June 12, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    Paul,

    Well said, I hadn’t considered that option or perhaps after hearing the piece from McCain I was quite disturbed to the point I commented in haste.

    My wife, kids and I recently returned from visiting my grandparents in Mississippi who are now 89 & 87 years old and to sit and listen to them recount the struggles of their plight would be an slap in the face if I sat out.

    Thanks bro

  11. Matt Svoboda June 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    Paul,

    You say that you support the troops, etc. And then you slam McCain and make accusations about the time he was bravely serving our country. And all you do is get on a blog and blast people who put their money were their mouth is. Shame on you. We should honor men who serve our country, not slam them on blogs. What has Obama done? Nothing.. You do not know what type of military hero he is or isn’t. Your comments on this post have been unproductive, slanderous, and quite hypocritical. I do not think McCain is going to make the best president, but I do not appreciate your baseless comments as you slander a brave veteran while you claim to ‘support our troops.’

    Matt

  12. Paul June 12, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    baseless?

    http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/

    If the Republicans were okay with drawing purple hearts on band-aids at the Republican convention in 2004, and if the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are allowed to taint an election, then certainly these guys are allowed to do speak their peace as well, are they not?

    Yeah, Matt, that’s what I thought.

    A little google search can do a lot of good.

  13. Paul June 12, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/

    baseless no more.

    Two minutes doing a google search, and you too can avoid calling someone names when they’re just quoting stuff.

    Just like the Republicans did with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, right?

  14. Paul June 12, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    Well, Denny’s got a filter that won’t let me post a link to a website which disproves your last post Matt.

    Allow me to try this the sneaky way then…

    double you double you double you dot

    vietnam veterans against John McCain

    dot com

    Do the necessary clipping and the like, and you’ll have yourself a website.

    And before you dare say that a website like that isn’t fair, I’d like to remind you of the Republican smears on Max Cleland and The Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth.”

    Baseless? Ummm, nope.

    And where did I say I’d vote for Obama? Oh, that’s right, I didn’t. Please read before you type.

  15. Matt Svoboda June 12, 2008 at 11:07 pm #

    Paul,

    My post doesn’t imply that you are voting for Obama. I was merely comparing McCain to the man he is running against. So Republican smears on Max Cleland and make that website viable? Your argument doesn’t make since. So yes, baseless. It is interesting that you avoid my point in you slamming this particular veteran about him being a veteran and yet still say, ‘support out troops.’

    Matt

  16. Paul June 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    have you disproven the claims of that website?

    Probably not.

    All I’m saying is that the Republicans started smearing veterans in 2004, and turnabout is fair play. (remember the band aids with the purple hearts drawn on? How about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?)

    If the Republicans were right to distort Kerry’s record, or claim that he wasn’t the hero that others claimed he was, then those who don’t support McCain certainly have the right to question his record as well.

    And I love this whole idea that questioning someone’s competence is the same as questioning their patriotism. I never said McCain wasn’t patriotic, I said there was evidence that he was completely incompetent as a military guy.

    That hardly is a blanket statement on all military personnel. To characterize it as even anything close to that is a complete distortion.

    I do support the troops. I don’t support someone whose incompetence definitely cost the American taxpayers millions of dollars and possibly committed treason.

  17. Darius June 13, 2008 at 6:19 pm #

    Paul, I know your liberal bias means you ignore all evidence to the contrary, but Kerry was proven to have lied and admitted having done so about some of his claims regarding his service in Vietnam. The guy was a scoundrel, and most of the veterans who served on the Swift boats agreed (I think like 350 out of 400, which means it is highly unlikely that they are lying). Furthermore, he actually DID commit treason by meeting with the North Vietnamese in France.

    But carry on with your conspiracy theories and delusions of actually supporting our troops.

  18. Paul June 13, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    way to shoot the messenger Darius.

    Did you check out the site?

    And lose the attitude. It’s unbecoming.

  19. Scott June 14, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Since when does questioning an individual’s war record equate with questioning his/her patriotism? There’s a fine distinction between serving your country and serving your country well. The military makes this exact distinction (hence the need for MPs, war tribunals, etc). I think it’s an entirely legitimate and necessary enterprise, particularly when said individual is running for office.

    Paul touches on some key issues in post #7 that I think need addressing by the McCain camp.

  20. Matt Svoboda June 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Scott,

    They do not need addressed. They are mostly theories with minimal to no evidence. At least the evidence they speak of us not widely accepted! What does need addressed is the issues of abortion, foreign affairs, gay marriage, poverty, genocide, oil companies, social security, etc… At least if a person is a Chrstian ALL of those issues need addressed.

    Paul,

    so because Republicans pointed to proven evidence of Kerry’s (self-admitted) military record then Democrats have a right to slander a commonly accepted war hero because a few people question the legitimacy of his record? One points at evidence and the other swings a punch and you call if fair play… Interesting and unchristian. Sometimes I do not know where you get your ideals from, certainly not from Scripture. But I guess liberal Christians have a habit of that. I am sick of liberal ‘christianity.’ Talk about giving Jesus a bad name. And don’t come at me with ‘religious right’ crap because I am in no way associated with that type of politics.

    What is funny is that Tony Campolo admits in ‘Red Letter Christians’ that 19th century slavery was an issue worthy to be a ‘one issue voter’, but that abortion is not. How is slavery a ‘one issue voter’ but the killing of unborns isn’t. Such hypocrisy. There are so many errors in liberal Christianity and it gets worse everyday. Soon it will not look like Christianity at all. it is already on its way there. In a few centuries traditional Evangelicalism will look back on the liberal christians of today and say, ‘what were they thinking?’ Surely it is something that will be learned from in the future, at least hopefully.

    Matt

  21. Scott June 14, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    The man publicly degrades his wife & you don’t think that demands explanation? I don’t see how you can justify giving McCain a free pass. Yes, genocide needs addressing. But, I’ve seen absolutely nothing to lead me to believe the republican party gives a darn about it. Oil companies? You really think McCain’s going to address that problem? Let’s not discuss foreign affairs. The Bush administration has set us back decades with its gross incompetence on the international front. And, as a believer, I don’t really care if the next president makes gay marriage a priority. If we spent half as much time fighting to keep our own marriages in tact as we do fighting to keep those from happening…

    What has Paul said that is “unchristian?” And, let’s be careful in so confidently asserting what/who is giving Jesus a bad name. People have a way of crafting a Jesus of their own self-projection! Many “liberals” get their ideas out of Scripture, just like you do. We may have a different hermeneutic(s), a different way of doing the necessary history work, and a different epistemological foundation…BUT, at least some of us embrace an absolutely humbling Christology and hold firmly to Scripture’s inspiration and sufficiency. If that is not enough, than I’d say that it’s tradition and not Scripture that is guiding critical judgments.

  22. Scott June 14, 2008 at 11:22 pm #

    Matt,

    I read more carefully over your last post and apologize if I unfairly labeled you as one of the “religious right.”

    I enjoy the dialogue! Thanks for the response.

  23. Paul June 15, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    Matt,

    http://www.vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com/cin_mccain_lost_five_u.htm

    everything there is backed up.

    There’s nothing blind swinging or then unchristian about it.

    And if not understanding the difference between political and cultural factions in a part of the world that we have a major presence in is in need of addressing, dude, you need not vote.

    If calling your wife the c word is not worth addressing, you need not vote, either, as if he’s willing to use such derogatory language towards his wife, what’s he going to say to Angela Merkel when she upsets him?

    If not worrying about when our troops come home is not worth addressing, sir I pray that you will not vote, as you are blind to the plight of our soldiers who enlist to protect us. Leaving them flapping in the wind is the act of a FOOL.

    Get as mad as you want, Matt. Call liberals whatever you want. The truth is that the Republican candidate for a president is a hack of a candidate and while he most certainly suffered at the hands of his captors, does not seem like at all the war hero he was made out to be.

    Sorry.

    Read the link. It’s all backed up with sources.

    Enjoy the reading.

  24. Matt Svoboda June 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Scott,

    Thank you for the kind dialogue. Yes, degrading his wife is bad. Degrading anyone is bad. But someone speaking down to his wife, which me being married is a big deal, is not something the American people need to dwell on when picking a president! McCain does have a lot of the same views as Bush, but he won’t run things exactly the same, he won’t make the same decisions and I think he will be a better commander and chief. We can’t say look at all the crappy areas the Bush administration has sucked at and say ‘this is why we can’t vote McCain.’ Bush has sucked in a lot of big ways. I don’t think he is the worst president ever, but he has not been good.

    Matt

  25. Matt Svoboda June 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    Paul,

    I read the article. It was interesting, but you make way to big of a deal of it. So one guy rights a book and said, McCain sucked. How do you know that the author and his buddies didn’t just hate McCain and say that he was overrated. I don’t know what exactly happened, but slandering the man for serving our country is pathetic and not ‘supporting our troops.’ He still suffered for our country and he should be honored for it: even if he wasn’t the best pilot. I can’t believe that article was your basis for all of this. I’ll never say he was an amazing pilot, etc. Because I don’t know. But I do know that he was a POW and was willing to go fight in the first place. How is it at all Christian to slander him? I do not slander Obama. I publicly disagree with his positions, but I in no way slander the man. Even if he is elected Christians ought to not slander our president. And yet here you are slandering a presidential candidate that was a POW… It is pathetic.

    Matt

  26. Mark Gibson June 16, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    McCain Lost 5 Aircraft: (Misleading headline)

    McCain’s third crash three occurred when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game.

    Timberg reported that McCain radioed, “I’ve got a flameout” and went through standard relight procedures three times before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain landed on a deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees.

    McCain’s fourth aircraft loss occurred July 29, 1967, soon after he was assigned to the USS Forrestal as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot. While seated in the cockpit of his aircraft waiting his turn for takeoff, an accidently fired rocket slammed into McCain’s plane. He escaped from the burning aircraft, but the explosions that followed killed 134 sailors, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and threatened to sink the ship.

    McCain’s fifth loss happened during his 23rd mission over North Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967, when McCain’s A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. McCain ejected from the plane breaking both arms and a leg in the process and subsequently parachuted into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi.

  27. Darius June 16, 2008 at 11:08 am #

    Leave it to Paul to promote the unfounded slander of a presidential candidate…

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