Bush says waterboarding saved UK lives

George Bush returned to the public eye with a bang last night, using his newly published memoirs to claim that information the US gained by “waterboarding” terror suspects helped to foil at least two attacks on London.

The practice, which simulates drowning and is widely considered to be an act of torture, helped prevent planned bombings of both Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf, he said.

“Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives,” he wrote. “Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf, and multiple targets in the United States.”

Mr Bush provided no further details of the alleged intended attacks, and it was not clear whether their supposed ringleaders were ever brought to justice. Neither did he address the fact that waterboarding did nothing to prevent the bombings in London on 7 July 2005.

Almost two years since he left the White House as one of the least-loved presidents of modern times, the book he is promoting promises to be |America’s publishing event of 2010. In an interview to publicise the memoir, Decision Points, Mr Bush reasserted his belief that waterboarding did not amount to torture. Asked if it was ever used on the captured al-Qa’ida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he told The Times: “Damn right!”

Elsewhere in the 497-page book, the ex-president reveals that he once told the Pentagon to draw up plans for attacks on Iran and Syria but eventually decided against starting the third and fourth wars of his presidency.

He described Tony Blair as his greatest foreign ally, recalling how, when Mr Blair faced a possible no-|confidence vote in Parliament on the eve of the Iraq war, he offered him the chance to opt out of sending British troops. He said Mr Blair replied: “I’m in. If it costs the government, fine.”

The interview, on NBC, also saw Mr Bush shed light on his childhood, revealing that his career-long opposition to abortion was cemented when his mother, Barbara, showed him a dead foetus in a jar, saying it was the result of her having suffered a miscarriage.

“There’s no question that affected me, [giving me] a philosophy that we should respect life,” he recalled of the incident, which happened when he was a teenager. “I never expected to see the remains of the foetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital. There was a human life, a little brother or sister.”

Late last night, Mr Bush was due to appear in a Fox News interview expressing his view that his brother, Jeb, should stand for the Republican presidential nomination next year. This morning, he will kick off a nationwide tour by signing copies of his book at a shopping mall near his home in Dallas, before appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show this afternoon.

The man who emerges in Decision Points is familiar: a leader who prides himself on making judgements by gut instinct rather than after a lengthy perusal of the facts. “Dubya” comes across as one of the boys, incurious and defiantly anti-intellectual. “This is going to come as quite a shock to people… that I can write a book, much less read one,” he told friends a few months ago, in one of those garbled sentences known as Bushisms. In fact, he did not exactly write it; that task fell to Christopher Michel, 28, a former speechwriter, known to Mr Bush as “Junior Bird Man”.

Decision Points is structured around a dozen key moments, starting when he gave up alcohol at the age of 40, continuing through his decision to seek the presidency, the 9/11 attacks and the war to topple Saddam Hussein, in which he admits mistakes but insists the invasion of Iraq was still the right thing to have done. Generally speaking, however, it can be summed up in two words: no regrets.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices