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Bush says rise of ISIS the only ‘regret’ for 2003 Iraq invasion

The former U.S. president said in an interview with Saddam Hussein was surprised the former would go ahead with the invasion

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Former U.S. President George W. Bush has claimed that the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group is his only regret about invading Iraq in 2003.

Bush, 68, who was speaking to U.S. network CBS News in a two-part interview, said that he believed he had taken “the right decision” to take over Iraq in 2003 and oust its longtime leader, Saddam Hussein.

But he added: “My regret is that…a violent group of people have risen up again…This is ‘Al-Qaeda plus’…they need to be defeated. And I hope we do…I hope the strategy works.”

Bush also said that he was surprised by Saddam’s insistence to stay in Iraq on the eve of the invasion instead of leaving.

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“You know, when he was captured -- I was told that the FBI agent that talked to him, he said, ‘I just didn’t believe Bush [that the U.S. would invade],’” he said. “And it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t believe me.”

“It was hard in retrospect, for me to look back and say . . . I don’t see how he could doubt my word,” he added.

The former president gave the interview ahead of the release of his new book – a biography of his father George H.W. Bush, entitled “41: A Portrait Of My Father.”

The book is scheduled to hit shelves on Tuesday, when the two will make a rare joint appearance at the elder Bush’s presidential library in Texas.

The book examines his father’s decision to launch the first war in Iraq in 1991, his early failures in politics and his stinging defeat to Bill Clinton in 1992.