Bush felt 'closure' after Osama death
George W. Bush said he was relieved when he took the May 1 phone call from President Barack Obama informing him that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
“I didn’t … feel any great sense of happiness or jubilation,” the former president said in his first interview since U.S. special operations forces raided the al-Qaida leader’s compound in Pakistan. “I felt a sense of closure. And I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done.”
Bush was interviewed May 3-4 by the National Geographic Channel for a documentary marking the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. The film will air Aug. 28.
Bush rejected more than 500 interview requests immediately after bin Laden’s death. But he had agreed to the Q&A with filmmaker Peter Schnall prior to May 1.
The president who launched the war in Afghanistan said his initial reaction upon learning of bin Laden’s demise was to check on his family’s safety.
“One of my concerns, like the concerns of other husbands and wives, was: ‘Was my spouse OK? Was Laura OK?’ ” Bush said. “And my second concern was: ‘Were our girls OK?’ … And I finally found [Laura]. She was in a secure location. And it was awesome to hear her voice. And she had talked to the girls, and they were secure.”
Bush also recalled his first trip to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.
“From the air, it looked like … a giant scar,” he said. “But when I actually got to the site, it was like walking into hell.”