US & Canada

Key excerpts: George W Bush's newly-published memoirs

The memoirs of former US President George W Bush have been published in the United States. We take a look at some of the key excerpts from the book, Decision Points:

Middle East peace

Mr Bush suggests that both Ehud Olmert and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, were willing to publicly back Mr Olmert's proposed peace agreement but a deal was scuppered when Mr Olmert was ousted as Israeli prime minister.

"We devised a process to turn (Mr Olmert's) private offer into a public agreement," Mr Bush writes. "Olmert would travel to Washington and deposit his proposal with me. Abbas would announce that the plan was in line with Palestinian interests. I would call the leaders together to finalise the deal."

But he says Mr Abbas "didn't want to make an agreement with a prime minister on his way out of office".

Iran nuclear

Mr Bush expresses anger that US intelligence agencies played a role in removing the option of military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

He describes the "eye-popping declaration" in the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) judging with "high confidence" that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme.

"Israel and our Arab allies found themselves in a rare moment of unity. Both were deeply concerned about Iran and furious with the United States over the NIE," he says.

Mr Bush told King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia: "The NIE was produced independently by our intelligence community. I'm as angry about it as you are."

Hezbollah

He writes of Israel's 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon that "the result for Israel was mixed".

"Its military campaign weakened Hezbollah and helped secure its border. At the same time, the Israelis' shaky military performance cost them international credibility.

"Unfortunately they mishandled their opportunity," he says, pointing to Israel bombing campaigns "of questionable military value".

Syria

Mr Bush says he considered ordering a US military strike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel's request in 2007, but ultimately opted against it.

"George, I'm asking you to bomb the compound," he says Mr Olmert told him. But he came to the conclusion that "bombing a sovereign country with no warning or announced justification would create severe blowback".

Mr Bush denies accusations that he then gave Israel the go-ahead to attack the installation.

"Prime Minister Olmert hadn't asked for a green light and I hadn't given one. He had done what he believed was necessary to protect Israel," he writes.

9/11

Mr Bush says his phone conversation after 9/11 with the then British prime minister, Tony Blair, was crucial to his presidency. "The conversation helped cement the closest friendship I would form with any foreign leader," he writes. Mr Blair told him "he would stand with America '100%' in fighting terror".

Iraq

He said that when Mr Blair faced the prospect of a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons prior to the invasion, he suggested that Britain could play a reduced role in Iraq.

Mr Bush says Mr Blair declined and told him: "I'm in. If it costs the government, fine."

Bin Laden

He says that he wished he could have brought Osama Bin Laden to justice, and the fact that the al-Qaeda leader continues to evade capture is "among my greatest regrets".

Katrina

Mr Bush says he is most angry at accusations that he was indifferent to the plight of the victims of Hurricane Katrina because so many of them were black.

"The suggestion that I was a racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low. I told Laura at the time that it was the worst moment of my presidency. I feel the same way today," he writes.

John McCain

He says that he could have helped the campaign of his fellow Republican, John McCain, who ran against Barack Obama in 2008, but Mr McCain distanced himself from the Bush administration.

It "looked defensive", he says, describing his "complex relationship" with Mr McCain, who he says failed to capitalise politically on the financial crisis and handle economic issues "in a statesman-like way".

Barack Obama

In contrast, there is no direct criticism of President Obama in the book, only praise for his policy on Afghanistan, and the "calm demeanour" he displayed before his election at a special White House meeting during the financial crisis.

Alcohol

"There's no way to know where my life would have headed if I hadn't made the decision to quit drinking. But I am certain that I would not be recording these thoughts as a former governor of Texas and president of the United States.

"I've been asked if I consider myself an alcoholic. I can't say for sure. I do know that I have a habitual personality."

Mother

He describes his mother, Barbara Bush, as "the enforcer".

"She could get hot, and because we had such similar personalities, I knew how to light her fuse. I would smart off, and she would let me have it," he writes.

"If I was smutty, as she put it, I would get my mouth washed out with soap. That happened more than once. I'm only half joking when I say I'm responsible for her white hair."

Miscarriage

Mr Bush tells how, as a young man, he drove his mother to hospital after she had had a miscarriage.

"She told me to drive steadily and avoid bumps. Then she said she had just had a miscarriage. I was taken aback. This was a subject I never expected to be discussing with Mother.

"I also never expected to see the remains of the foetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital. I remember thinking: there was a human life, a little brother or sister."

He added: "What I did for Mother that day was small, but it was a big deal for me. It helped deepen the special bond between us."

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