George W. Bush Never Wanted To Be a 'Wartime President'

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Former President George W. Bush marked the 13th anniversary of 9/11 by speaking at a luncheon in Cleveland, where he voiced regret that the terrorist attacks turned him into a "wartime president."

Appearing at a fundraiser for Cuyahoga County Community College, Bush offered up recollections from that fateful day in September 2001, which he began in Florida reading a storybook to schoolchildren.

Repeating a story he has told frequently, Bush said he and his team initially thought the first plane that hit the north tower of the World Trade Center was an accident, according to WKYC:

Minutes later, an aide informed him that "America is under attack" after the second plane hit the second tower.

My first goal was to project calm and not be rattled he said. I saw the horror, the shock , the doubt.....I became something I did not want to be, a wartime president."

Within weeks, Bush ordered the start of a war in Afghanistan that continues to this day. Eighteen months later, he launched another nearly decade-long war in Iraq.

With President Obama announcing the start of another prolonged military campaign in the Middle East, Bush declined to weigh in on the strategy his predecessor laid out on Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.

The president has a tough job and I don't want to make it any tougher."

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