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Europe

Bush Says He Regrets Aggressive Tone on Iraq

US President George W. Bush expressed regret over the use of aggressive language over Iraq and said he should have used a "different rhetoric."

Bush with advisers Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, around the time of the Iraq invasion

His rhetoric didn't make him sound like a "man of peace," Bush says

In an interview published in British daily newspaper The Times, Bush said his stance over Iraq had made the world believe that he was a "guy really anxious for war."

His use of phrases such as "bring them on" and "dead or alive" had indicated to people that "I was, you know, not a man of peace," Bush said.

"I could have used a different tone"

"Look, I think that in retrospect, you know, I could have used a different tone," he told The Times.

Protesters participate in an anti-war vigil on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in downtown Los Angeles, Wednesday, March 19, 2008. A poster reads 4,000 dead.

It is "painful" to put soldiers in harms way, Bush says

But the truth was that he found it "very painful to put youngsters in harm's way" and that he had an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain, he said.

Bush has been widely accused of pressing for military intervention in Iraq from shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, despite little or no evidence of a link with the "9/11" hijackers.

The US leader insisted that he had pressed hard for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Bush calls diplomacy efforts an "untold story"

"One of the untold stories of Iraq is that we explored diplomacy a lot," he said.

"We all wanted to solve this 'disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences' in a diplomatic fashion. After all, I went to the United Nations Security Council," he added.

President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast Thursday, May 1, 2003.

Bush declared combat over in 2003

Bush said he was concerned that policies by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama might open divisions in Western attitudes towards Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The world ought to work together and "keep focused," Bush told the paper.

Bush predicts strategic accord with Iraq

Meanwhile, in a question and answer session following a final state visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bush predicted Washington and Baghdad would work through rifts and reach a deal on the continued deployment of US forces in Iraq.

"I think we'll end up with a strategic agreement with Iraq. There's all kinds of noise in their system and our system," he said.

Bush made his comments during a European tour that took him to Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10 and 11, and will go on to Italy, France and Britain.