Washington: Former US president George W Bush, who sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan during eight turbulent years at the White House, says he has "a duty" to thousands of American war veterans.
Bush, whose two terms were shaped by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and wars that made him unpopular at home and abroad, has rarely stepped into the limelight since leaving the White House in 2009.
With an estimated 6,800 US service members killed and 51,000 wounded during his time in office, Bush told ABC television`s Sunday program "This Week": "Yeah, I have a duty."
"Obviously I get slightly emotional talking about our vets because... I`m in there with them," he added.
Bush, who as well as playing golf is using his spare time to support war veterans -- including launching a study on how to reintegrate returning vets into the civilian world -- added: "These are men and women who volunteered in the face of danger."
"I mean, they knew right after 9/11 that the nation would seek justice and to protect ourselves. And some got hurt, and some of them need a lot of help. And our nation owes a huge debt of gratitude," ABC quoted him as saying.
Bush had previously said that he hopes history will see him as a president who liberated millions of Iraqis and Afghans, who worked towards peace and who never sold his soul for political ends.