Washington: Former US president George W Bush this week reportedly praised President Barack Obama's decision to order the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and declared: "The guy is dead. That is good."
Bush -- who famously declared after the September 11 terrorist attacks that he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive" -- spoke out on the al Qaeda leader at a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas, ABC news reported.
The former president said he was "not overjoyed" to hear that elite US commandos had taken out bin Laden in Pakistan, explaining that the covert strike had been carried out not "out of hatred but to exact judgment”.
"The guy is dead. That is good," Bush said, according to an ABC news contributor who attended the event. "Osama's death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader."
Asked about the accuracy of the report, a spokesman for the former president, David Sherzer, said: "Most of the quotes are not accurate. But the general tenor of the piece accurately reflects President Bush's views."
Bush said he was eating in a restaurant with wife Laura Bush and two friends when he received Obama's telephone call to inform him of the raid, and hastened home to take the call.
"Obama simply said 'Osama Bin Laden is dead’," ABC's source quoted Bush as saying.
After Obama detailed his decision to order the raid on bin Laden's fortified compound in Pakistan, Bush replied: "Good call."
The former president praised US intelligence services and recalled a meeting with secretive and deadly US Navy Seal "Team Six" in Afghanistan.
"I said, 'I hope you have everything you need. One guy said, 'We need your permission to go into Pakistan and kick ass’," ABC quoted Bush as saying.
First Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 11:04