Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”. He said that he found it very painful “to put youngsters in harm’s way”. He added: “I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”
In the same interview, he also expresses regrets over not signing the Kyoto Protocol (remember when people were mad about that?) and says he can now see why much of the world thought of him as “guy really anxious for war.”
I'm guessing with his approval rating hovering between 25-30% and this being his last year in office, Bush feels like he has to leave some kind of positive legacy. Like when Bill Clinton made it his mission to try and bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians in 2000 (as opposed to any of the other seven years he had been in office,) this is an example of a president scrambling at the last minute to do something future generations can look back on and remember him by.
But if he thinks an apology on his tone is going to make anyone think differently about his eight years in office, Bush is (yet again) sorely misguided.