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Iraq war decision was wrenching, says Laura

London, Nov. 17 (Reuters): US First Lady Laura Bush defended her husband for the “wrenching” decision to wage war on Iraq and said he did it to ensure the security of the US and for the sake of world peace.

In an interview broadcast the day before she arrives in London with President George W. Bush, she said the decision over Iraq was the toughest he had made.

“It is by far the most difficult decision and it’s a wrenching decision,” she said in a television interview with ITV news broadcast today. “To hear of the injuries and the deaths of American soldiers or any allied soldiers is wrenching.”

She said it was a “great thrill” for her and her husband to stay at Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace. They will also be greeted, however, by tens of thousands of protesters angry over the US-led war on Iraq and its bloody aftermath.

In a charm offensive on a predominantly hostile British public, Bush has said in TV and newspaper interviews that he was glad he was visiting a free country where people could protest.

“He’s very straightforward. People know what he thinks, he says what he thinks and I appreciate that. That’s an American characteristic,” Laura Bush said of her husband.

“There’s nothing pretentious about my husband. He’s always been very strong, he’s been very disciplined,” she added.

Laura Bush, a former librarian and teacher, said the couple were very excited about the visit.

“I think it’s (the British monarchy) a fairytale to the US. Americans have always been fascinated by the monarchy and certainly the British monarchy,” she added.

Laura Bush will also have lunch with the wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cherie, and attend a children’s performance of a Shakespeare play.

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