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George Bush calls Iraq invasion 'wholly unjustified and brutal' in blunder

Speaking about Russia's invasion, former president corrects himself by adding 'Ukraine', before seemingly saying 'Iraq too'
Former President George Bush speaking at the George Bush Institute on Wednesday 18 May 2022 (Screengrab)

Former US president George W Bush accidentally described the invasion of Iraq as "wholly unjustified and brutal" in a speech on Wednesday.

Standing at the lectern at the George W Bush Institute in Dallas, speaking about the importance of democracy, Bush mistook Iraq for Ukraine while speaking about the Russian invasion

"The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq," he said, adding, "I mean of Ukraine."

After a pause, he then appeared to say, "Iraq too, anyway... 75," a reference to his age, which elicited laughter from the audience.

The US and coalition forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 when Bush was president.

The invasion and ensuing civil war led to the death of nearly half a million Iraqis, and internally displaced 2.8 million people.

The video of the gaffe has been widely shared.

The columnist Wajahat Ali tweeted, “Took 20 years for George W Bush to finally confess,” while comedian John Fugelsang tweeted, “George W Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian confession." 

The former Ohio state senator Nina Turner tweeted: “George W Bush just admitted to being a war criminal of the likes of Vladimir Putin, then laughed. Sickening.”

Wednesday’s speech was the first time the former president has spoken out against the war in Ukraine.

Bush also described the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a “cool little guy” and compared him to the wartime British prime minister, Winston Churchill. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.