WATCH Former President Bush’s Most Unfortunate Gaffe

Former President George W. Bush slipped into one of history’s most unfortunate gaffes when he accidentally condemned the “brutal, unjustified invasion of Iraq.” Bush actually meant to condemn Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, rather than his own 2003 invasion of Iraq. The former president immediately realized the significance of the gaffe and laughed it off, but critics have described it as a true Freudian slip.

Bush gaffe a Freudian slip?

The invasion of Iraq started one of the most controversial wars in American history and has earned Bush endless criticism from both the left and the right.

Thousands of U.S.  troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died in the ensuing conflict, which decimated ancient minority communities in Iraq and left the country in a precarious and unstable state that persists to this day.

Bush’s fiercest critics believe that he is a war criminal for ordering the invasion, so his gaffe at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas couldn’t have been more unfortunate for the former president.

Having realized that he’d said Iraq instead of Ukraine, Bush immediately corrected himself and muttered “Iraq too. Anyway, I’m 75,” prompting laughter from the audience.

Before the gaffe Bush had been describing Russia as a corrupt regime that rigs elections and imprisons opposition so that one man is allowed to invade an independent nation.

The speech was taking place at an event focused on the health of American democracy and elections after January 6, 2021. Bush intended the contrast with Russia to be favorable to the United States.

Critics pounce on mistake

The speech would have been criticized for using the Ukraine example anyway given the Iraq connection, but Bush detractors couldn’t have possibly found a critique as eloquent as the gaffe.

Freudian or not, the fact that the slip occurred when it did implies that Bush has gotten used to having Iraq on the mind the subject of brutal and unjustified invasions comes up.

The Iraq invasion was vigorously condemned by the international community at the time, with a few exceptions. It came to be just as controversial domestically as the conflict dragged on.

The justification given for the invasion was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was protecting Al-Qaeda terrorists.

Russia’s justifications for invading Ukraine have an undeniable resemblance, and the opponents of Bush have taken the opportunity presented by Putin’s war to revive criticisms of the 2003 invasion.

The mistake may have been simply the result of Bush hearing so many attacks on his own decision rather than a hint that he secretly believes them, but even as just a gaffe it is hard to think of a more unfortunate slip.

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