LONDON: Former US President George W. Bush found himself somewhat embarrassed after he called the invasion of Iraq “wholly unjustified and brutal” while discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at his presidential center in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday, Bush said,:“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq … I mean, of Ukraine.”
The freudian slip joins a long list of Bush’s verbal gaffes delivered over the years.
The US invaded Iraq in 2003, with the Bush administration claiming at the time there were weapons of mass destruction in the country. However, UN inspectors found no evidence of the existence of such weapons before the invasion.
US military operations in Iraq dragged on until 2011, with tens of thousands of civilians killed and displaced and almost 5,000 coalition troops killed.
On Twitter, many quickly pointed out the irony of conflating the invasions of Iraq and Ukraine. Justin Amash, a former congressman from Michigan, tweeted: “Oof. If you were George W. Bush, you think you’d just steer clear of giving any speech about one man launching a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion.”
Another tweeted: “That’s not a Freudian slip, it’s a Freudian tumble down the stairs.”
“Awww. there goes that ol rascal george, reminding everyone of his war crimes. hahaha! isn’t it cute? please excuse him. he’s 75, so it’s okay to laugh off the millions he killed. we have fun here at the institute. now where was he? oh yeah, Putin’s unprecedented evil” tweeted another.
Writer and entrepreneur Adam Best wrote: “George W. Bush has always been the Michael Jordan of speaking gaffes but never expected a Freudian slip where he admitted to being a war criminal.”
Some have speculated that the slip-up could be used as evidence in a possible prosecution of Bush for war crimes, with one tweeting: “This should be admissible as evidence at The Hague.”
In his speech, Bush said that elections in Russia are rigged and political opponents are imprisoned or eliminated from participating in the electoral process.
The 75-year-old former president blamed the slip on his age, and after an awkward silence, the audience laughed.