Former President George W. Bush drew laughs from the audience after he misspoke and condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for the “brutal invasion of Iraq.”
From behind a podium at the George W. Bush Institute, the former president quickly, and awkwardly, correcting himself.
“In contrast, Russian elections are rigged,” he said. “Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process. The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia.”
Bush, who sent the US to war with Iraq based on false evidence of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, went on to deliver the Freudian slip of a lifetime.
“The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Bush said, before he corrected himself and stated, “I mean, of Ukraine.”
The 43rd president laughed awkwardly, realizing what he had just said.
Former President George W. Bush: “The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean of Ukraine.” pic.twitter.com/UMwNMwMnmX
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 19, 2022
“Haha… Iraq, too, anyway,” Bush snickered. He also blamed his age, saying simply, “Seventy-five.”
It is unknown how many people died due to the Iraq War that the crowd was giggling about. We do know that between 184,382 and 207,156 Iraqi civilians were killed in direct violence such as aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombings.
“Several times as many Iraqi civilians may have died as an indirect result of the war, due to damage to the systems that provide food, health care and clean drinking water, and as a result, illness, infectious diseases, and malnutrition that could otherwise have been avoided or treated. The war has compounded the ill effects of decades of harmful U.S. policy actions towards Iraq since the 1960s, including economic sanctions in the 1990s that were devastating for Iraqis,” a study from Brown University noted in 2019.
The study noted that much of the country still lacks clean drinking water, access to healthcare infrastructure, and housing due to the war.
Support from the war, both in Congress and by the general public, was based on a massive propaganda effort about Saddam Hussein having nuclear capabilities and allegedly having ties to al-Qaeda terrorists. The deception was perhaps simpler due to the nation still reeling and fearful from the attacks on the World Trade Centers.
Condoleezza Rice famously said on September 8, 2002, “We do not want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Colin Powell held up a small vial of yellowcake uranium during a presentation to the UN security council to offer “proof” of the dire situation, which we would later learn was false.
The Iraq Survey Group ultimately determined that Iraq was no longer producing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and that the nation had already destroyed all significant stockpiles of such weapons.
“I’m the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record,” Powell told ABC News in 2005. “It was painful. It’s painful now.”
As of July, 2021, there has been 4,431 US soldiers killed in Iraq and 31,994 wounded in action. This figure from the Department of Defense does not include suicides after the men and women returned home.
Many on social media did not appear to find the slip as funny as the audience did.
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. https://t.co/8zdH0ogOAy
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 19, 2022
Julian Assange faces a 175 year sentence if extradited for revealing war crimes such as the #CollateralMurder gunning down of civilians including two @Reuters journalists in Iraq #FreeAssangeNOW pic.twitter.com/DX0tgHjeiA https://t.co/Q4MbGIeUp6
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2022
George Bush accidentally confessing the truth, 19 years on. https://t.co/5TxiE9vZe6
— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) May 19, 2022
Freud just shot out of his grave like a psychiatrist pop up pirate https://t.co/lcEehB3PwB
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) May 19, 2022
I’m not haunted, you’re haunted https://t.co/xErpyqIPFH
— Mark Gongloff (@markgongloff) May 19, 2022
I wonder if the hundreds of thousands of dead people—American and Iraqi—find this admission as funny as the people in the video. https://t.co/czjf1GjtcN
— Tamoor Hussain (@tamoorh) May 19, 2022