It's nice to know that even after all these years, former Republican President George W. Bush is still capable of cringey gaffes.
Bush raised several eyebrows during a recent speech at his namesake institute in Dallas, in which he appeared to inadvertently scold himself for the invasion of Iraq he led in 2003.
Intending to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, Bush mistakenly said "Iraq" instead of "Ukraine" when decrying the "wholly unjustified and brutal invasion" being waged by Putin. Oops.
See his comments below.
Speaking in Dallas this afternoon, former President George. W Bush made a significant verbal slip-up while discussing the war in Ukraine. \n\nHe tried referencing what he described as the \u201cwholly unjustified and brutal invasion\u201d \u2014 but said Iraq, instead of Ukraine.pic.twitter.com/tw0VNJzKmE— Michael Williams (@Michael Williams) 1652918774
While discussing Putin's warmongering and silencing of political opponents at an event centered on election security and the preservation of American democracy, Bush told the audience at the George W. Bush Institute:
"The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq--I mean, of Ukraine."
Yikes. Freudian slip? It seems it may actually have been just that.
Amid chuckles from the audience, Bush then said:
He then jokingly chalked the gaffe up to his age.
Bush's reputation has been tempered over time, particularly given his brand of conservatism is comparatively moderate after the rise of former Republican President Donald Trump and much of the Republican Party's subsequent slide into extremism.
But Bush has been widely considered among the worst presidents in American history, most notably because of his 2003 invasion of Iraq. The war is nearly unanimously considered a disaster nowadays, even among those of both political parties who supported it at the time.
And Bush's "wholly unjustified" slip-up is particularly apt given the false pretenses upon which he invaded Iraq--to rid the country and its dictator of so-called "weapons of mass destruction" the United Nations subsequently found never existed.
Anger over Bush's dishonest selling of the Iraq invasion to the American people and the brutality and torture used in the war itself has grown so intense over the years that Bush has frequently been called a war criminal for violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Those charges were reignited in the wake of Bush's gaffe at the Bush Institute, with many on Twitter excoriating the former President.
George W Bush is a war criminal. Putin is a war criminal. What needs to be explored more is the nexus of officials, mafiosos, and corporate actors involved with both -- ties that often date back decades.https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1527092111195226114?t=UPr98jmnFx53V-bUkN338Q&s=19\u00a0\u2026— Sarah Kendzior (@Sarah Kendzior) 1652968700
At least George W. Bush admits that he\u2019s a war criminal now. Self awareness is a key step to recovery— Alex Bruesewitz (@Alex Bruesewitz) 1652927243
George W. Bush just admitted to being a war criminal of the likes of Vladimir Putin, then laughed. \n\nSickening.— Nina Turner (@Nina Turner) 1652925072
War criminal George Bush accidentally condemning the US invasion of Iraq as "unjustified and brutal" while demonizing Russia may be history's greatest Freudian slip.\n\nThis monster has the blood of over 1 million Iraqis on his hands. In a just world he'd face a war crimes tribunalpic.twitter.com/1cZt5SqH8j— Benjamin Norton (@Benjamin Norton) 1652930657
And many felt the slip-up was an insight into Bush's feelings about his time as President.
What's so astonishing is that Bush refers accidentally to Iraq being a "wholly unjustified and brutal" invasion, but then even when he corrects himself and says "Ukraine," he adds in "Iraq too." Is that, finally, after all these years, an (unwitting?) admission of guilt? https://twitter.com/mehdirhasan/status/1527109910412021761\u00a0\u2026— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan) 1652963006
Guilt can make a truth teller of anyone.. Yes it's a slip, but deep down he knows that's the truth and it's haunting him. That voice isn't leaving him anytime soon.. And it'll get louder n louder the more he nears his grave.. Well at least its better than been on ur 7th heart— Ad\u00e9w\u00e1l\u00e9 Ad\u00e9s\u00e0ny\u00e0 (@Ad\u00e9w\u00e1l\u00e9 Ad\u00e9s\u00e0ny\u00e0) 1652925780
I\u2019m really interested in the internal feelings that made him mumble and chuckle \u201c\u2026 and Iraq too.\u201d after correcting himself— MalcontentInTheMiddle | BLM | \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@MalcontentInTheMiddle | BLM | \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652923821
George Bush saying \u201cone man launched a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq\u201d during a speech today where he meant to say Ukraine is the funniest thing I\u2019ve heard all month. Dudes guilty conscious is straight up snitching on him. That\u2019s insane.— TeeBry Sensei \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@TeeBry Sensei \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1652941584
The gaffe overshadowed the real point of Bush's speech, which was an expression of solidarity and support for Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, whom Bush compared to wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.