In a stunning Freudian slip during a speech on Wednesday, former president George W. Bush mistakenly condemned the person behind the invasion of Iraq — himself — when he actually meant to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine.
"Russian elections are rigged. Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process," Bush said. "The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq— I mean, of Ukraine."
Bush, who led a catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003 that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and decimated its economy, then chuckled at his gaffe.
"Iraq too," he mumbled. "Anyway. I'm 75."
Bush was speaking at an event at his presidential library in Dallas about Russia's war in Ukraine. He forcefully denounced Putin and compared Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — whom he called a "cool little guy" — to Winston Churchill in his speech, but his verbal slip-up drew the most attention.
Led by Bush and his UK counterpart, Tony Blair, under the guise of the US's war on terror and the false claim that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, the invasion of Iraq was a huge disaster. Nearly 300,000 civilians and troops were killed, according to public records, and more than 9 million Iraqis were displaced internally and abroad. It also further intensified sectarian divides and empowered religious extremists.