PETALING JAYA, May 19 ― Former United States president George W. Bush had a Freudian slip-up for the ages when he mistakenly referred to Iraq instead of Ukraine.
Delivering a speech in Dallas, US, Bush commented on political suppression in Russia, noting that Russian president Vladimir Putin has had political opponents imprisoned.
He then 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.”
He paused before correcting himself, “I mean, of Ukraine”.
After another pause, he added with a chuckle, “Iraq too”, which drew laughter from the audience.
A clip of the moment, posted by journalist Michael Williams, has had 3.3 million views on Twitter so far.
Speaking in Dallas this afternoon, former President George. W Bush made a significant verbal slip-up while discussing the war in Ukraine.He tried referencing what he described as the “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion” — but said Iraq, instead of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/tw0VNJzKmE— Michael Williams (@michaeldamianw) May 19, 2022
Bush rounds up his gaffe by simply saying “75” ― a reference to his age.
Bush oversaw the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which killed thousands of Iraqis and led to the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime.
The US-led coalition claimed that the invasion was due to the existence of “weapons of mass destruction” or WMDs in Iraq, although a UN inspection team found no evidence of said WMDs.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Bush was speaking at an event which “examined the state of democracy and the safety of American elections”.
The outlet also reported that Bush called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky “a cool little guy” and compared him to Winston Churchill.
Twitter users were quick to mock and dissect Bush’s slip of tongue, with some saying that he was a “hypocrite”.
“I’m really interested in the internal feelings that made him mumble and chuckle ‘... and Iraq too’ after correcting himself,” said one user.
MSNBC host Mehdi Hassan however, brought some levity to the topic by pointing out the human casualties of war.
"I'm not laughing & I am guessing nor are the families of the 1000s of American troops & the 100s of 1000s of Iraqis who died in that war."My response to George W. Bush's bizarre Freudian slip, confusing Ukraine & Iraq, while hosting #MSNBCPrime tonight:pic.twitter.com/tijp5QVvWY— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 19, 2022