George Bush's gaffe after condemning Putin's 'unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq'

19 May 2022, 09:05 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 09:31

George Bush made a blunder during a speech confusing Ukraine with Iraq
George Bush made a blunder during a speech confusing Ukraine with Iraq. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Megan Hinton

Former US President George W Bush made an embarrassing blunder during a speech when he mistakenly described the invasion of Iraq as "brutal" and "unjustified" before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Ukraine.

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At a speech in Dallas on Wednesday Mr Bush condemned "the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq".

The former politician quickly realised his slip of tongue and corrected himself by saying "I mean of Ukraine" whilst shaking his head and smiling.

He went on to blame the mistake on his age as the audience burst into laughter, saying: "75."

During his presidency in 2003, Mr Bush sent US troops into Iraq to overthrow and authoritarian Saddam Hussein after unfounded concerns were raised about him acquiring biological and nuclear weapons.

The prolonged conflict has been criticised for leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.

Read more: Putin 'weaponising' world food supplies as global hunger levels reach 'new high'

His accidental remarks drew backlash from social media users with one writing: "At least he finally admits the Iraq invasion was unjustified."

After the confusion at the start of his speech, Mr Bush went on to call Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "cool little guy" and compared him to Winston Churchill.

Mr Bush said Zelenskyy had "legitimacy" after winning elections in Ukraine, adding: "And now he's leading his nation heroically against Russian invading forces.

"In contrast, Russian elections are rigged. Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated.

"The way countries conduct elections is indicative of how their leaders treat their own people, and how nations behave toward other nations.

"And nowhere is this on display more clearly than Ukraine. There's nothing more important than elections in a democracy.

"It's really important, and we have an obligation to stay true to our principles by holding free and fair elections."