Getting a politician to tell the truth willingly is nearly impossible. However, sometimes they accidentally tell on themselves.
Former President George W. Bush slipped up and called his invasion of Iraq “wholly unjustified and brutal,” Townhall.com reported. Bush was speaking about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when he made the gaffe.
“In contrast, Russian elections are rigged,” the former president claimed in a speech Wednesday he made from the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. “Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process,” he added.
“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 quickly corrected himself. He tried to pass it off as a joke.
“Iraq too,” Bush laughed. “Anyway, 75,” he said, referring to his advanced age.
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
Social media pounced on Bush for his blunder, and many called it a Freudian slip, hinting that he inadvertently revealed his own misgivings about his presidency. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq was predicated on retrieving weapons of mass destruction, but none were found, the Associated Press reported.
Though U.S. forces successfully toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the absence of the weapons became a bone of contention among Bush’s adversaries. After leaving office, Bush would joke about not being able to find the weapons despite the loss of life and treasure in the process.
“Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere,” he quipped during the 2004 White House Correspondents Dinner next to a photo of him looking under furniture. However, it was no laughing matter even at the time.
Bush’s presidency was defined by the invasion of Iraq and the political fallout that came with the revelation that there were no weapons in the nation. Perhaps it is Bush’s age that accounts for his blunder, but it’s also possible that his own mistakes are still haunting him.