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George W. Bush at a baseball game earlier this month. File photo: AP

George W. Bush makes gaffe, calls Iraq invasion ‘unjustified’ instead of war in Ukraine

  • George W. Bush slipped up at an event, decrying the invasion of Iraq, instead of the war in Ukraine
  • Former US president paused for a moment, caught himself, and laughed at the blunder, blaming his age
Ukraine war

Former US president George W. Bush mistakenly described the invasion of Iraq as “brutal” and “unjustified” before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bush made the comments in a speech during an event in Dallas on Wednesday, while he was criticising Russia’s political system.

“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,” Bush said, before correcting himself and shaking his head. “I mean, of Ukraine.”

The comment left the audience in an awkward silence. Then, Bush shrugged and said under his breath: “Iraq, too.”

The crowd erupted in laughter after Bush blamed the mistake on his age - 75.

In 2003, when Bush was president, the United States led an invasion of Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that were never found. The prolonged conflict killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced many more.


Bush’s remarks quickly went viral on social media, gathering over three million views on Twitter alone after the clip was tweeted by a Dallas News reporter.

The former US president also compared Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, while condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching the invasion of Ukraine in February. Bush described Zelensky as a “cool little guy”.