“Russian elections are rigged, political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process. The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia,” Bush said while delivering remarks at the George W. Bush Institute.
He added, “The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.”
Bush went on to correct himself, saying, “I mean, of Ukraine.”
Acknowledging his mistake, Bush said, “Iraq, too, anyway.”
The crowd laughed as he pointed out his age, “Seventy-five.”
Check out Bush’s gaffe below:
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
NPR noted Bush led the U.S. invasion of Iraq on the basis that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction and was headed toward a nuclear weapon.
In 2018, The Washington Post reported nearly 5,000 U.S. service members lost their lives in the war.
“We have no ambition in Iraq except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people,” Bush said in 2003.
He added, “Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
In 2005, Bush responded to critics of his decisions.
“The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges,” Bush said during a Veterans Day speech.
He added, “When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support.”
Bush argued, “While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.”
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