Former U.S. President George W. Bush has made an embarrassing mistake in criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin over his decision to invade Ukraine.
Bush, in a speech earlier this week at the Bush Presidential Center, in Dallas, Texas, was taking aim at Russia's elections, saying they were 'rigged,' and that this had led to one man, "with the absence of checks and balances" being able to launch "a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq."
"I mean Ukraine," he said quickly. And then said "75," referencing his age, which drew considerable laughter.
Clips of the speech have gone viral and have cast a spotlight on the comparisons between Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and Bush's own invasion of Iraq, described in many quarters, including the United Nations, as illegal. That war too was wholly unjustified as it was based on allegations Iraq was amassing weapons of mass destruction, allegations that were found to be untrue, and completely baseless.
There have been no comparisons drawn by media or political apparatus in the west relating to the two invasions, but the criticism being leveled against Russia could equally be leveled against the United States, which appears to be widely regarded as one of the most vocal proponents of the opposition to the Ukraine invasion.
The Russian people have been hit with punishing sanctions whereas there was no one to take up the baton for Iraq. None of those who benefited from the trillions of dollars spent on the Iraq invasion, the defense industry, all those that were awarded multi-billion-dollar non-tender contracts, and in particular Vice President Dick Cheney and his company Halliburton, were ever held to account.
Iraq is still reeling from the nearly two decades of death and destruction that followed the ill-fated Iraq invasion of March 2003. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children, U.S. and allied troops, Red Cross, United Nations, and other humanitarian workers were killed, and millions more wounded; the major cities bombed into oblivion, beginning with the "shock and awe" air raids over Baghdad, all but destroying the city and its infrastructure; and the displacement of tens of millions.
Posts on social media have been quick to pounce on what has been probably one of the biggest Freudian slips of all time:
"Probably the closest thing we'll get to a confession," one post said.
"He finally told the truth."
"The truth always gets out, whether it's unintentionally blurted out or otherwise."
"Imagine laughing at this, and the war criminals are still there alive, enjoying their millions of dollars and luxury mansion and yachts, so depressing."
"The audience laughing tells you everything."
"Surprisingly, I actually agree with Bush on this one. "The decision of one man, to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq...." Yes Mr. Bush, THAT man needs to be held responsible for his actions."
"The Freudian slip of the century."
" the decision of one man, to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq"