In a gaffe, former US President George W. Bush called the invasion of Iraq "unjustified" before correcting himself to say he meant to refer to Russia's war on Ukraine, local media reported on Wednesday evening.
“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 “I mean, of Ukraine.”
He was delivering a speech at an event in his presidential center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, according to daily The Dallas Morning News.
The 75-year-old former president blamed his age for the gaffe as the audience erupted in laughter following an initial awkward silence.
Bush also compared Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill, Britain’s premier during World War II, and condemned the Russian regime as autocratic.
“The way countries conduct elections is indicative of how their leaders treat their own people, and how nations behave toward other nations,” Bush said. “And nowhere is this on display more clearly than Ukraine,” he said.
The US invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003, on the premise that there were weapons of mass destruction in the country, which ultimately turned out to be false.
On Jan 10, 2007, Washington announced it would send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq where the violence continued with momentum. On Feb. 27, 2009, then-President Barrack Obama said US troops would withdraw from Iraq by late 2011.
British troops left Iraq on May 22, 2011 and US troops left on Dec. 18 the same year.