19 May 2022, 19:22

Bush gaffe on 'unjustified' war draws Iraqi ire 

 BAGHDAD, May 19, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - An embarrassing slip of the tongue by 
former US president George W. Bush may have drawn laughter from his American 
audience, but it raised the ire of Iraqis.

In a speech Wednesday evening in Dallas about Russia's war on Ukraine, Bush 
called the invasion of Iraq, which he himself ordered, "unjustified and 
brutal" -- before quickly correcting himself.

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and ushered 
in one of the bloodiest periods in the country's modern history, marked by 
sectarian warfare and the rise of jihadists.

Between 2003 and 2011, when the US withdrew its troops, more than 100,000 
civilians were killed, according to the Iraq Body Count tracker. The invasion 
cost the lives of nearly 4,500 Americans.

But on Wednesday it was the war in Ukraine that Bush talked about during an 
event organised by his foundation.

"The decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion 
of Iraq, I mean of Ukraine," he said in a speech, drawing laughter from the 

"Anyway -- 75," he added, referring to his own age, to another burst of 

Video footage of the gaffe has since gone viral online, with one post on 
Twitter having been viewed more than 14 million times in less than half a 

It was also picked widely up by Arab media, stoking anger among Iraqis.

"The spectre of Iraq's invasion and destruction haunts Bush Jr. His 
subconscious exposed it when it took over his tongue," Iraqi journalist Omar 
al-Janabi tweeted.

"Yes it is a brutal and unjustified invasion which will remain your worst 
nightmare", he added.

Iraqis also took to Facebook to criticise the former US president.

"The moment of truth has come -- the invasion of Iraq is a lifelong nightmare 
that plagues your conscience," Hamza Qusai wrote.

"The crime of your occupation of Iraq and its destruction will remain a 
nightmare that haunts your sleep and torments your dead criminal 
consciences," added Nahedh al-Tamimi.

The US-led invasion of Iraq was launched on March 20, 2003 after accusations 
that the Saddam regime had weapons of mass destruction. None were ever found.