Bush mixes up invasion of Ukraine with his own administration's invasion of Iraq, during speech

The former president was delivering remarks at the George W. Bush Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Updated: May 19, 2022 - 2:02pm

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During a speech about Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, former President George W. Bush on Wednesday accidentally referred to the invasion of Iraq launched by his administration as "wholly unjustified and brutal."

The 75-year-old quickly corrected himself and tried to laugh off his gaffe with a quip.

"Russian elections are rigged," Bush said during a speech at Southern Methodist University's George W. Bush Institute that focused on the subject of election integrity. "Political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from the electoral process. 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."

He then corrected himself, saying, "I mean of the Ukraine, heh."

"Iraq too," he then said. "Anyway ... uh ... 75," he quipped, alluding to his age.

Bush ordered the U.S. military invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on faulty information that the country was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. The invasion ultimately led to the deaths of more than 250,000 people, including close to 5,000 U.S. troops.

Last week, Bush called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky "the Winston Churchill of our time" following a call he had with the foreign leader. 

"I thanked the president for his leadership, his example and his commitment to liberty, and I saluted the courage of the Ukrainian people," wrote Bush in the caption of an Instagram post that he tagged at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas. "President Zelensky assured me that they will not waver in their fight against Putin's barbarism and thuggery."