Bush compares Zelenskyy to Churchill, in gaffe calls Iraq invasion unjustified

The Detroit News

Dallas — Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday weighed in on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, comparing Ukranian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill and contrasting political systems with Russia's, but in doing so, made a cringe-worthy comment.

“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, wincing a before realizing his mistake. 

“I mean, of Ukraine.”

The audience was silent, until Bush said: "Iraq, anyway," then under his breath: I'm 75," at which point the audience laughs.

Bush and his administration have long been criticized for the invasion in 2003 of Iraq, which killed more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel, according to the Pentagon, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and military members, Iraq's government said.

Bush was speaking during a George W. Bush Presidential Center event, "Elections — A More Perfect Union."

Americans are getting accustomed to verbal slip-ups with a 79-year-old president who frequently garbles his message.

Although Bush's speech was intended to be critical of Russia, it was a rare instant in which a former president seemed to criticize his administration's most controversial use of aggression.