We all enjoy the occasional gaffe or mistake by world leaders, especially when it’s a Freudian slip. Although we can’t say for sure if this was a Freudian slip, on May 18th, 2022, George W. Bush was giving a speech at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas and in his speech, he accidentally made a mistake when talking about the recent war in Eastern Europe. Bush, who is now 75 years old, is expected to make a few mistakes here and therer, considering his advanced age. He noticed his mistake immediately and then said, “I’m 75,” to much laughter in the audience.
Not everyone is as forgiving of the 75-year-old President for this gaffe during his speech. Several brought up the war in Iraq and how it was not justified since we did not find weapons of mass destruction during that time. So many of the commenters were snarky with their sarcastic and sometimes witty comments about the President’s mistake when discussing the Eastern European war.
Took 20 years for George W. Bush to finally confess.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) May 19, 2022
However, when talking about the war in Iraq specifically, George W Bush has said repeatedly that a day doesn’t go by where he doesn’t think of the many soldiers that passed away due to his decision to go to war. While President, he regularly went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near the White House. It was unannounced primarily due to security reasons, but also so it wouldn’t hassle the staff. He regularly saw up to 25 patients every day that he went.
When he visited each soldier at Walter Reed, he asked what the doctors had said and tried to communicate with each patient. Sometimes he had to wear a mask because of the risk of infection to them. Sometimes he could talk to them, and they could respond to him. Other times the soldiers were intubated or unconscious, and still President Bush came to see them. Most of the time, the soldiers had their familiesn standing next to them when the President came. More often than not, these families were delighted to talk with the President and get a picture with him while he visited their loved ones. That wasn’t always the case, though.
President Bush also faced families beside themselves with grief and heartache as they watched their child or husband dying from war wounds. Yet, when these families confronted President Bush and screamed at him, he stood and took it because he knew his decision led to that soldier to his death. He never argued back with them, and later on, it was as if he felt he deserved to be yelled at.
A president is only as good as his advisors. When President George W Bush was in office, we had the worst terrorist attack ever on this soil, and he did everything in his power to ensure another would not occur. Hindsight is always 20/20, and although we can sit and look back and say he made mistakes when you look at the time these mistakes were made and the people advising the President at that time, it is wholly understandable why he made the decisions he made. The entirety of the United States supported the President and at least tried to keep our borders safe.
Would I have chosen to go to Iraq against Saddam Hussein? I remember emailing and writing letters saying that we didn’t need to go to war because I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t give an alternative solution in all my letters and writing and screeds. To blame President Bush entirely for that war is unfair to him and unfair to all of us who were alive back then and didn’t have any alternative answers. We were lied to, including President Bush. He did the best he could with the information he had in a time when people wanted answers, and answers were in short supply.