Awkward reservation the former U.S. President George W. Bush may have caused laughter in his American audience, but it has angered Iraqis.

In a speech in Dallas on Wednesday night about Russia’s war against Ukraine, Bush called the invasion of Iraq, which he himself ordered, “unjustified and brutal” – before recovering quickly.

The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein and opened one of the bloodiest periods in the country’s modern history, marked by interfaith warfare and the rise of jihadists.

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

But on Wednesday, Bush spoke about the war in Ukraine during an event organized by his foundation.

“One man’s decision to launch a completely unfounded and brutal invasion of Iraq, I mean Ukraine,” he said in his speech, causing laughter in the audience.

“It doesn’t matter, it’s 75,” he added, referring to his age, to another burst of laughter.

Since then, a video of this trick has gone viral online: one Twitter post has been viewed more than 14 million times in less than half a day.

It has also been widely picked up by the Arab media, sparking anger among Iraqis.

“The specter of invasion and destruction in Iraq haunts Bush Jr. His subconscious revealed this when he took over his language, ”Iraqi journalist Omar al-Janabi tweeted.

“Yes, this is a brutal and unjustified invasion that will remain your worst nightmare,” he added.

Iraqis have also taken to Facebook to criticize the former US president.

“The moment of truth has come – the invasion of Iraq is a nightmare of a lifetime that torments your conscience,” wrote Hamza Kusai.

“The crime of your occupation of Iraq and its destruction will remain a nightmare that haunts your sleep and torments your dead criminal conscience,” Nahed al-Tamimi added.

The US-led invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003, after allegations that Saddam’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. No one was found.

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