W’s Freudian Slip

A prior Dubya faux pas

As we merrily skip toward the cliff known as the end of America’s democracy, yesterday we got a little reminder of a Key Moment That Got Us Here, the invasion of Iraq. And in keeping with the hellish black comedy that is our current timeline, the deliverer of that little reminder was none other than the poster child for that particularly notable foreign policy failure, former U.S. President and Mediocre Amateur Painter George W. Bush.

The former president, also known as W, Dubya, Dumya, or Shrub, was giving a speech in Dallas at an event, and this happened:

First things first, let’s talk a little about the rehabilitation of George W. Bush. There was this odd trend a few years ago, during the First Reign of Trump, to try to polish the image of Dubya – “he wasn’t all that bad!” And perhaps the most dumbfounding moment in our political discourse, when Dumya offered Michelle Obama a mint during John McCain’s funeral, the entire punditry lost its mind over this landmark moment of bipartisanship. A nice little gesture? Sure, absolutely.

But, let’s not forget what Bush oversaw, which was a disastrous invasion that met none of the goals claimed by his administration. We did not spread democracy, we did not find any WMDs, and we did not create a stable region centered by a grateful nation that loves us for being a liberator. The war was started based on ideas such as Saddam’s involvement in 9/11 and possession of WMDs which can be called terrible foreign policy at best. At worst, it can be referred to as outright lies to start a war that will economically benefit their donors.

We as a nation also stepped through the looking glass during that time and openly became a nation that tortures. In fact, Bush’s main helpers seemed to be rather proud of that legacy. It can be argued that once we became a nation that openly tortures, we started down a very dangerous path where values, ethics, and mores went out the window and anything, even ending democracy, became possible.

Of course, along with torture, there are also the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, and the years of being bogged down in what became America’s longest war. There’s also the Mission Accomplished moment, pictured above. All this kind of needs a little more than an offer of a mint to the opposition party’s First Lady to make it okay.

Was Bush giving an unconscious confession during his speech yesterday? Perhaps. There really are parallels between Iraq and Ukraine. Both were started based on right-wing nonsensical mythology, both are full of lies, and both feature leadership trying to control the narrative as it is all going south. Maybe the former president was acknowledging those by accident, but hard to know what he is thinking at any given moment.

The writing this little gaffe off as a joke, which is what Bush did in the moment during his speech and what some in The Discourse are going with now, is just bizarre. The idea to make a joke like that on such a subject is highly disrespectful to those who suffered in Iraq and those who are suffering in Ukraine. I know that we are in The Age of the Troll where trolling to own the libs is a key part of the current conservative strategy, but this coming from Dubya strikes me as rather odd.

It truly was, to quote Andrew Stroehlin of Human Rights Watch, “the Freudian Slip of the Century.”

The last word goes to an old chestnut from the Iraq War era. Those were the days.