Caitlin Johnstone: Bush’s Freudian Confession on Iraq

In their less-guarded moments, even the worst empire managers know deep down what is true and let it slip out.

By Caitlin Johnstone

I can’t believe it really happened.

During a speech in Dallas at Southern Methodist University’s George W. Bush Presidential Center on Wednesday, the man himself, George W. Bush, did a great thing.

While criticizing Russia for rigging elections and shutting out political opposition (which would already be hilarious coming from any American in general and Bush in particular), the 43rd president made the following 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. I mean, of Ukraine.”

And then it got even better. After correcting himself with a nervous chuckle, Bush broke the tension in the empire-loyal crowd with the words, “Iraq too. Anyway.” He then quipped that he is 75 years old, leaning harder on his “Aw shucks gee willikers I’m such a goofball” persona than he ever has in his entire life.

And Bush’s audience laughed. They thought it was great. A president who launched an illegal invasion that killed upwards of a million people (probably way upwards) openly confessing to doing what every news outlet in the Western world has spent the last three months shrieking its lungs out about Russian President Vladimir Putin doing was hilarious to them.

There are not enough shoes in the universe to respond to this correctly.

As comedian John Fugelsang put it, “George W. Bush didn’t do a Freudian slip. He did a Freudian Confession.”

One of the many interesting things about this occurrence is the likelihood that Bush’s words tumbled out in the way they did because he’s either heard a lot of criticisms of his invasion or has been thinking a lot about them.

A familiar neural pathway would explain why his brain chose the exact worst word he could possibly swap out for “Ukraine” in that moment. This would be a small light in the darkness for we ordinary folk who oppose war and love peace, because it suggests that even the worst empire managers cannot fully insulate themselves from our criticisms.

All that spin and narrative management they’ve been pouring into the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine and Bush undoes it all with the Bushism to end all Bushisms.

While the Western political/media class constantly rends its garments over “disinformation” about the Ukraine war even as U.S. officials openly admit they’ve been using the media to circulate disinformation about that same war, and even as the Biden administration imprisons and persecutes a journalist for exposing U.S. war crimes, we get a square admission that the U.S. is no better than Russia and that the only thing obscuring this is the fact that we are all swimming in a sea of disinformation and propaganda provided by that same political/media class.

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And this admission comes not from any low-level empire lackey, but from the man himself. The guy. The man whose name alone serves as a one-word debunk of every claim made about how uniquely nefarious Vladimir Putin is on the world stage and how uniquely depraved is his invasion of Ukraine.

If you really look at what just happened, really truly ingest it, this one incident just by itself is enough to show you that we are swimming in a sea of lies designed to give us an upside-down and ass-backwards perspective of what’s going on in the world.

If Bush himself can’t always tell the difference between the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Ukraine, then this means our news media and our politicians are lying to us constantly. They lied to us through 2002 and 2003, and they never stopped lying, and they are lying now in the year 2022.

The entire mainstream worldview is a perceptual distortion filter which obscures the public understanding of world events so severely that Bush has been not just forgiven for his crimes but actively rehabilitated in the public eye, while the enemies of the United States are continuously compared to Adolf Hitler and condemned throughout the U.S.-dominated world.

In reality the U.S. is the single most tyrannical and destructive government on this planet, and it is only because the public is fed a nonstop deluge of propaganda that this isn’t universally obvious.

Even the worst empire managers know deep down that this is true, and, in their less guarded moments, sometimes the truth slips out.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a book, Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” 

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Bush’s Freudian Confession on Iraq

  1. RR
    May 23, 2022 at 04:14

    ‘If Bush himself can’t always tell the difference between the invasion of Iraq and the invasion of Ukraine, then this means our news media and our politicians are lying to us constantly.’

    The truth is out there…

    “What do we all seek? New outlets for an ever-increasing commerce and for industries which, producing far more than they can consume or sell, are constantly hampered by an increasing competition. And then? Why! New areas for trade are cleared by cannon shot. Even the Bourse (the Stock Exchange) for reasons of interest, can cause armies to enter into campaign. (Marshal Foch, French army leader during WWI, United Services Magazine, London, December 1918.)

    A century after the war to end all wars started, we are informed that ‘Russia’s president knows exactly what he wants, and it’s not eastern Ukraine. His interests are all about oil and gas and supply routes. The rest is smoke and mirrors’ (Daily Beast,1 March 2015) and ‘A senior U.S. State Department official said Thursday that a massive Ukraine aid package ? which contains $4 billion in grants for allies to buy American-made military hardware ? is partly aimed at eroding Russia’s share of the global defense market. “There is an opportunity here for us to work on helping other countries divest from Russian equipment moving forward,” Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The U.S. should take advantage of the Russian invasion force’s poor performance against western-backed Ukrainian forces and Russia’s faltering defense supply chain, she said, to diminish Moscow’s influence abroad and increase America’s’ (yahoo, 13 May).

    The truth is wars are always and only waged for largely commercial reasons – access to raw materials, markets, trade routes and strategic positions from which to defend them all. Wars are never fought in our interests. War often results when conflicts of interest between states over markets, sources of raw materials, energy supplies, trade routes, exploitable populations and areas of strategic importance cannot be resolved by other means.

    ‘The current war is solely a confrontation between two states, two groupings of capitalists, two nationalisms. It is not for anarchists to choose which is the ‘lesser evil’. We do not desire victory for either side. All our sympathy is for the ordinary peaceful working people who are perishing today under gunfire, missiles and bombs’ (extract from NO WAR! statement of the International Workers’ Association section in the region of Russia).

  2. jared
    May 22, 2022 at 20:28

    In my understanding, Putin did not fabricate a rationale to go to war with Ukraine.
    His reasoning was pretty consise and solid and openly evident for those curious to understand.

    There is little parallel between Irag and Ukraine other than in each case the US was instigator and was done for commercial reasons and reasons of global domination and probably driven by same 3 letter agency.

  3. May 21, 2022 at 14:42

    This is just an extension of Bush’s comic skit where he mocked “looking for WMD’s” to much audience laughter (I forgot exactly here that stunt was done).

    Bush did not make a Freudian slip. This is his pathetic way of apology, issued with his pathological frat boy demeanor and sense of humor. He knows he did wrong. He intentionally said this.

    • Yolanda Johnson
      May 23, 2022 at 06:33

      I agree with your assessment. It was intentional.

  4. May 20, 2022 at 14:29

    This reminds me that I do not feel at all bad about having ended a 30 year friendship in 2005 after my friend voted for GWB a second time in 2004.

    My friend was a fundamentalist Christian but did not fit the worst stereotypes of people of that persuasion. I was a Christian (though not fundamentalist) when I first met my friend but later became unhappy with Christianity. My friend had accepted it, and we were able to still be good friends.

    I was bothered when my friend was going to vote for GWB in 2000 (anybody but Gore, and he was very strongly against abortion), but was willing to accept it at the time.

    I was more bothered in 2004 when my friend indicated, without any hesitation or any sign of doubt or second thoughts, that he was going to vote for GWB again. And I was especially bothered when my friend indicated that he was in favor of the Iraq war. He felt that we needed to go in to get rid of Saddam Hussein, just like he felt that we had needed to stop Hitler in Germany in the 1930’s.

    The one thing that my friend said that most especially bothered me was that he felt that it was OK that we had gone into Iraq even though we did not find the purported weapons of mass destruction, because Intelligence is not an exact science. Also I seem to remember he was not bothered by reports of torture; I do not recall his reasons.

    Even though my friend had been a very good friend, I needed to reevaluate my friendship with him. As it turned out we mutually agreed to part company, and did so on amicable terms and we agreed we could have fond memories of our past relationship. However I have absolutely no desire to try to renew our friendship.

    Though I have to say that I have since learned and realized that even though GWB and the Republican party are evil, that does not at all mean that Democrats are good and OK.

    • Sam
      May 20, 2022 at 23:08

      Mike, thanks for your interesting story and how you resolved a conflict you experienced with another person.

      I have those conflicts, which involve different people and many issues, and I’ve struggled on how to handle it. Lately, I’ve decided to be truthful, yet always welcome the friendship. Such an approach is extremely practical, especially when it involves members of your own family. I cannot justify breaking relationships with my sister or brothers, and cousins, for any reason. In many cases, I just don’t talk about the issues that are divisive. This somewhat contradicts my commitment to speak truth to arrogance and ignorance, but life’s complications prove that sometimes such a commitment needs to be postponed, for the greater goals.

      Such an approach is also an acknowledgement of my own imperfections and vulnerability and the fact that I can’t prove any of my beliefs. When I admit such imperfections to myself, I feel a sense of relief, and an ability to express my feelings openly.

      An example concerns the Palestine/Israel struggle, in which I freely admit that the Israeli Jews are practicing Settler Colonization, Apartheid, illegal occupation, theft of land, dispossession, daily murders and unjust detention, and ethnic cleansing, etc. Now, how bad can you get? Yet I have about a dozen Jewish friends and relatives who argue in defense of Israel, and none of them admit to being Zionists. I of course regard them all as duped and ignorant and people who let their Tribal imperatives rule their moral lives. Pretty bad, but my solution? Freely tell them that I believe they are bigots and racists, yet at the same time engage them on other issues, especially the ones we agree on. Such a clear message tends to shock the relationship, but it hasn’t ended it. A couple of these Jews don’t communicate as much as they used to, and a number have lashed out at me. But none of them have completely broken relations with me, nor I them.

      I guess my belief here is that it’s better to keep the lines of communication open because it maintains the possibility you can communicate truth back at them in answer to their disinformation.

      but no issue for me is as troublsome as the Arab/Jew struggle. I have many Jewish friends and relatives, and all except one clearly

      • May 24, 2022 at 01:38

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

        Actually I had proposed to my friend, whom I had first met at a job where we were both working when we were both graduate students in the mid 1970’s, that if we got together (in 2005) we could talk about school, work, and people we both knew, or any other “safe” subjects. However I did not want to hear his thoughts about any controversial issue, and I did not want to hear anything about his or his family’s church or Christian activities. And I said this to my friend knowing that church and Christian activities are very important to him and his family. His wife taught music at a Christian elementary school, and had a singing ministry which was very important to her. And both of his two daughters went to a private Christian college. I especially cannot respect the religious faith of anybody who was for GWB or the Iraq war, or who is now in favor of somebody like Trump. So I felt that I had to make the subject of church or Christianity off limits to discussion.

        Agreeing not to talk about sensitive or divisive issues often works with families, as you said. However my friend did not want to try to maintain a friendship if our friendship was subject to reevaluation based on religion or politics, or if we could not talk about certain things. So we mutually agreed it was best to end our friendship, and we did so on good terms and without rancor. We agreed we could have fond memories about our past relationship, and we exchanged best wishes for each other’s futures.

        I would especially think that my friend might not have wanted to maintain our friendship if certain things that were important to his wife and his family were off limits to discussion.

        My friend was a fundamentalist Christian. He was never “in your face” about his religion or his political views. However he did go to a very fundamentalist megachurch, whose pastor is very well known among fundamentalist Christians. I had been a Christian, but not a fundamentalist Christian, in the 1970’s, but since then became unhappy with Christianity. And I had a number of other Christian friends who were good friends when I was serious about Christianity, but with whom I since had come to realize I no longer had anything in common, and with whom I stopped being in touch. So I formally ended my friendship with this one particular Christian friend.

  5. Robert Emmett
    May 20, 2022 at 14:24

    Liar’s tongue. What’s the matter son? No more whispers from slick operatives to keep your story straight? It’s OK, Shrub, never mind if your brain won’t behave. Like Poppy, there’s plenty more to take to your grave. Besides everybody already knows what you let slip is true. You ain’t foolin’ anybody anymore but you (and your personal gaggle of honkin’ fools).

    So, give it a rest, man. You’re comin’ off punchdrunk. Like, the rope-a-dope ain’t never worked. You took too many hits, got nothin’ left. Except to jerk yerself with your own petard to rattle & twist in a wicked wind like an old reed, as you slowly go to seed.

    • iwasathought
      May 20, 2022 at 23:11

      Excellent. Thank you.

    • Elif Özdemir
      May 22, 2022 at 01:27

      Aferin! Harika.

  6. Julio Santos
    May 20, 2022 at 10:47

    All what I saw was the reddish face of a drunken alcoholic. Seems that his born again conversion stopped working and he never grew up. But we have to remember Bernard Shaw’s dictum that democracy is the best political system that gives the people the government that they deserve. We have to be more selective of the candidates that we elect and so far the winners of the price have been corrupted Ratpublicans or DemonRats.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    May 20, 2022 at 10:11

    Our lives being run into the ground by idiots…

    • Charles McLure
      May 20, 2022 at 17:23

      Not to mention our finances.

  8. Realist
    May 20, 2022 at 05:29

    Not only all that, but the man sounded a bit tipsy, did he not? Sure looked like he’d hoisted one too many.

    Why is a mass murderer still trotted out to amuse the oligarchy?

    An appearance by Will Smith and his schtick might have sobered up both Dubya and his audience.

    You can tell I’ve never been a fan.

    • irina
      May 20, 2022 at 22:43

      He sounded 2 sheets to the wind to me. And the laughter of the audience was chilling,
      these same people are probably calling for Putin’s head on a platter. Nary a word about
      this important faux pas in any mainstream media that i’ve checked today . . .

  9. Me Myself
    May 20, 2022 at 05:19

    Great article 2 funny and 2 true!

  10. mgr
    May 20, 2022 at 05:06


  11. LeoSun
    May 20, 2022 at 03:08

    Caitlin Johnstone, NAILS IT!!! “All that spin and narrative management they’ve been pouring into the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine and Bush undoes it all with the Bushism to end all Bushisms.”

    Gee Dubyah Bush feeling his freedom; and, the world off his back, the cowboy from Texas, who started his own war, in Iraq, @ 75, self-combusted!

    AND, “It was the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then-Senator Joe Biden, who played a central role in pushing through the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that provided a congressional rubber stamp for the illegal invasion.”

    “Some humans ain’t human, some people ain’t kind
    They lie through their teeth with their head up their behind
    You open up their hearts, and here’s what you’ll find
    Some humans ain’t human, some people ain’t kind.” John Prine, from his Album: Fair & Square, 2005.

  12. Cynic
    May 20, 2022 at 01:42

    “Oh what a web of deceit we weave, when we first learn to deceive..”

    On one hand is the adage that “Truth will eventually prevail”, while USA is betting against that in a continuous barrage of never-ending lies to the whole entire world, that Truth can be infinitely delayed… (Makes you realise that the US government is truly on the side of evil.) The entire house of cards will collapse like a dam holding back unimaginable volumes of water, and that will be the day of the collapse of the American empire. Cracks are already appearing with more and more people noticing and pointing the cracks out. The rate of cracks appearing seems to be increasing. I believe we will witness the collapse in our lifetime.

    • Charles McLure
      May 20, 2022 at 17:29

      I don’t disagree with you but I might add: One more reason for all the immigration, aside from the cheap labor, is that America will lie, cheat and steal until the day we’re all dead. Then we’ll truly be a nation of immigrants. America will be a nation of immigrants too uneducated to notice what the US is really up to and too afraid to point out the hypocrisy and lies.

  13. D.P
    May 20, 2022 at 00:13

    Knowing Bush, he might have said Iraq intentionally, just to have some fun. Remember him dancing at Dallas Police Memorial Service?

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