When speaking at his presidential library, Bush accidentally said "Iraq" instead of Ukraine when he is condemning the illegal Russian invasion, as seen here. He also followed up his mistake by saying "Iraq too." Does this count as an admission of guilt?

Theoretically, can the International Criminal Court, or the US Supreme Court, charge the Bush administration for this illegal invasion?

  • Are you sure it was accidental? Aug 22, 2022 at 17:15
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    The decision to charge to someone with a crime doesn't depend on a confession. Someone can be charged without confessing, so Bush could have been charged at any time. The main problem is the US having withdrawn from the International Criminal Court.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 22, 2022 at 17:16
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    SCOTUS cannot bring charges; it only hears cases. The DOJ would have to charge Bush with a crime and it would have to be something based on US law. SCOTUS is also not the court of first resort so a lower court would hear the case first.
    – doneal24
    Aug 22, 2022 at 17:42
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    An accidental misstatement is never an official admission of guilt.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 22, 2022 at 20:54
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    @Obie2.0 At best it is an ambiguous, off the cuff statement in a non-official context. Still wouldn't be an official admission of guilt.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 23, 2022 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


I expect it was a (mild) expression or remorse more than any admission of guilt. I doubt Bush thought his actions in Iraq were illegitimate at the time, but has come to understand over the years that it was a pointless and wrongheaded course of action.

At any rate, the US never signed onto the ICC and thus cannot be charged there, and no US court is going to charge an ex-president over failed policy. We elect presidents to make hard decisions of that sort, and wrong decisions are an occasional and unfortunate fact of life. Not usually on that scale, of course, but...

  • I think you have forgotten the fake "the second gulf of tokin incident" that lead to US participation in the Vietnam War which is also a fruitless errand. US-backed Chilean coup that ousted a democratically elected president, US acknowledgment and hands-off attitude that lead to the Kwangju massacre, and the failed, directionless US invasion of Afganistan......Not usual enough?
    – Faito Dayo
    Aug 22, 2022 at 19:46
  • @FaitoDayo That's five examples over 80+ years. Even at one horrible mistake per decade, that's pretty unusual compared to the sheer number of other internal and international decisions a President makes.
    – Bobson
    Aug 22, 2022 at 20:19
  • @FaitoDayo: I had rolled the Afghanistan debacle and Iraq debacle together as effectively a single debacle, but I'll grant your point on the others. I could even list a few more, I suspect. But only Vietnam is comparable in terms of the magnitude (sheer bull-headed persistence) of the mistake. Errors of judgment in politics happen frequently enough, but it's relatively rare to see a US president fall into the full tar-baby routine. Aug 22, 2022 at 21:24

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