In reference to Did Soviet Union ever apologize for its alliance with Germany before 1941?

We all know that the US and its coalition has invaded Iraq in 2003. They have toppled a government which was not democratic and also had a history of military incursions into its neigbours, but it was largely seen as a legitimate by its citizens and not on the brink of another war with any of its neighbours.

The outcome Iraq war looks mostly negative:

  • The liberal democracy in Iraq did not materialize to date,
  • The illegitimacy of American-installed governments as well as power vacuum has created ISIS,
  • Large number of civilian casualties (e.g. Fallujah) as well as damage to environment (such as by using depleted uranium shells, causing a long tail of health damage such as cancer in Iraqi population),
  • The whole war thing when you invade and occupy another country.

So have they ever said sorry for these actions to date in the following 20 years? I'm looking for something official from any branches of the US government as opposed to opinions of American public, some of whom are known to condemn that war. Allies' apologies are also relevant.

  • 21
    "illegitimacy of American-installed governments". For better or worse, Iraq had elections after the invasion (2005, 2010, 2014). That some Sunnis did not like that and would rather have a Califate is like saying the illegitimacy of Boris Yeltsin and [of] Putin created the uprising(s) in Chechnya. Feb 12, 2023 at 2:05
  • 9
    They have toppled a government... [that] was largely seen as a legitimate by its citizens... Citation needed.
    – Ian Kemp
    Feb 12, 2023 at 10:57
  • 13
    I've downvoted and voted to close. These question that are "inspired by" are not good questions, and with each iteration get more and more "pushy". There are literally thousands of interactions between two countries and I don't want one for every pair of countries Let's stop this now.
    – James K
    Feb 12, 2023 at 11:54
  • 24
    You can add a fifth element onto the list: false pretenses. The main excuse for the invasion was the allegation of chemical weapons, which has been proven to be false.
    – vsz
    Feb 12, 2023 at 16:14
  • 4
    The motivation was also questionable at the time. The alleged weapons of mass destruction were never found. Maybe also for this somebody apologized? Feb 12, 2023 at 17:57

4 Answers 4


Well, since you include allies, Tony Blair did apologize for some aspects of it (namely starting it for partly the wrong reasons), although he was no longer in government at that point, when he said it:

“I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he [late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein] had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought,” Blair told CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria. [...]

Blair fell short of a whole-encompassing apology for the war when he said: “I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he’s not there than that he is there.”

“Of course, you can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015,” he said. [...]

“We have tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq; we’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya; and we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria,” Blair said. “It’s not clear to me that, even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better.”

Also out of office, foreign secretary Jack Straw also apologized for the "loss of life".

I'm deeply sorry for the loss of life, but what I'm not going to do is to say I'm sorry about the decision I made at the time. [...]

If we had known then what we subsequently learned there would have been no possibility of British military action, it would have been both unlawful and impossible, but that's with the benefit of hindsight.

By the way, I'm not aware that an Iraqi government (or even their parliament) has demanded an apology for the invasion as a whole, although it's possible some parties in Iraq did, especially those that were and are opposed to any American presence/involvement in Iraq. Actually, I'm rather sure of the latter now. A certain Ali al-Jubouri, on behalf of the Political Council of the Iraqi Resistance did ask for that, around 2009. It seems they were the political wing of some Sunni insurgents, but gained no parliamentary representation (at least under that PCIR moniker).

Maliki's government did sometimes ask for official US apologies on specific actions that had resulted in (non-combatant, I guess) casualties.

Regarding ISIS, it's also worth recalling that the "American installed" (rather Iraqi-elected) government of Maliki (1) essentially demanded that the US forces leave Iraq, which happened in 2011, (2) was even upset that the US was conducting behind the scenes negotiations with Sunni groups like one mentioned in the previous paragraph (that para also has a source for the Iraqi gov't protests in that regard.) And the sectarian divide (recall that Shias are a majority in Iraq) was hardly fueled by Washington, e.g. circa 2013-2014, when ISIS made the splash...

a Sunni member of parliament named Ahmed al-Alwani had inflamed the crowds, accusing Maliki of being in league with the Iranian regime, the region’s great Shiite power. “My message is for the snake Iran!” Alwani shouted into a microphone, jabbing his finger into the air. Referring to Maliki and those around him as “Safavids” and “Zoroastrians,” terms that denote Iranian invaders, he said, “Let them listen up and know that those gathered here will return Iraq to its people!”

So while you may see those governments as "American installed", quite a few Sunni's had different views as to whom controlled those governments of Iraq. (Three days later Maliki's forces arrested al-Alwani and killed his brother in a firefight, by the way.) Removing any agency from all other players but the evil US is typical of a certain strain of propaganda.

  • 19
    The second quote reads more like "sorry that I'm not sorry"
    – alamar
    Feb 11, 2023 at 22:38

On November 28, 2008 (or thereabouts), President George W. Bush, in an interview with ABC News, said that he "regret[ted]" the "intelligence failure in Iraq".

This is not an official apology, by any means. "Regret" is not the same as "apologize", and he did not go on to say the invasion itself should not have been ordered. But I think this is closer than anything mentioned in any of the answers so far.

Note this was while he was still in office, so in some sense it is an "official" statement by someone in the US government.

GIBSON: You've always said there's no do-overs as President. If you had one?

BUSH: I don't know -- the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn't just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence. And, you know, that's not a do-over, but I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.

GIBSON: If the intelligence had been right, would there have been an Iraq war?

BUSH: Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the U.N. resolutions were being upheld. In other words, if he had had weapons of mass destruction, would there have been a war? Absolutely.

GIBSON: No, if you had known he didn't.

BUSH: Oh, I see what you're saying. You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate.

Full transcript from ABC news, Wayback link

  • 1
    I'm going to approve this answer not because it's the best apology possible, but because that's what you may have pragmatically, and certainly comparable to the level of Russia condemning pact with Nazis.
    – alamar
    Feb 14, 2023 at 9:56
  • 2
    "regretting the intelligence failure" is not an apology. It is further manipulation to paint as a mistake what was done on purpose.
    – FluidCode
    Feb 14, 2023 at 12:35

While not in any way a formal apology, former U.S. President George W. Bush did admit that the invasion of Iraq was unjustified.

...the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine. Iraq too. Anyway. 75...

The topic he was talking about leading up to that statement was about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so it sounds like he originally said "Iraq" by mistake. Even so, while he very well may have never intended to mention Iraq and originally said it accidentally, there is a noticeable pause between when he says "I mean of Ukraine" and "Iraq too", indicating that he does indeed believe that Iraq was also unjustly invaded. This is further cemented by his shrug and nodding, as can be seen in the video.

Nonetheless, his statements don't appear to meet the dictionary definition of an apology and no branch of the U.S. government has issued an apology (and as far as I'm aware, no formal apology has been issued by any branch of government of any of the U.S.' allies in the invasion.)

EDIT: some say in the comments it was just a gaffe. Supposedly he has told his advisers that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein and that he has not changed his mind about that, so they very well may be correct.

  • 4
    I suppose it is open to interpretation, but to me that looks more like just a gaffe than any kind of admission regarding Iraq. I read the shrug and nod as "what an absurd mistake I just made" and laughing it off. Especially with the subsequent "seventy-five" which I understand as a reference to his age, making fun of himself for behaving like a confused old man. Feb 13, 2023 at 21:36
  • (The video is from May 2022, at which time he was indeed 75 years old.) Feb 13, 2023 at 21:47
  • 1
    I don't think he said "Iraq too". The subtitle just says "Iraq." There's a very short sound between "Iraq" and "Anyway" but it seems like a stretch to hear it as "too". Feb 13, 2023 at 21:50
  • 2
    The story linked above claimed "He then said “Iraq too” to laughter from the crowd.", making it pretty clear that it was largely taken as a joke.
    – Nat
    Feb 14, 2023 at 5:42
  • 1
    This would be less controversial of an answer if you said that "Al-Jazeera asserts that Bush said it was unjustified". Your answer makes it sound like he actually did admit it was unjustified, which other comments have noted is not clear at all.
    – Machavity
    Feb 17, 2023 at 20:03

The United States government has not apologized for invading Iraq. See, e.g., here (noting calls for the U.S. to do so because it had not done so on March 20, 2018), here (calling for an apology to be made on July 30, 2019 because it had not be made at that point), here (Bernie Sanders calling for an apology to be made in a May 28, 2019 news story), and here (George W. Bush misspeaking in a way that implied that the invasion was not justified, accidentally and in an unofficial capacity while not holding any public office, in May of 2022, which was notable because there has been no official apology from the U.S. government).

I have not seen news reports since May of 2022 indicating that the U.S. has apologized, which would have been highly newsworthy, despite searching on Google for any such stories and generally following political news in the U.S. on a daily basis.

Approximately thirty other countries were involved in the U.S. invasion of Iraq as its allies, and I can't speak to the actions of countries other than the U.S. with which I have far less familiarity.

  • 1
    Ironically, I actually wrote that answer because of another of ohwilleke's answers, which I read before it was edited. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/69265/…
    – Allure
    Feb 13, 2023 at 23:13
  • @Allure FWIW, I didn't take any action related to your answer and I probably wouldn't have vote to close it. It is hard to prove a negative.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 13, 2023 at 23:21
  • Likewise, per your link, Sanders asked/suggested a certain Bill Kristol apologize for their advocacy of the war. So, you're reading a bit much into that. Feb 14, 2023 at 2:44
  • FWTW, I managed to discover who Deni Leonard is news.cgtn.com/news/2020-07-28/… I suspect the next SE Q is going to be if the USA has apologized for taking Indian/native lands. As an aside, the answer to that is equally qualified indianlaw.org/node/529 Feb 14, 2023 at 9:41

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