FORMER United States president George W. Bush last week made a monumental gaffe when he said the invasion of Iraq was unjustified when he meant Ukraine.
While psychologists would want to refer to such a gaffe as a Freudian slip, Iraqis and all peoples of the progressive world didn’t see it that way.
For everyone else, the gaffe was an expression of inner guilt felt by the former president for invading Iraqi on the pretext that it had weapons of mass destruction.
He called the invasion of Iraq “a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion” certainly giving a window to his unconscious mind that continues to trouble him years after the deaths of thousands of civilians and the removal and killing of Saddam Hussein.
Although the former president attributed the slip to his old age, we have no doubt that even with the given heartlessness of the American leader’s psyche, his unconscious humanity still troubles him to this day.
Besides, Mr Bush is not one of your intellectually gifted leaders and would never measure up in any country if it were not that he is the son of a former president. In his prime as president, Mr Bush made numerous embarrassing gaffes that made people doubt his IQ.
Mr Bush once boasted that people “misunderestimated” him and how much he felt for single mothers “working hard to put food on your family”.
But the classic one happened in 2004 when he warned that America’s enemies “never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
But the Iraq gaffe seems to be the most haunting one in that he has in the past admitted how he was so affected by the discovery that the country had no weapons of mass destruction.
“No one was more shocked and angry than I was when we didn’t find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do,” he writes in his memoir, “Decision Points.”
Indeed, that sickening feeling manifested itself when the 43rd US president referred to the invasion of Iraq as unjustified when he addressed an audience at his presidential library in Dallas last Wednesday.
His audience giggled, but the gaffe was a stark reminder that the world is still living under the devastating costs of that invasion. A sectarian civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people continue to die is the order of the day in Iraq.
There is no doubt that Mr Bush’s gaffe clearly makes a mockery of America as the paragon of virtue. It has certainly weakened America’s credibility and standing on the world stage and explains why most African countries and the Middle East are not supportive of NATO’s handholding of Ukraine.
As Zimbabweans, we have no doubt that in private conversations, American leaders are aware that there was no justification for the continued stay of sanctions on our country.
We are also aware that Americans and the West used the veil of human rights to punish Zimbabwe for daring to correct historical iniquities on land. It was the land issue that got Zimbabwe punished and not the human rights alibi.
Zimbabwe was made an example of what not to do or to be emulated by other countries still suffering the ignominy of land disparities.
The international campaign against Zimbabwe led by the US, Britain and its European allies, supported by some elements within South Africa, is aimed at preserving white minority interests and nothing else.
As Zimbabweans, we are happy that the world has vindicated our government for embarking on the land reform programme, something the World Bank took long to realise.
In 2018, the World Bank released a report that was in support of a comprehensive land reform programme in South Africa as the only way of reducing income disparities and promoting social cohesion.
This reported contrasted sharply with a similar situation in Zimbabwe in 2000 when the World Bank and Western nations punished the country for embarking on the land reform programme.
After more than 20 years of opposing land reform in Zimbabwe and supporting economic sanctions, including the denial of lines of credit and debt postponement in March 2006, the World Bank seemed to have finally seen the light when it supported land expropriation without compensation in South Africa.
The World Bank report states that “South Africa has come a long way since the advent of democracy, but its transition remains incomplete,” because “then highly skewed distribution of land and productive assets is a source of inequality and social fragility, fuelling contestation over resources.”
Titled, “An Incomplete Transition: Overcoming the legacy of exclusion in South Africa”, the report was so revolutionary and very contrary to what the Western world and multilateral financial institutions they control did against Zimbabwe on account of its land reform programme.
The West’s major TV channels and newspapers that were at the forefront of the propaganda war against Zimbabwe refused to publish the report- except for the right-wing American TV channel, One American News Network (OAN).
What this tells us is that America has never stood for the rights of the black majority but has continued to pursue its parochial interests. This is what some local American lackeys fail to realise.
It explains why some local opposition parties were at a loss on how to respond to Mr Bush’s gaffe. The emperor had removed his clothes and the world looked in shock.