LONDON (Arab News) –
Former UK Foreign Minister David Miliband has described his support for the Iraq War as “one of the deepest regrets” of his political career, The Observer reported on Sunday.
Speaking at the Hay literature festival in Wales, Miliband said the war had resulted in “real damage” to the West’s moral integrity and claims of promoting international order and justice.
He added that the invasion of Iraq may also undermine anti-Russian stances in the West over allegations of hypocrisy.
“I voted for the war; I supported the government’s position. There’s no question in my mind about quite how serious a mistake that was,” said Miliband, who is now CEO of the International Rescue Committee.
He urged audience members to consider the words of Kenyan President William Ruto, who has encouraged greater attention to be given to other parts of the world, including Palestine and Afghanistan.
Miliband said: “Yes, Ukraine has enormous poverty and crimes against its own population, but what about Ethiopia, what about Afghanistan, what about Palestine?
“And I think that’s what we have to take very, very seriously if we want to understand what’s the role of the West, never mind the UK, in global politics.”
He described the Iraq War as a “strategic mistake,” partly due to the “global lesson that it allowed to be taught.”
On March 20, 2003, the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq in blatant violation of international law and under the pretext of finding WMDs; but no such weapons were ever discovered in Iraq.
More than one million Iraqis were killed as the result of the U.S.-led invasion, and subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.
The U.S. war in Iraq cost American taxpayers $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, according to a study called Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.