LONDON: 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.”
Though the Iraq invasion “does not excuse what happened subsequently in Ukraine,” Miliband conceded that potential Western hypocrisy is a “very, very serious point.”
He added: “Ukraine has united the West, but it’s divided the West and wider parts of the world. Forty or 50 countries have refused to join any condemnation (of Russia), not because they support the invasion of Ukraine, but they feel that the West has been guilty of hypocrisy and weakness in dealing with global problems over the last 30 years.”