Nice to know some statesmen spoke up against this horror of a war:
Nelson Mandela felt so betrayed by Tony Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he launched a fiery tirade against him in a phone call to a cabinet minister, it emerged today.
Peter Hain, a lifelong anti-apartheid campaigner who knows the ex-South African president well, said Mandela was “breathing fire” down the line in protest at the 2003 military action.
The trenchant criticisms were made in a formal call to the minister’s office, not in a private capacity, and Blair was informed of what had been said, Hain added. The details are revealed in Hain’s new biography of Mandela.
“He rang me up when I was a Cabinet minister in 2003, after the invasion,” he told the Press Association. “He said: ‘A big mistake, Peter, a very big mistake. It is wrong. Why is Tony doing this after all his support for Africa? This will cause huge damage internationally.’ I had never heard Nelson Mandela so angry and frustrated. He clearly felt very, very strongly that the decision that the prime minister had taken – and that I as a member of the cabinet had been party to – was fundamentally wrong, and he told me it would destroy all the good things that Tony Blair and we, as a government, had done in progressive policy terms across the world.”
Hain grew up in South Africa, where his anti-Apartheid campaigner parents knew Mandela, who he now describes as “a friend and a hero”.