London, Nov 6: Former British prime minister Tony Blair committed a mistake by sending his country to war in Iraq, according to Lord Mandelson, a former Labour cabinet minister.
Mandelson has been Labour party's former king of political spin, who helped mastermind Blair's three consecutive victories at general elections, the Daily Express reported Tuesday.
He said the former prime minister believed victory over Iraqi president Saddam Hussein would be a “short, sweet success” rather than the eight years of bloodbath that claimed the lives of 179 members of Britain's armed forces.
In an interview with this month's Esquire magazine, Mandelson also sought to blame the US for the invasion.
“He (Blair) expected it, obviously, not to be a walk in the park but to be a short, sweet success with the downfall of Saddam... It didn't turn out like that, which was more the Americans' fault than his.”
“But, I think, he should have gone into it with his eyes wider open,” Mandelson remarked.
In 2003, Blair had to face big street protests over Britain's involvement in the Iraq war and was dogged by accusations that he had shown blind subservience to the administration of the then US president George W. Bush.
The Iraq war was an armed conflict which consisted of two phases. The first was an invasion of Ba'athist Iraq by the US and Britain, commencing March 20, 2003.
The second was a longer phase of fighting, in which an insurgency emerged to oppose coalition forces and the newly formed Iraqi government.
The war officially ended Dec 18, 2011, when the US completed its withdrawal of military personnel.