American and British pilots whose bombs killed Iraqi civilians were murderers, and actions taken by those two countries during the invasion and occupation of Iraq amounted to terrorism, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Friday.
Several British and U.S. diplomats walked out in protest of Mahathir's broadside against their countries in a speech at a national conference on human rights.
Mahathir, who ruled majority Muslim Malaysia for 22 years before retiring in 2003, also defended his human rights record in government. He was often criticized for detaining suspects without trial under a security law and for the imprisonment of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Mahathir decried the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as a result of the U.S.-led military invasion and occupation. He compared American and British actions in Iraq to rocket attacks by Israel on Palestinians, and referred to those countries as "these terrorist nations."
"The British and American bomber pilots came, unopposed, safe and cozy in their state of the art aircraft, pressing buttons to drop bombs, to kill and maim," Mahathir said of the Iraq invasion. "And these murderers, for that is what they are, would go back to celebrate 'Mission Accomplished,"' reports, the AP.