Mahathir slams Soleimani murder, reminds US of Vietnam


Malaysia's prime minister criticized Tuesday the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone airstrike near Baghdad airport early this month.

"Is there any difference between the killing of Soleimani and that of Khashoggi?" Mahathir Mohamad said Tuesday on Twitter.

Mahathir underlined that Soleimani was assassinated in Iraq by "the very people who condemned the killing of Khashoggi".

Mahathir also criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the nearly 20-year U.S. war in Vietnam and recalled their devastating results.

Urging Americans to "remember" the Vietnam War, Mahathir underlined that the U.S. did not gain anything despite its sacrifices during the war, including the killing of tens of thousands of American soldiers and injuring of many others.

"The great power, employing all its military might, all its technology and huge sums of money was defeated by the black pajama-clad unimpressive undersized Vietnamese," Mahathir said.

"Those who sacrifice their lives in aggressive wars die for nothing," Mahathir said, while praising Vietnamese and some other countries' "passionate patriotism" and sacrifices against attacks by U.S. or other powers.

Mahathir also recalled the Iraq War, saying the negative effects of the war still continue almost 18 years after, although it was expected to end within three months.

"Saddam is dead but is Iraq much better than Saddam's times?" Mahathir said.

In March 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Then-President George W. Bush said the country's goals were to destroy the country's weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and depose the country's leader, Saddam Hussein.

A year later, after U.S. forces defeated the Iraqi army and captured Hussein, the U.S. administration acknowledged that its argument of Iraq having WMDs was mistaken, with David Kay, a former U.S. weapons inspector, saying: "We were almost all wrong".

The aftermath of the war scarred the image of the United States with the over 100,000-civilian death toll, and in April 2004, evidence of prisoner abuse inside the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison became public, showing photographic evidence of American soldiers torturing inmates. Eleven soldiers were convicted by U.S. courts of crimes related to the prison abuse scandal.

Mahathir also touched upon the destructive bushfire in Australia, saying it is not an "Australian affair", rather an "international catastrophe".

He called on the whole world to "help Australia put out the fire", saying the international community was not successful in fighting this disaster.

Australia is witnessing deadly bushfires estimated to have killed 1.25 billion animals with over 20 million acres of land burned.

At least 25 people lost their lives while battling the heavy blazes that erupted last August, causing millions of dollars in damages.

New South Wales and South Australia were the most affected regions, as local governments declared emergencies and closed schools to avoid casualties.

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