Video: Harry Leslie Smith Warns Not to Repeat History in IraqIBTimes UK

Harry Leslie Smith has challenged politicians not to repeat the mistakes of history, as they look to contain the threat of the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with IBTimes UK, the 91-year-old the author and WWII veteran accused those calling for "boots on the ground" of being on the payroll of the arms industry.

Speaking of his time in the RAF – when he witnessed the suffering of ordinary German people first hand – he urged people to recognise that poor people from all backgrounds have the same needs and that they are often pawns in a game, directed from the top down.

He also voiced his concern over the swelling support for Ukip, saying it is a sign of desperation in the electorate.

Smith, who had previously delivered a rousing speech at this year's Labour Party Conference in Manchester, professed his doubts over whether the party would secure an overall majority in next year's election. Any coalition government, he warned, would leave the party hamstrung in its efforts to shield the NHS from privatisation.

Harry's Last Stand, published by Icon Books, is a searing modern polemic that shows, with the indisputable force of lived experience, why the past shouldn't stay buried, and the future is ours for the taking. Available now.