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Context of 'January 30, 2009: Blair Says He Constantly Questions His Decision to Join in Iraq Invasion'

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According to Robin Cook, Tony Blair says, “Left to himself, Bush would have gone to war in January. No, not January, but back in September.” (Morris 10/6/2003; Cook 8/2/2004)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in speech before the US Congress, pleads for the UN to become “an instrument of action as well as debate,” saying the Security Council needs to be reformed to reflect the “21st Century reality.” (Guardian 7/18/2003)

Robin Cook (see March 17-18, 2003) publishes portions of a diary he had kept when he was Tony Blair’s foreign minister. The published memoirs reveal—among other things—that Blair had intentionally misled the British population. (Cracknell 10/5/2003; MacAskill and Norton-Taylor 10/6/2003; Cook 8/2/2004) The diary reveals how before the war intelligence provided to Cook by British intelligence chief John Scarlett indicated that Saddam Hussein probably did not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. (Cracknell 10/5/2003; MacAskill and Norton-Taylor 10/6/2003; Cook 8/2/2004) Cook’s entries also show that before the war, Blair did not believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. (Cracknell 10/5/2003; MacAskill and Norton-Taylor 10/6/2003; Cook 8/2/2004) Additionally, the diary shows that Tony Blair ignored the “large number of ministers who spoke up against the war.” He says that the officials in the foreign ministry were consistently opposed to the invasion of Iraq. (Cracknell 10/5/2003; Cook 8/2/2004)

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 television, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, insists his country has no intention of invading Iran. “I’ve got no intention of bombing their nuclear installations or anything else,” Blair says. (Islamic Republic News Agency 5/4/2005)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he has constantly questioned his decision to join former US President George W. Bush in the 2003 invasion of Iraq since stepping down as prime minister. Blair, now an international envoy to the Middle East, says he constantly examines his “sense of responsibility” over the deaths of soldiers and civilians since the invasion. Asked if he suffers doubt over the decision to invade, Blair says: “Of course you ask that question the whole time. You’d be weird if you didn’t ask that question.” He adds: “The most difficult thing in any set of circumstances is the sense of responsibility for people who have given their lives and fallen—the soldiers and the civilians. If I did not feel that, there really would be something wrong with me, and there is not a single day of my life when I do not reflect upon it… many times. And that’s as it should be.” Nevertheless, Blair stands by his decision. “On the other hand you have to take the decision,” he says, “and I look at the Middle East now and I think, well, if Saddam and his two sons were still running Iraq how many other people would have died and would the region be more stable?” (Kirkup 1/30/2009)


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