The Corner

Tony Blair Defends Approach on Iraq War Ten Years Later

British former prime minister Tony Blair sat down for an interview today with the BBC for the upcoming tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Although he acknowledged Iraq is nowhere near where he hoped it would be at this point, admitting that there are still “big problems,” he pushed back against the assertion that the cost of the war was too high: “Of course the price was very, very high, but think of the price people paid before Saddam was removed. Think of the Iran–Iraq War where there were a million casualties . . . chemical-weapons attacks on his own people, the Kurds. People oppressed, deprived of their rights, tortured, and killed on a daily basis, year in and year out.”

The former prime minister then proposed a series of counterfactuals to support his position that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein: “Think for example what would be happening with these Arab Revolutions continuing now and Saddam who’s probably 20 times as bad as Assad is in Syria, was trying to suppress an uprising in Iraq? Think of the consequences of leaving that regime in power.”

Blair still advocates an active approach toward the Middle East, as he predicted that there “will be a series of these types of problems that will arise now over the next few years. You’ve got one in Syria now, you’ve got one in Iran to come, the issue is how do you make the world a safer place. . . . I think we’re in the middle of this struggle, it’s going to take a generation, it’s going to be very arduous and difficult, but I think we’re making a mistake and profound error if we think we can stay out of that struggle.”


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