News / Europe

Blair Memoirs Reignite Debate Over Iraq

Blair Memoirs Reignite Debate Over Iraq
Blair Memoirs Reignite Debate Over Iraq

Multimedia

Audio
Jennifer Glasse

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he does not regret his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq, but did not foresee the nightmare that had unfolded there. The revelations come in Mr. Blair's newly published memoirs.

In the 718-page book, entitled A Journey: My Political Life, the former British prime minister says he wanted the book to be different from the traditional political memoir.

"I set out to write a book that would give the reader an insight into the human, as well as the political dimensions of life as a prime minister," said Blair.

Tony Blair took three years to write the book that charts his decade in power.

"So it is a frank account of my life in politics which illuminates what it is like to be a leader, both for the U.K. and also of course on the international stage," he explained. "It charts the difficult decisions, the highs and the lows."

The highs include the landslide victory that brought him to power in 1997, and presiding over the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland. Mr. Blair also wrote of the outrage that led him to send troops to Kosovo, and the regret that British lives had been lost in Iraq. But he did not apologize for taking the country to war. Major General Tim Cross was Britain's top representative to Iraq during the 2003 invasion.

"I think he is pretty heartfelt in his comments that he does not regret what he went through," said Cross. "He clearly has been affected by it, I do not think there is any doubt about that, but I think ultimately he believes what he did was right."

Mr. Blair is donating all the proceeds of the book, including the reported multi-million-dollar advance, to a British charity that supports wounded soldiers. Cross believes the former prime minister is conflicted about the Iraq War.

"I think he is genuinely struggling with the outcome of Iraq, but genuinely, ultimately believes it was the right thing to do, but recognizes an awful lot of people have been hurt in the process and this is part of a way of repaying some of that," he added.

His memoirs are expected to be a worldwide bestseller, but the former prime minister's decade in power remains controversial in Britain, and his book tour is not going as planned.  In Dublin, protesters hurled eggs and shoes, angry that Blair took his country to war in Iraq and that seven years later he remains unapologetic.  

The former British prime minister recently talked with Andrew Marr of BBC World News about the war and his involvement.  "How can you not feel sorry about people who have died?  You would be inhuman if you didn't think that.  But when I'm asked whether I regret the decision, you know I have to say I take responsibility for it, but I can't regret the decision," said Blair.

Anti-war campaigners picketed one of the London stores selling the book and threats of more protests prompted Mr. Blair to cancel a recent London book signing and launch party.  On the day they were scheduled, lone protester John Howsam said the former prime minister has few fans here in Britain.

How history will view him will depend on whether Iraq stabilizes.  As that country struggles, seven years after the invasion, some analysts here are concerned that Mr. Blair is now speaking aggressively about Iran.

"Do you allow those people to get hold of a nuclear weapon or not?  Now, my answer to that is 'no'. If you were sitting in that seat, you'd have to take that decision, too," said Blair.

To some he is a war criminal, to others a great British leader.  Tony Blair's memoirs have done little to resolve his complex legacy.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid