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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

US Homeland Security says all passengers arriving in US from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone must fly into one of five airports equipped with enhanced screening for Ebola 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid