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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid