Tony Blair FINALLY Admits - The Iraq Conflict Contributed
To The Rise Of
Former PM makes the confession after 12
years of refusing to apologise
Blair says he is sorry for his conduct which has now led to
'hell' in Iraq
Says there is an element of truth that the war caused the
rise of ISIS
Comes after Lord Blunkett revealed he had challenged Blair
about the war
By Simon Walters, Glen Owen, Martin Beckford
and Daniel Bates
extraordinary confession by the former Prime Minister comes after 12
years in which he refused to apologise for the conflict.
makes his dramatic 'mea culpa' during a
TV interview about the 'hell' caused by his and George Bush's
decision to oust Saddam Hussein.
In the exchange,
Blair repeatedly says sorry for his conduct and even refers to
claims that the invasion was a war 'crime' while denying he
Blair is asked bluntly in the CNN
interview, to be broadcast today: 'Was the Iraq War a mistake?'
He replies: 'I apologise for the
fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.
'I also apologise for some of the
mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our
understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.'
Challenged that the Iraq War was
'the principal cause' of the rise of Islamic State, he said: 'I
think there are elements of truth in that.
'Of course you can't say those of
us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the
situation in 2015.'
In the 'trial by TV', respected US
political broadcaster Fareed Zakaria accuses him of being
President Bush's 'poodle' over the conflict. Blair's confession
comes a week after The Mail on Sunday published a bombshell
White House memo revealing for the first time how Blair and Bush
agreed a 'deal in blood' a year before the invasion.
'APOLOGY' IN FULL: HOW THE FORMER PM FINALLY
ADMITTED MISTAKES BUT STILL REFUSED TO SAY SORRY
FOR TOPPLING SADDAM
the US TV network CNN Tony Blair was asked
directly whether the decision to enter Iraq
and topple Saddam Hussein had been 'a
'You know whenever I'm asked this I can say
that I apologise for the fact that the
intelligence I received was wrong.
though he had used chemical weapons
extensively against his own people against
others, the programme in the form we thought
it was did not exist in the way that we
thought. So I can apologise for that.
'I can also
apologise, by the way, for some of the
mistakes in planning and certainly our
mistake in our understanding of what would
happen once you had removed the regime.
'But I find it
hard to apologise for removing Saddam. I
think even from today 2015 it's better that
he is not there than he is there.'
Mr Blair was
then asked whether the invasion of Iraq was
the 'principle cause' of the rise of ISIS.
Prime Minister said: 'I think there are
elements of truth in that. But we have got
to be extremely careful otherwise we will
misunderstand what's going on in Iraq and in
'Of course you
can't say that those of us who removed
Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for
the situation in 2015.
important also to realise one, that the
Arab Spring which began in 2011 would also
have had its impact on Iraq today. And two
ISIS actually came to prominence from a base
in Syria and not in Iraq.
'This leads me
to the broader point, which I think is so
essential when we are looking at policy
today. We have tried intervention and
putting down troops in Iraq. We've tried
intervention without putting down troops in
tried no intervention at all but demanding
regime change in Syria.
clear to me that even if our policy did not
work, subsequent policies have worked
briefing note from US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the
President showed Blair had secretly pledged to back the conflict
while telling MPs and British voters that he was seeking a
CNN interview, Blair candidly asks for forgiveness for his blunder
in not realising 'what would happen once you removed the regime'.
admission makes a mockery of the statement in the Powell memo that
Blair would 'demonstrate [to Bush] that we have thought through 'the
day after' ' a reference to the consequences of invasion.
the bloody chaos in the region continues to this day. And in a
separate development, former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett
has revealed that he challenged Blair before the war about avoiding
chaos after Saddam's downfall.
Blunkett says Blair failed to give him such 'reassurances' and
instead placed blind faith in the two main 'hawks' in the US
administration, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary
Blunkett also vented his fury that Sir John Chilcot, who is leading
the long-delayed inquiry into the Iraq War, had failed to ask him to
BLAIR'S 'MEA CULPA'
COMES AFTER 12 YEARS OF NON-APOLOGIES
'I will not
apologise for the conflict. I believe it was
right.' House of Commons 2004
don't think we should be apologising at all for
what we are doing in Iraq. We should be
immensely proud. I can't take responsibility for
people sending car bombs into a market place.'
TV interview , 2007
I may have been
wrong, but I did what I thought was right
for our country.' When he resigned as PM,
[If he had
known there were no WMDs] 'I would still
have thought it right to remove Saddam.'
TV interview, 2009
'It was a headline question. It had
to have a headline answer. Answer
'Yes' and I knew the outcome: 'Blair
apologises for war', 'At last he
says sorry'. I can't say sorry in
words; I can only hope to redeem
something from the tragedy of death,
in the actions of a life, my life,
that continues still.' Memoirs ,
people say to me, 'Do you regret
removing him', my answer is, 'No
how can you regret removing somebody
who was a monster?' ' TV interview ,
my front-row seat at these events, I am mystified Chilcot has not
asked me to provide either oral or written evidence,' Lord Blunkett
told The Mail on Sunday.
'I would have thought
that over the six years the inquiry has been going on, Sir John
would have found the time to ask the then-Home Secretary what he
confession about the Iraq War and the rise of IS is in stark
contrast to his repeated refusal to shoulder the blame for the
conflict, or its long term consequences. In 2004, he told MPs: 'I
will not apologise for the conflict. I believe it was right.'
to his hard line in 2007, saying: 'I don't think we should be
apologising at all for what we are doing in Iraq.'
Remarkably, Blair himself predicted how the apology U-turn he
finally makes today would be reported.
In his 2010 memoirs,
he explained why he had so far refused to say 'yes' when asked if he
was sorry, because he knew it would prompt damaging headlines.
'Yes' and I knew the outcome: 'BLAIR APOLOGISES FOR WAR', 'AT LAST
HE SAYS SORRY'. I can't say sorry in words.'
apology is bound to prompt claims that he is trying to head off the
scathing criticism of his handling of the Iraq War expected to be
included in Chilcot's findings.
key figures, including Blair and other senior Labour politicians,
are understood to have been given notice of the broad thrust of
Chilcot's verdict on them, expected to be made public next year.
master of public relations and media manipulation, Blair may have
calculated that since Chilcot is likely to accuse him of major
errors of judgment, it is better for him to volunteer an apology
now, rather than be forced to do so if, as seems certain, Chilcot's
damning assessment gives him little choice. The former Prime
Minister's decision to make his apology in the US, as opposed to the
UK, is also significant.
presenting his apology in a harsh critical light, CNN interviewer
Zakaria, a personal friend of Blair, showers praise on him for being
the only interviewee in the programme who 'took responsibility for
Iraq' on camera.
the others involved in the show, senior US political and military
figures, blamed each other.
Colin Powell memo which this newspaper found among declassified US
State Department documents while searching through a cache of
Hillary Clinton's recently released emails was written in March
2002, a week before Mr Blair met Mr Bush for a summit at his ranch
in Crawford, Texas.
report, which made headlines around the world, we revealed that
Powell had said Blair 'will be with us' should the US take military
action in Iraq and that the 'UK will follow our lead'.
would handle 'public affairs lines' for persuading people that
Saddam posed a real threat in fact, after the war, it was
discovered Blair's claims following the Crawford summit about Iraq's
'weapons of mass destruction' were false.
Blunkett told The Mail on Sunday yesterday how he challenged Blair
during Cabinet meetings prior to the war about the level of
post-conflict planning for Iraq.
of Blair's most loyal Ministers, Lord Blunkett said he repeatedly
sought reassurances that the US had a coherent plan to govern Iraq
after the fall of Saddam.
added: 'I did not receive that reassurance. Tony was not able to say
what was going to happen when combat operations were over. He just
decided to trust Cheney and Rumsfeld.
the benefit of hindsight, we now know that they had decided to
embark on the complete de-Ba'athification of Saddam's Iraq by
dismantling the entire Government infrastructure.
led to the disintegration of any form of functioning government,
creating a complete power vacuum. Terrorists infiltrated Iraq and
not seeking to scapegoat Tony Blair; we were all collectively to
blame for deluding ourselves into believing that we had much greater
sway over Washington.' Lord Blunkett echoed calls for Chilcot to
release an interim copy of his findings immediately or 'risk his
entire exercise being entirely discredited'.
Significantly, in the CNN show, host Zakaria gives his own apology,
telling viewers that he regrets his own initial support for the war.
he changed his mind after watching the post-war turmoil unfold and
witnessing the bloody rise of IS. Viewers may draw the conclusion
that Blair came to the same decision for the same reason.
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of
this article nor is Information ClearingHouse
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)