Tags: blair iraq dead

Blair 'Desperately Sorry' For War Dead, Memoirs Say

Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010 07:10 AM

As the United States ends it combat mission in Iraq, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who deployed troops alongside American forces in the 2003 invasion, said Wednesday that, while there had been many tears over the loss of life, he could not regard the war as a mistake, The New York Times reports.

Mr. Blair’s latest iteration of his attitude to the conflict — echoing similar arguments during a public inquiry into the war earlier this year — came with the publication of his memoirs, called “A Journey.” The book was published in Britain one day after President Obama said in a televised speech Tuesday night from the Oval Office that, with United States forces assuming a support and training mission in Iraq, it was “time to turn the page” after the seven years of combat.

British troops, far fewer than the American contingent, completed their withdrawal from combat operations in the south of Iraq last year. But in the invasion in March 2003, Mr. Blair assumed the mantle of America’s staunchest ally, sending a British force of more than 46,000 military personnel in support of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, even as hundreds of thousands Britons protested against the war on the streets of London and other cities.

As the occupation progressed, the conflict became ever more unpopular; Britons openly derided Mr. Blair’s rationale for going to war, ostensibly to strip Saddam Hussein of unconventional weapons that were never found; and the conflict, in which 179 British military personnel died, became the centerpiece of Mr. Blair’s troubled legacy.

“Tears, though there have been many, do not encompass it,” he wrote, reflecting on the relatives of the dead. “I feel desperately sorry for them, sorry for the lives cut short, sorry for the families whose bereavement is made worse by the controversy over why their loved ones died, sorry for the utterly unfair selection that the loss should be theirs.”

But he insisted that he had been right to join the invasion.

Read the entire story at nytimes.com


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As the United States ends it combat mission in Iraq, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who deployed troops alongside American forces in the 2003 invasion, said Wednesday that, while there had been many tears over the loss of life, he could not regard the war as a mistake, The New York Ti
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2010-10-01
Wednesday, 01 Sep 2010 07:10 AM
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