Blair: I was wrong to invade Iraq and Afghanistan
Former British Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair has admitted that he “may have been wrong” about the decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan but remained steadfast in his view that he thought it was “the right thing” to do.
In conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, as part of the BBC’s “The Archbishop Interviews” series, Blair provided a defense of his decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan in support of former US President George W. Bush.
“People often say over Iraq or Afghanistan that I took the wrong decision, but you’ve got to do what you think is right,” the 68-year-old said.
He added: “Whether you are right or not is another matter. In those really big decisions, you don't know what all the different component elements are, and you’ve got to follow, in the end, your own instinct.”
He told Welby that he “may have been wrong” but reaffirmed that he thought it was the right thing to do.
Blair’s comments come after he was appointed a knight companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the most senior chivalric honor in Britain, which is offered solely by the monarch, in the New Year’s Honors list.
More than 1 million people have signed a petition online calling for the honor to be rescinded, with the organizer claiming that “Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation’s society.”
The petition specifically refers to his actions in the Middle East, writing: “He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.”
The Chilcot Inquiry, established in 2009 to investigate Britain’s most
controversial military engagement since the end of the Second World War,
called the invasion “unnecessary” and said Blair decided to go in based
on “flawed” intelligence about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass
destruction (WMD). Tens of thousands of Iraqis, more than 4,000 US troops and 179 British service members were killed in the lengthy conflict.