Tony Blair admits Iraq still faces 'long, hard struggle'

 

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that life in Iraq is still not what he hoped 10 years after the UK joined a US-led invasion of the country.

Life in Iraq remains “not nearly what it should be” 10 years after the British and American invasion, Tony Blair admitted last night.

The former Prime Minister, who led the UK into war against Saddam Hussain’s regime in 2003, said that despite “significant improvements in many parts of the country for the people”, Iraq still faced a “long, hard struggle” to combat continuing terrorist attacks.

Despite the death toll among both British armed forces and Iraqi civilians being “very, very high”, Mr Blair told BBC’s Newsnight that the “complex and difficult” decision to go to war was the right one.

“Just think what would be happening if these Arab revolutions were continuing now and Saddam, who was probably 20 times as bad as Assad in Syria, was trying to suppress an uprising in Iraq,” he said.

“So when you say, ‘Do you think of the loss of life and the trouble there’s been since 2003?’, of course I do and you would be inhumane not to.

“But think what would have happened if he’d been left there.”

Conceding that he had “long since given up trying to persuade people it was the right decision”, Mr Blair added that it would be a “profound mistake” to suggest the UK could back away from “ugly” choices on international crises.

“You’ve got one in Syria right now, you’ve got one in Iran to come,” he said. “The issue is: how do you make the world a safer place? We are in the middle of this struggle, it is going to take a generation, it is going to be very arduous and difficult. But I think we are making a mistake, a profound error, if we think we can stay out of that struggle.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 LGV Driver / Delivery Person

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This coal merchant would like to recruit a Cla...

SThree: German Speaking Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Estate Agent / Business Broker - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business transfer agency /...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate