Anthony Seldon: He saw Iraqis suffering, and believed it was his duty to help them

Share
Related Topics

I think Tony Blair is feeling very frustrated that he is not able to get any voice for himself. He is trying to get his own view out there, his own convictions about the war in Iraq. Everyone tends to rewrite history and he is not having the opportunity to say what the real version of events was.

He was dealing with someone who was an evil dictator and that was the right thing to do, in his mind, because what was at stake was world peace. In another sense he has been remarkably consistent and I think is tremendously frustrated at not having the opportunity to say that.

He thinks people are being very selective about what they say and what they remember about the build-up to the war.

More than 200 people stayed, people at the top of the military, in the Foreign Office and the Cabinet; they gave their backing to it and saw it through. Blair feels that the war was right, that it was a brave thing to do and he has seen people now distancing themselves from it and raising objections to it that they didn't at the time.

The whole field of what has been said to justify the conflict, the weapons of mass destruction threat, regime change, democracy, Saddam Hussein, is enormous and people are jumping on things which are irrelevant.

I have a very clear idea of what is in his mind and what he is thinking about and the overriding feeling is one of frustration. He also has a sense of moral conviction in what he is doing: he is a 19th-century kind of figure like William Gladstone. For them, moral conviction in foreign policy was core.

His spirituality in this context is centred on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he has quoted in speeches. That says that we cannot cross the road if we see suffering on the other side of the street.

He saw Iraqi suffering at the hands of Saddam Hussein and believed that it was his duty to not cross the road.

Anthony Seldon is Tony Blair's biographer

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn