The Iraq war has been long and terrible. The former PM has many enemies on the left and many on the right. They all wanted Blair to back down, to apologize, to be humbled in some way. Except Blair did not go along with the script
From an opinion piece in Monday's Wall St Journal: Mr. Blair offered a ringing defense of the decision to invade Iraq, and a very different set of lessons for the present. "This isn't about a lie, or a conspiracy, or a deceit, or a deception. It is a decision," Mr. Blair told a packed room that included relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq. "And the decision I had to take was, given [Saddam's] history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people whose deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking U.N. resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons program?"
Blair adds "What we now know is that he [Saddam] retained the intent and the intellectual know-how to restart a nuclear and a chemical weapons program when the inspectors were out and the sanctions changed, which they were going to do. . . . "Today we would be facing a situation where Iraq was competing with Iran, competing both on nuclear weapons capability and competing more importantly perhaps than anything else . . . in respect of support of terrorist groups. . . . If I am asked whether I believe we are safer, more secure, that Iraq is better, that our own security is better, with Saddam and his two sons out of office and out of power, I believe indeed we are.". And of course, Mr. Blair is correct.
But I'm not here to convince anyone that the war was correct - I think that not deposing Saddam would have led to a vastly greater horror ,but probably most here disagree and that is fine.
I only ask you to reconsider something that I've said on these pages many times. That the oft-repeated cliche that Blair was " Bush's poodle " was never accurate. It was always a wicked, untrue slander.
I don't care to speak of his performance on other matters - but on Iraq, Blair continues to exemplify a political courage and a clarity of thought rare in any time. A tip of the hat to Mr. Tony Blair, who continues to speak the truth on Iraq.