Blair still not sorry for Iraq

The prime minister once again refused to say sorry for the violence and deaths in Iraq, warning the West never to apologise for its values.

In an interview with Sky News, Tony Blair insisted the war in Iraq had been “worth it”. Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right thing to do, he argued, and now it is right to stand alongside the majority of Iraqis who want a united, non-sectarian Iraq.

Mr Blair refused to accept the blame for the rising death toll in Iraq, insisting it is terrorists and not the UK and US who are killing Iraqis and troops and calling on the West to resist apologising for the current violence.

“We haven’t created the situation where terrorists are killing innocent people, terrorists are creating this situation,” he said.

Western media and the public needs to rethink its approach, Mr Blair argued. Extremist elements are deliberately provoking conflict in the region and rather than taking this as cue to leave, the UK should stand up and resist extremists.

The prime minister insisted: “We’re not making it worse, they’re making it worse.”

While expressing his sorrow for the families who had lost relatives in the conflict, he declined to say sorry, although later conceded the “weight of responsibility” stays with him.

“I can’t say what I don’t believe and I do not believe it was the wrong thing to get rid of Saddam,” he said.

Mr Blair justified his foreign policy along two main tracts, security and values. There is a real and global threat from terrorism, he argued, and the international community must stand up and defeat it.

At the same time it must be prepared to do the “right thing”. Mr Blair struck a line in favour of pre-emptive action, saying “we should be prepared to intervene to prevent our security being threatened in the future”.

“If you think it’s the right thing to do you’ve got to do it,” he insisted. Included in this could be pressure on the international community to send troops to Sudan, Mr Blair hinted, insisting that failure to do so threatened wider regional instability and extremism.

However, Mr Blair insisted there are no plans for military action against Iran, despite blaming “Iranian backed elements” for the current instability in Iraq.

Mr Blair was speaking as Saddam Hussein’s deputy, former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, lost his final appeal against a death sentence for his role in the killing of Shia Iraqis in the 1980s.