A WSJ editorial today extols former British PM Tony Blair for comments he made during an appearance before a British Iraq war inquiry commission Friday. Those hoping that Blair would provide a mea culpa for his bringing Britain into the war were sorely disappointed. Instead, Blair gave a ringing defense of his decision. It's perverse that such a defense is even necessary.
"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?"
"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."
"The decision I took—and frankly would take again—was, if there was any possibility that he [Saddam] could develop weapons of mass destruction, we would stop him."
The WSJ adds,
Listening to him (Blair), we are reminded why he ranks with Margaret Thatcher as a pre-eminent statesman of postwar British politics, an achievement unlikely to be matched by the Lilliputians who seek to embarrass him.