Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was interviewed by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and inevitably, the question that has been nagging many for quite some time cropped up: Will Blair admit that invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime was a mistake, given the fact that authorities invented evidence of weapons of mass destruction, the supposed reason for the U.K. and U.S. entering the country?
"I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought," Blair responded.
However, Blair still doesn’t regret bringing down the dictator who had committed horrendous human rights violations in Iraq, and destabilized the region.
"I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he's not there than that he is there," Blair said.
The sudden, disastrous surge of the Islamic State terrorist group has left many questioning the wisdom behind the invasion. Many believe, and rightly so, that ISIS rose from the debris of anarchy and chaos left behind by the invasion.
The discovery that Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction left no legitimate reason for the invasion, after officials relied solely on that reason to gain support for invading Iraq. The invasion, as it turns out, achieved nothing substantial when it came to restoring peace in the region, and instead, paved way for militant groups like ISIS.
While Blair still won't call the entire idea of the Iraq war a disaster, his admission of "mistakes" during the conflict – after years of blatant denial and deceit – is certainly a step in the right direction.