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Tony Blair: Stop "Wretched Policy of Apology" Over Iraq War

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair AP Photo

Hand-wringing over the Iraq war has extended much longer across the Atlantic for America's biggest supporter in that war, England.

Last summer, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown created an official Iraq Inquiry "to identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict," and now Brown's predecessor is saying his countrymen need to get over it.

In his second testimony before the Inquiry, tU.K. daily the Guardian reports that former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who made all the crucial decisions that led England to become the second-biggest contributor of troops to the George Bush-led invasion of Iraq, was at times contrite, saying he deeply regrets the casualties the war caused.

However, Blair also told the panel of lords that his country needs to end its "wretched policy of apology" for what goes on in the Middle East, the Guardian reports.

The grilling of Blair over Iraq has revolved around intelligence failures, political procedures and what many of his opponents have called Blair's blind following of former President Bush's lead.

Blair has insisted, however, that they invaded not just because of intelligence findings at the time (later proved false) that made it necessary, but also because it followed Britain's normal international political portfolio.

The Guardian reports that Blair said at the time of the invasion:

"A political philosophy that does care about other nations - eg Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, and is proud to change regimes on the merits, should be gung-ho on Saddam. So why isn't it? Because people believe we are only doing it to support the US, and they are only doing it to settle an old score. And the immediate WMD [weapons of mass destruction] problems don't seem obviously worse than three years ago. So we have to reorder our story and message. Increasingly, I think it should be about the nature of the regime."

President Bush has only gone so far as to say he regrets "the intelligence failure in Iraq."

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