Blair: God will judge Iraq war
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LONDON, England -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair says God and history will judge whether he was right to go to war in Iraq, according to the transcript of a television interview to be broadcast Saturday.
In a rare reference to his Christian religious faith, Blair told broadcaster Michael Parkinson he had struggled with his conscience over the decision.
When asked about sending troops to Iraq, he said: "That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with, and in the end there is a judgment that -- well, I think if you have faith about these things then you realize that judgment is made by other people," he said.
Asked to explain what he meant, Blair replied: "If you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
Parkinson asked Blair if he prayed to God when he decided to go to war in Iraq.
Blair replied: "Well, I don't want to get into something like that."
Pressed on the subject he answered: "Of course you struggle with your own conscience about it because people's lives are affected and it's one of these situations that I suppose very few people ever find themselves in.
"In the end you do what you think is the right thing."
More than 100 British servicemen have died in Iraq since Blair agreed to join U.S. President George Bush in a military invasion to topple President Saddam Hussein.
Thousands of Iraqi civilians have also died since the March 2003 invasion and in militant attacks following Saddam's fall.
Reg Keys, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq in 2003, told the BBC that Blair was seeking a religious justification for the Iraq war.
"I think religion has to be kept out of the Iraq conflict. Iraq is a catastrophic political blunder," said Keys, founder of campaign group Military Families Against The War.
Blair, in common with many other secular European leaders, rarely refers to his religious beliefs, compared to the more overt declarations of faith common in American politics.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "Going to war isn't just an act of faith. It requires rigorous analysis of the legality of doing so, the likelihood of success, the number of possible casualties and the long-term consequences.
"My complaint of the prime minister is that while he may have believed what he was doing was right, the prospectus for military action was flawed."
Blair is the first serving prime minister to be interviewed by Parkinson. He was joined on the show by pop star Christina Aguilera -- and said he had her songs on his iPod.
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