The crisis in Iraq, which could result in an all-out sectarian war, has already had devastating consequences. Death tolls may have surpassed 1,500 this weekend-- with more killing expected as fighting moves towards Baghdad. But former Prime Minister Tony Blair wants you to know one thing: the 2003 U.S.-British invasion has nothing to do with it.
To deny the connection between a decade-long war and the current conflict is preposterous. Prior to the 2003 invasion there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq whatsoever. Now, the al-Qaeda spawned group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have taken over Iraq's second largest city, tortured and murdered Sunis en masse, and looted $400 million from banks. ISIL have essentially done everything short of thanking Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush for the stockpile of US-supplied weapons abandoned by a rapidly retreating Iraqi army that the group seized last week.
It is time for Tony Blair to stop defending his decision to back a failed war on false premises. Rather than deflecting responsibility and calling for even more intervention from Britain, Blair should be apologizing to the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost family members at the hands of British troops.
"We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this. We haven't. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not: and whether action or inaction is the best policy. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it. "We have to put aside the differences of the past and act now to save the future," says Blair, adding that force may be necessary. "Where the extremists are fighting, they have to be countered hard, with force."