LONDON, (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Tony Blair said God and history would judge whether he was right to go to war in Iraq, according to the transcript of a television interview to be broadcast later on Saturday.
In a rare reference to his Christian religious faith, Blair told broadcaster Michael Parkinson he had struggled with his conscience over the decision.
“That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with,” he told ITV’s Parkinson programme.
“In the end there is a judgement that, well, if I think if you have faith about these things then you realise that judgement is made by other people.”
Asked what he meant, Blair added: “By other people, by, if you believe in God, it’s made by God”.
“The only way you can take a decision like that is to try to do the right thing, according to your conscience, and for the rest of it, you leave it to the judgement that history will make.”
Blair, a regular church-goer, declined to elaborate when asked if he prayed to God before making such a decision.
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.