The Guardian, Tuesday 26 February 2013 22.49 GMT
Tony Blair has admitted that life in Iraq today is not what he had hoped it would be and the country is still facing "big problems". But he defended the war, saying that failing to remove Saddam Hussein would have entailed far worse consequences for the country.
Speaking to the BBC's Newsnight before the 10th anniversary of the invasion, he said: "There are still terrorist activities that are killing … innocent people for no good reason, but economy is growing very strongly, it's got huge amount of oil revenue but, no, there are still big problems."
Blair added that the price of the invasion that saw the death of at least 100,000 civilians and 179 British soldiers was "very, very high" but implored people to ask what would have happened had Saddam not been deposed.
Asked whether he minded if "people call you a liar, some people call you a war criminal, protesters follow you, it's difficult to walk down the street in a country", he replied: "It really doesn't matter whether it's taken its toll on me."
The issue was not whether Saddam was a terrible person or not. The issue was that it was an illegal war that was created based on a lie and cost millions of lives as well as trillions of dollars for nothing except massive profits for W's friends.