UK's Blair faces second grilling on Iraq war

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 21, 2011 11:54

LONDON — Britain's ex-prime minister Tony Blair was making a humbling return to the country's inquiry into the Iraq war Friday, after witnesses raised doubts about sections of his testimony from a year ago — when he made a defiant defense of the decision to topple Saddam Hussein.

Blair's recall to clarify evidence he offered in a hearing last January follows contradictory claims made to the five-person inquiry panel by key officials, diplomats and military officers.

Britain's leader between 1997 and 2007 will be pressed on suggestions he falsely accused France of sinking efforts to agree a United Nations resolution specifically approving military action, and on evidence from spy chiefs who said they doubted Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction — Blair's key justification for conflict.

"The decision I took — and frankly would take again — was, if there was any possibility that he (Hussein) could develop weapons of mass destruction, we would stop him," Blair told the panel in his previous session. "It was my view then and that is my view now."


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