Blair says September 11 changed everything
The September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 led to a dramatic reassessment of the threat from global terrorism in Washington and London and was a major factor behind the decision to invade Iraq, former British prime minister Tony Blair said Friday, DPA reported.
"If September 11 had not happened, our assessment would have been different. But after September 11, our view and that of the Americans changed, and changed dramatically," Blair said at the opening of his testimony before the Iraq War Inquiry in London.
He had concluded that "no risks" could be taken with this new dimension of the terrorist threat which was different from previous "political" forms of terrorism.
"Up to September 11 we thought he (Saddam Hussein) was a risk but we thought it was worth trying to contain it. Crucially, after September 11, the calculus of risk changed," said Blair.
Blair, who as prime minister authorized Britain joining the US in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arrived early for his much-anticipated six-hour questioning session in an apparent attempt to avoid protestors and media outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall in central London.