Tony Blair says God and history will judge whether he was right to go to war in Iraq, according to the transcript of a television interview to be broadcast Saturday.That is a very minor reference to God, dragged out of him by the reporter.
In a rare reference to his Christian religious faith, Blair told broadcaster Michael Parkinson he had struggled with his conscience over the decision.
When asked about sending troops to Iraq, he said: "That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with, and in the end there is a judgment that -- well, I think if you have faith about these things then you realize that judgment is made by other people," he said.
Asked to explain what he meant, Blair replied: "If you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
Parkinson asked Blair if he prayed to God when he decided to go to war in Iraq.
Blair replied: "Well, I don't want to get into something like that."
Pressed on the subject he answered: "Of course you struggle with your own conscience about it because people's lives are affected and it's one of these situations that I suppose very few people ever find themselves in.
"In the end you do what you think is the right thing."
The BBC analyzes the press response:
His submission to the judgement of God goes against years of warnings from advisers, says the Independent - not to mix politics and religion.The real issue here is whether we were right to go to war and, more importantly, how best to deal with the current state of things. Worrying about Blair's slight reference to religious belief shows either an aversion to religion or the usual pointless grasping for political arguments.
The Daily Mirror sees his TV interview with Michael Parkinson as "remarkable".
"The Judgement Day is some way off," it says, "but the judgement of the British people is critical of a bloody invasion as the death toll mounts."