After Tony Blair agreed with an interviewer that the violence in Iraq since invasion has been a “disaster,” his representatives on Downing Street insisted that the prime minister was simply being polite.
Mr Blair was challenged by Sir David over the violence in Iraq, saying it had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”.
The prime minister replied: “It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq?
“It’s not difficult because of some accident in planning.
“It’s difficult because there’s a deliberate strategy - al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war.”
The interview comes as Chancellor Gordon Brown met UK troops on his first visit to Iraq, and promised an extra 100m ($188m) over three years to help rebuild the country’s economy.
Commenting on the al-Jazeera broadcast, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: “At long last the enormity of the decision to take military action against Iraq is being accepted by the prime minister.
“It could hardly be otherwise, as the failure of strategy becomes so clear.”