UK Iraq inquiry reveals Tony Blair told Bush: 'I will be with you, whatever'
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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged his support to President George W. Bush eight months before the United States's invasion of Iraq, a major report released Wednesday revealed. 


The 12-volume report, part of Britain's inquiry into its involvement in the Iraq War, showed Blair was ready to go to war. 

"I will be with you, whatever. But this is the moment to assess bluntly the difficulties," Blair wrote to Bush in a memo on July 28, 2002, according to reports.

"The planning on this and the strategy are the toughest yet. This is not Kosovo. This is not Afghanistan. It is not even the Gulf War," Blair wrote.

The former British leader wrote that "getting rid of Saddam [Hussein] is the right thing to do," calling the Iraqi president a "potential threat." 

"He could be contained. But containment, as we found with Al Qaida, is always risky." 

Blair warned that public opinion could be a struggle, noting that the U.K. is "quite simply on a different planet" than the U.S. and he couldn't be sure of support from the Parliament or his Cabinet. 

Blair, responding to the report Wednesday, said in a statement that its release "should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit." 

"I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse," he said, adding that he would address the report in greater detail later in the day.

"I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world."

The report, officially known as the Iraq Inquiry but informally referred to as the Chilcot report after its chairman, Sir John Chilcot, is the product of an inquiry established in 2009 by U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown.