Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned that “a proper ground war” is the only way to defeat ISIS terrorists.
Speaking at an event in London on Tuesday, the man who lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq said “There is no way of defeating these people without defeating them on the ground. Airstrikes are not going to defeat ISIS”
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The former Labour PM said an air campaign alone would not destroy the extremist group, calling for more Western troops on the battlefield.
“Do not be under any doubt at all. If we want to defeat these people we are going to have to wage a proper ground war against them.”
Blair admitted that he underestimated the forces of destabilization which would be unleashed following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
“For sure we underestimated profoundly the forces that were at work in the region and would take advantage of change once you topple the regime,” he said. “That is the lesson.”
“To be honest my understanding of the Middle East is a lot deeper today than it was when I was prime minister quite frankly,” he added.
His comments came weeks before the publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq invasion.
The report, to be published on July 6, is set to criticize Blair for committing to the US war and failing to consult his cabinet more fully before ordering British troops to Iraq.
The former PM refused to apologize for the invasion and said he would not comment on it until the report was made public.
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