London, July 9 (RHC)-- Former British prime minister Tony Blair has defied the findings of an scathing inquiry into his decision to assist the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, saying the war has made the world a "better place."
The inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot, published its 6,000-page report on Wednesday, saying that the London's most controversial military engagement since World War II was based on "flawed intelligence" about former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).
In response to the report, Blair said Wednesday that he accepts "full responsibility" for the decision, admitting that the invasion was based on wrong intelligence. He expressed sorrow for the death of thousands of people, adding, however, that "the world was and is in my judgment a better place without Saddam Hussein."
Of the nearly 120,000 British military personnel who were deployed to Iraq, 179 were killed in combat. This is while, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored, the invasion and its subsequent occupation claimed the lives of more than one million Iraqis.
He claimed he had been cautious about the war and had conveyed this to former U.S. president George W. Bush before the invasion, but Saddam had ran out of time and there was no more room for negotiation.
Blair said there was no other option left for Britain back then as London was Washington's "core partner" in the aftermath of the September 11, 2011, attacks in the US.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Blair "took an active and leading role" building a coalition to counter the threat of terrorism, according to the Chilcot report.
However, the inquiry concluded that military action was "not a last resort," saying the UK chose to go to war before the peaceful options had been exhausted.