Sun, Mar 05, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Blair says he looked to God about Iraq

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , LONDON

Prime Minister Tony Blair has indicated that God influenced his deliberations when he committed British troops to fight alongside US forces in Iraq.

The remarks, which surprised some antiwar campaigners, were made in an Independent Television talk show that was to be broadcast last night.

A transcript was released by the ITV station on Friday.

Blair has made no secret of his Christian faith, but he has not previously ascribed policy decisions to his religion.

In the past, he refused to answer persistent questions by an interviewer about whether he had prayed together with President Bush.

In the interview yesterday on the widely followed Parkinson show, Blair was asked about the sending troops to Iraq, ITV said.

"That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with," he said, according to the ITV transcript, "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."

Asked to explain what he meant, he replied, "If you believe in God, it's made by God as well."

"This is not just a matter of a policy here or a thing there, but of their lives and in some case their death," he said. "The only way you can take a decision like that is to try to do the right thing, according to your conscience, and for the rest of it you leave it to the judgment that history will make."

The Iraq war has proven unpopular with many Britons. Rose Gentle, an antiwar activist whose son Gordon died with British forces in Iraq, said: "A good Christian wouldn't be for this war. I'm actually quite disgusted by the comments. It's a joke."

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