Blair to Iraq War Inquiry: I Would Do It Again

ABC's Senior Foreign Correspondent Jim Sciutto reports from London:

The former British leader is facing a tough, 6-hour cross-examination covering every aspect of the decision to go to war, to a degree you rarely see a former head of state face. The atmosphere is courteous -- the questioners aren't politicians looking to score political points -- but very direct and thorough. They are not letting Blair avoid discussing any detail or exude his famous charm. Blair has been serious and passionate, even nervous at times (his hands visibly shaking at the start), knowing that he is in effect defending his legacy.

Here are some highlights:

-- He would do it again: Blair says he would still go to war knowing everything he knows today. "The decision I took -- and frankly would take again - was: if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction, we would stop him. It was my view then and that is my view now."

-- Blair told Bush in 2002 Britain would join war: At their meeting Crawford in April 02, he told Mr. Bush that "if it came to military action, we would be with" the United States, although, at that time, he preferred diplomacy. He said Bush gave him an out "if it was too difficult for Britain".

-- 45 minutes claim was wrong: Blair admitted the so-called 'dodgy dossier' should not have highlighted the claim that Saddam could deploy WMD in 45 minutes. "It would have been better to have corrected it in the light of the significance it later took on" he said. However, he believed "beyond doubt" that Iraq had unconventional weapons and that, in 2002 and 2003, the threat was growing.

-- Regime change on table pre-9/11: Blair said the use of force to remove Saddam was on his mind before the 9/11 attacks because it was clear Saddam was ignoring UN demands to disarm and sanctions weren't working. "Force was always an option" he said. "If necessary, we were going to remove him."

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