London: Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said life in Iraq in the present times is not what he hoped it would be when he opted to invade 10 years ago.
Blair said there had been "significant improvements" but that "it is not nearly what it should be", pointing in particular to on-going terror attacks, reports the BBC.
However, he insisted that the situation under Saddam Hussein was far worse. And he said although the world was not safer than 10 years ago, it was safer than it would be if he had remained.
Blair said the price paid in the lives of British troops and civilian casualties had been high, but he pointed to the numbers of people who had suffered under Saddam Hussein and the significant numbers killed under his regime in Kurdish areas and during the Iran-Iraq war.
Blair said that he thinks about those who died and the consequences for their families, but added that "in the end you are elected as prime minister to make these decisions".
Blair admitted that the issue of Iraq remain extremely divisive. He insisted that there was a long fight ahead and that Britain could not avoid being involved.
The invasion of Iraq led by US troops, in coalition with the UK and other nations began on 20 March 2003. The UK lost 179 servicemen and women, of which 136 were killed in action, before the last British troops were withdrawn in April 2009.