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GREGORY: Isn't the legacy of your leadership and that of President Bush in part responsible for the reality today? To wit, I mean this. I have spoken to writers, other generals, leaders, former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates writes in his memoir, Afghanistan was the proving ground for Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim world, and by invading Iraq, there was necessarily a transfer of tremendous resources to fight the war in Iraq, and today the Taliban is resurgent and still very powerful in Pakistan and could be once again in Afghanistan....Did you, did President Bush, did the West fail to deal with the extremism you talk about today appropriately in Afghanistan in a sustainable way?
BLAIR: I think we did, but I think we’ve got to recognize something very, very seriously. This is a long battle…This ideology is not going to be defeated by an engagement in Afghanistan, in Iraq, or even in these individual arenas. It’s going to be defeated over a long period of time.”
We make a huge error when we end up thinking somehow it’s our actions that caused this, In Afghanistan and Iraq, we removed brutal dictatorships, allowed the people a chance to elect their government, they came out in both cases and voted, showing that they wanted such elections, gave them massive financial support. What was the disruptive effect? The disruptive effect was that very Islamist ideology I’m talking about on the one side being pushed out of Iran from the Iranian theocracy, on the other side al Qaeda and other groups, and they combined to try to destabilize the wishes of the majority of the country. Now, when we weren’t involved, as in Syria, they’re still going to fight jihad there.
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