Watch Tony Blair Defend the Iraq War to a Skeptical Journalist

It's the sort of adversarial interview that American broadcasters should conduct with presidents.

In the video below, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair defends the Iraq War to a BBC interviewer to mark its 10th anniversary. It's riveting to watch. Note her willingness to ask uncomfortable questions, and her composed but adversarial attitude that borders at times on impertinence:



Set aside the issue of Iraq -- whether you think the war was a mistake or not. Isn't this how American broadcasters should interview our politicians? Shouldn't things sometimes get heated? Isn't it problematic that it's hard to even imagine Steve Kroft telling President Obama that there are angry people who say he's responsible for killing innocent children and is a war criminal?

Lots of people feel that way about Blair, and lots of people vehemently disagree. What I like about the video above is the way contentious issues are addressed head on, so that disagreement is actually aired. It even works out nicely for Blair, because he gets to really defend himself. It's the sort of pressing interview that teases out the actual tensions in the subject's thoughts.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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