FORMER U.S. President Bill Clinton said last Friday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was in an "impossible position" before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Clinton told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the failure of Blair's attempts to win a second U.N. resolution on the matter left him "out there all alone."
Blair "had to decide which way to go," and relied upon intelligence that claimed it was likely Iraq had biological and chemical weapons, Clinton said.
"I think he decided that he better go on and maintain the trans-Atlantic alliance," he said. "He was in an impossible position, really."
Talking about the failed second resolution, Clinton said: "We couldn't get a lot of people to vote for it ... because they were afraid that they would be, in effect, legitimising the war."
Clinton said that, despite ongoing conflict in Iraq, defeating insurgency and building up Iraqi security forces were achievable aims.
"My gut feeling is that we probably have a not insubstantial draw-out of troops next year," he said. "I think probably that they'll be reconfigured with more special forces and put in different places."
"But the goal is to have a self-governing, coherent country that can protect itself and prevent terrorists from operating on their neighbours," said Clinton, who was U.S. president from 1993 to 2000.
On Iran, Clinton said he believed the international community has to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council, after the country broke seals at its main uranium enrichment facility.
However, asked if he thought the U.S. would invade Iran, he said: "I doubt it."
"I don't know where we would get the troops right now," Clinton said.
Referring to current U.S. President George W. Bush, he said: "He's shown a lot of restraint there, you know, he let the European negotiating effort take the lead."
Clinton said Iran was also "a different kettle of fish than Iraq" and had a "much bigger military operation."
The former president said he had discussed the future with Blair, who has revealed he will not seek a fourth term, meaning he could serve until 2010 at the latest.
Asked if he thought Blair should consider running for U.N. secretary general in 2008, Clinton said: "That would suit me. He would be a good one."