Sir David said the West's military intervention, which has cost 2,858 American and 125 British lives, had been "pretty much of a disaster".
Mr Blair responded: "It has, [but] what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It is not difficult because of some accident in planning. It is difficult because there is a deliberate strategy - al-Qa'eda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."
Mr Blair admitted that the insurgents, who killed four British troops near Basra last Sunday, were testing Britain's will but insisted that forces would stay for as long as the Iraqi government needed them. Al-Jazeera's Arabic channel has angered London and Washington by broadcasting tapes from Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'eda leader, and showing dead soldiers. [..]The acknowledgement that the situation in Iraq was disastrous will fuel demands at Westminster for a full-scale inquiry into the conflict. It represents a significant concession by Mr Blair to the growing band of critics who want troops withdrawn next year.Read on..