The news headlines say that Blair spoke about 'Radical Islam', but he doesn't actually name the phenomenon he's discussing.
AMANPOUR: I guess no surprises. There's zero apologizing for what happened in Iraq. You stick to your contention about the weapons of mass destruction, and if it wasn't weapons of mass destruction, then you say at least the byproduct would be getting rid of Saddam Hussein, and wouldn't the world be a better place without him? But you also talk about not comprehending the complexities that were going to be unleashed in Iraq. What precisely?(more)
BLAIR: What I think we understand more clearly now is -- and this is something I didn't understand fully at the time of 9/11 -- in a sense, at that point you think there were 3,000 people killed in the streets of New York in a single day. And I still think it's important just to hold that thought in our mind, because I always say about this, the important thing is, if these people could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have.
And that really changed the calculus of risk all together. But what I understand less clearly at that time was how deep this ideological movement is. -- this is actually more like the phenomenon of revolutionary communism. It's the religious or cultural equivalent of it, and its roots are deep, its tentacles are long, and its narrative about Islam stretches far further than we think into even parts of mainstream opinion who abhor the extremism, but sort of buy some of the rhetoric that goes with it.
AMANPOUR: In your book your wrote that this is not something to be combated on an electoral cycle, this will take a generation.
Do you think everybody gets it? I mean, you see President Obama now faced with drawing down in Iraq, faced with ramping up in Afghanistan, but still putting a deadline on. What sort of message does that send as to the commitment to fight this?
BLAIR: I think it's perfectly sensible to set the deadline, provided it's clear that, as it were, that is to get everyone focused on getting the job done.
But in general terms, I think the answer to your question is no, I think a lot of people don't understand that this is a generational-long struggle. and I think one of the things we've got to have and one of the debates we've got to have in the west is you know are we prepared for that, and are we prepared for the consequences of it?