Blair says he liked George Bush when he was UK PM

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London, Sept.20 : Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Daily Show last night that his decision to send British troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, had a lot to do with his equation with U.S. President George W Bush.

When interviewer Jon Stewart, said to Blair: "Your relationship with George Bush seems inexplicable," Blair replied: "Here's something I find always goes down well, particularly back home: I like him."

Stewart retorted: "I would probably like him too, if he wasn't in charge of me."

Pressed on the Iraq conflict, Blair admitted that he was "shocked" by how hard the aftermath of invasion had been and at one point became defensive under Stewart's smiling inquisition, snapping: "None of this is easy, ok?"

He insisted that radical groups like al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah were linked, maintaining that the battle in Iraq was the same struggle between democracy and radical Islamism that was going on in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine and elsewhere.

He laughingly dismissed Stewart's suggestion that those countries were next in line for military action.

Pushed on Bush's legacy, Blair protested that he did not want to "get into" American politics. Nor was there any discussion of the current presidential race.

Blair also admitted that his recent conversion to Catholicism "would have been complicated" if he had tried to do it during his premiership, adding: "In our country people regard it as something which is very private."

Blair also discussed his academic career -- teaching a course at Yale entitled "Faith and Globalisation."

"I'm sort of a bit nervous for it, really. I was never a star student, and I'm coming along mixing with a whole lot of people who I'm sure are a whole lot more clever and smarter than I am," he said.

Blair said he was partly drawn to the university after his son Euan graduated from there earlier this year with a master's degree in international relations.

ANI

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