The host of Meet the Press David Gregory challenged former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's views on terrorism Sunday, saying that going after Saddam Hussein in Iraq only led to more Islamic terrorism.
Blair takes apart Gregory's assertion masterfully, blaming terrorism on "the disruptive effect" of "Islamist ideology" and saying "We've got to liberate ourselves from this, because we make a huge error when we end up thinking somehow it's our actions that caused this."
David Gregory: "Isn't the legacy of your leadership, and that of President Bush, in part responsible for the reality today?
"To wit, I mean this. I have spoken to writers, other generals, leaders, former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates writes in his memoir, Afghanistan was the proving ground for Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim world, and by invading Iraq, there was necessarily a transfer of tremendous resources to fight the war in Iraq, and today the Taliban is resurgent and still very powerful in Pakistan and could be once again in Afghanistan....Did you, did President Bush, did the West fail to deal with the extremism you talk about today appropriately in Afghanistan in a sustainable way?"
Tony Blair: "We've got to liberate ourselves from this, because we make a huge error when we end up thinking somehow it's our actions that caused this. Let's be very clearly in Afghanistan and Iraq - you can agree or disagree with either decision - we removed brutal dictatorships, allowed the people a chance to elect their government, they came out in both cases and voted, showing that they wanted such elections, we gave them a massive financial support."
"What was the disruptive effect? The disruptive effect was that very Islamist ideology I'm talking about on the one side being pushed out of Iran from the Iranian theocracy, on the other side al Qaeda and other groups, and they combined to try and destabilize the wishes of the majority of the country."
"Now, when we weren't involved, as in Syria, they're still going and fighting jihad there. So you can go on, carry on, explaining all this, saying it's us, we provoked them, it's really they're just trying to react against Western imperialism, it's nonsense. If it were the case, for example, the reason why they were engaged in this terrorism in Iraq, was because of the presence of American troops or British troops, you'd expect that when we'd get out, the terrorism would stop. It doesn't, and it doesn't because it's not coming from us, it's coming from this ideology, and we aren't going to defeat it until we liberate ourselves from the attitude that somehow we're the cause of it."
Maybe, if Gregory would let his interview subjects speak, instead of inserting his own opinions as fact, NBC News wouldn't have to hire a "psychological consultant" to figure out why people don't like David Gregory.