Jimmy Carter: Blair Subservient to Bush

The Associated Press
Sunday, August 27, 2006; 11:06 PM

LONDON -- Former President Jimmy Carter accused Tony Blair on Sunday of being "subservient" to the White House, saying the British prime minister failed to constrain America on Iraq.

"I have been surprised and extremely disappointed by Tony Blair's behavior," Carter said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"I think that more than any other person in the world, the prime minister could have had a moderating influence on Washington _ and he has not," added Carter, who opposed the war in Iraq. "I really thought that Tony Blair ... would be a constraint on President Bush's policy toward Iraq."

Blair has been Bush's closest international ally on Iraq, and Britain has the second most troops there after America.

Carter said in many countries he has visited, people equate U.S. and British policy.

"It's a shameful and pitiful state of affairs, and I hold your British prime minister to be substantially responsible for being so compliant and subservient," Carter said.

Blair committed Britain to the war even though public opinion was strongly against it. He was re-elected last year _ but with a sharply reduced Parliamentary majority, and the war has damaged his credibility among Britons.

Some speculated when the war began that Blair had decided to back Bush publicly in order to maintain his behind-the-scenes influence on Washington. But he has always denied suggestions that he committed to the invasion of Iraq for any reason other than that he believed it was the right thing to do.

© 2006 The Associated Press