Jessica Lynch. Tommy Franks. 'Chemical Ali.' Tony Blair. Hans Blix. Ten years ago, as the war in Iraq began, these were names on front pages everywhere. Find out what has happened to them – and 10 other headliners associated with the conflict – since.
Tony Blair (U.K. prime minister)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images file
British Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress as Vice President Dick Cheney looks on in Washington on July 17, 2003.
At the turn of the millennium, Tony Blair was on a roll. Elected by a vast majority in early 2001 to his second term as Britain’s prime minister, he was presiding over a reinvigorated economy and had also received many domestic accolades for his support of America during 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan (in which British troops participated).
That was all to change when in 2003 he wholeheartedly threw his support — and thousands of British troops — behind the U.S.’s determination to throw out Saddam Hussein. With speeches to the international community, he fully signed on to the notion that Iraq was a rogue state that possessed weapons of mass destruction, and his support — especially coming from someone far from George Bush on the political spectrum — was important in establishing credibility for the invasion.
When after the war it was established that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction, Blair’s pre-war statements became a major domestic controversy. Many members of the Labour Party, not only those who were opposed to the Iraq war, were among those critical; among opponents of the war, accusations that Blair had deliberately exaggerated the threat were made.
As criticism wore on — including fallout over the suicide of a government warfare expert accused of leaking documents related to the government’s decision to go to war — Blair found himself far from the bright-eyed boy of British politics that he had once been. (At his initial election, in 1997, he became, at 44, the youngest prime minister since 1812.)
Perhaps reflecting his reversal of fortune, in October 2004, Blair declared his intention to seek a third term but not a fourth (there are no term limits in the British parliament). His party won a third consecutive stint in government at the 2005 general election, although its majority in the House of Commons was considerably reduced.
San Tan/AP file
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves his house in central London on May 28, 2012.
On 7 September 2006 Blair publicly stated he would step down by the time of the Labour Party annual conference in September 2007, an announcement that was followed in May 2007 by a speech in his home constituency that he intended to resign the following month. On June 27 he tendered his resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the Queen.
The same day Blair was officially confirmed as Middle East envoy for the United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia, otherwise known as the Quartet.
In addition to his work for the Quartet, Blair maintains a rigorous schedule of speeches across the world, promoting several organizations he has founded, including the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. In the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics in London, he launched the Tony Blair Sports Foundation which aims to increase participation in sport by young people, particularly those who are socially excluded, according to his website.
He lives in London with his wife Cherie Booth, a prominent lawyer. They have four children.
IRAQ TEN YEARS LATER: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
- Jessica Lynch
- Hans Blix (UN arms inspector)
- Colin Powell
- Tariq Aziz (Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister)
- Ahmed Chalabi (Iraqi exile leader)
- Tony Blair
- Gen. Tommy Franks
- Josh Rushing (Marines spokesman)
- Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks (Army spokesman)
- Paul Bremer (Iraq administrator)
- Farris Hassan (teen journalist)
- Lynndie England (Abu Ghraib)
- Mohammed Al-Rehaief (aided Jessica Lynch)
- Ali Hassan Al-Majid (‘Chemical Ali’)
- Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (‘Baghdad Bob’)