LONDON - British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, said yesterday it was a "tragedy" that there had been so many deaths in Iraq but insisted that the US-led coalition was doing the right thing.
"The British soldiers and the American soldiers have done extraordinary work in Iraq, they've made very great sacrifices," he said in an interview with Sky News.
"It's a tragedy that so many have lost their lives, but they have not lost their lives because we have been doing the wrong thing in Iraq."
Asked whether the lives of ordinary people were now worse than under executed dictator Saddam Hussein, he said: "It's been extremely tough, very challenging; it's a very difficult situation."
Blair blamed terrorists and sectarian death squads for the deaths, saying the Iraqi people had voted for a democratic government.
"We're not making it worse - they're making it worse," he said.
"Until the Western world stops apologising for its values we're never going to defeat this."
Reports yesterday said five US soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
The deaths brought to 3205 the US military's losses in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.
President George Bush approved the assignment to Iraq of another 2400 soldiers and 2200 military police at the weekend.- Sapa-AFP