Tony Blair Tapped for US Medal of Freedom

Former prime minister was staunch US ally
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2009 2:13 AM CST
President Bush talks to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a NATO summit. Blair will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom before Bush leaves office.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a staunch ally of President Bush on the war in Iraq, is to receive the highest US civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Blair, who is now an Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet—Russia, the US, the EU and UN—will be honored at a White House ceremony a week before the president leaves office, reports the BBC.

The news was received with derision in some quarters of Britain. "Tony Blair should be spending next week helping to fix the mess in Gaza, not receiving an award for the biggest foreign policy disaster in recent history and his silence over Guantanamo Bay," said a spokesman for Britain's Liberal Democrats. Former Australian PM John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will get the medal, along with Blair, for their support on the war or terror, the White House said.