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August 15, 2010; Source: AFP | Time will tell if Tony Blair’s decision to donate proceeds from his forthcoming autobiography to a war veteran’s charity will win him forgiveness from those who opposed his decision to send British troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite the fact that book sales could lead to millions of dollars for the Royal British Legion, anti-war groups—while applauding his choice of charity and the purpose of his gift—do not feel his act should absolve him of responsibility for taking the nation to war.

A spokesman for Stop The War Coalition said, “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in the pointless death of hundreds of British soldiers and hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians.” The spokesman added, “No amount of money will wash their blood from his hands.” Blair, who served as Britain’s prime minister from 1994 to 2007, apparently made his decision to donate the book’s proceeds years ago. A spokesman said Blair wanted the money to go to the veteran’s group “as a way of marking the enormous sacrifice” the armed forces “make to the security of our people and the world.”

Blair has already received a more than $7 million advance for this memoirs, and if he gives all that, plus whatever total amount the book earns, the money will put the Royal British Legion well on its way toward raising some $18 million for a project to help injured soldiers regain their health by taking part in sports and outdoor activities. The charity’s director general Chris Simpkins said Blair’s donation “will help us to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of injured personnel.”—Bruce Trachtenberg