The Philadelphia Inquirer reports today that former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the 2010 Liberty Medal, “the prestigious prize awarded annually in Philadelphia to champions of freedom around the world”:
Blair was named shortly after 9 Wednesday morning in ceremonies at the National Constitution Center, across Independence Mall from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Speakers, including Mayor Nutter, praised Blair for helping end the conflict in Northern Ireland, working for peace in the Middle East, and establishing the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which supports international charity work while opposing religious extremism. [...]
The first Liberty Medal was awarded in 1989 to Lech Walesa, the labor leader who bravely pushed for reforms in Poland.
President Bush also awarded Blair the Medal of Freedom in 2009 for his “efforts to promote democracy,” which in Bush’s book, most likely included supporting the U.S.-led invasion into Iraq in 2003. During his time in office, Britons derided Blair as “Bush’s poodle” for his steadfast support for all U.S. priorities. The Inquirer notes that of the 21 previous recipients of the Liberty Medal, six went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (HT: Atrios)