Monday, October 19, 2015

Tony Blair Just Couldn't Wait for Iraq War

Sensational revelations on Tony Blair and Iraq appeared in yesterday's MailOnline.

Typically, there was NOTHING about them on this morning's (6.30) ABC news*, so here are the MailOnline headlines and opening paragraph:

Smoking gun emails reveals Blair's 'deal in blood' with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started - despite claiming he wanted peace

*Leaked White House memo shows former PM's support for war at summit with US President in 2002

*Bombshell document shows Blair preparing to act as spin doctor for Bush, who was told 'the UK will follow our lead'

*Publicly, Blair still claimed to be looking for diplomatic solution - in direct contrast to email revelations

*New light was shed on Bush-Blair relations by material disclosed by Hilary Clinton at the order of US courts

"A bombshell White House memo has revealed for the first time details of the 'deal in blood' forged by Tony Blair and George Bush over the Iraq War. The sensational leak shows that Blair had given an unqualified pledge to sign up to the conflict a year before the invasion started. It flies in the face of the Prime Minister's public claims at the time that he was seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. He told voters: 'We're not proposing military action - in direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals." (Glen Owen & William Lowther, 18/10/15)

You can read it all at For now, here's the data from their useful graphic:

Secret: Memorandum to the President
From: Colin L. Powell, 28/3/02
Subject: Your meeting with UK PM Tony Blair, April 5-7, 2002 at Crawford

1. Powell starts his memo by outlining the intimate nature of the upcoming meeting between Blair and Bush at the President's Crawford ranch in Texas.

*"Tony Blair is looking forward to the time he and his family will spend with you at Crawford to deepen their personal relationship with you and Laura [Bush's wife]. Buckingham Palace's approval of the trip despite The Queen Mother's death attests to the importance the British government ascribes to Blair's meeting with you. Blair will want to discuss: Afghanistan; Iraq; the Middle East; Russia and Nato enlargement; and trade and development.'

2. He says Blair will back him on Iraq and present 'public affairs lines' as Bush's global spin doctor.

* "Blair continues to stand by you and the US as we move forward on the war on terrorism and on Iraq. He will present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause."

3. Powell then says that Blair eagerly proved his loyalty to Bush by sending British troops to Afghanistan even though UK military chiefs warned it was a risk.

* "Blair and the UK are in Afghanistan with us for the long haul. He readily committed to deploy 1,700 commandos, even though his experts warn that British forces are overstretched."

4. Again, he stresses Blair was already committed to Iraq War - even though he had not told MPs, the Cabinet or British voters.

* "On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary."

5. Powell says only TWO of Blair's cabinet ministers backed the war, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw - at the time Blair claimed they all did. And he denied most Labour MPs and voters opposed him.

* "Aside from his foreign and defence secretaries, however, Blair's Cabinet shows signs of division, and the Labour Party and the British public are unconvinced that military action is warranted now."

6. Smooth-talking Blair would persuade sceptics that flimsy claims that Saddam had WMDs were 'credible' and brush off claims that UN backing was needed. The UN is dismissed with contempt.

* "Blair may suggest ideas on how to make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace... [and] handle calls for a UNSC [Security Council] blessing."

7. Blair would say the Allies would prevent bloody chaos in Iraq 'the day after' Saddam fell. They did no such thing, there was bloody chaos.

* "[Blair will] demonstrate that we have thought through 'the day after'."

8. Loyal Blair would spare Bush's blushes by not making a public fuss about a US decision on import tariffs which had devastated Britain's steel industry.

* "We do not expect Blair to dwell on the steel decision."

9. 'Arrogant' Blair desperately needed Bush's endorsement because his domestic policies were failing in Britain.

* "Blair hit some domestic turbulence. Blamed at home for failing to fix inadequate public services, his (unpublished) poll numbers have fallen to below 50%. He is sharply criticised by the media for being too pro-US, too arrogant and 'presidential' (not a compliment in the British context) and too insensitive on issues of concern to voters."

10. Bush had to pretend Blair was his equal to enable him to convince sceptical British voters he was not America's poodle.

* "Blair knows he may have to pay a political price for supporting us on Iraq, and wants to minimise it. Nonetheless, he will stick with us on the big issues. His voters will look for signs that Britain and America are truly equity partners in the special relationship."

[* However, an item on the recreation of the 1915 'Coo-ee March' from Gilgandra to Sydney to suck Australians into joining the army to fight for Britain in World War I was broadcast.]


Vacy said...

Bloody shocking, not at all surprising. Great legal ammo for the move to take Blair to trial for war crimes.

Anonymous said...

This Is evidence of malice aforethought by both the US and the UK, of course Australian support,in advance, was taken as a given. Australia the "step and fetch' nation.

The essential elements of any criminal act: the guilty mind and the guilty act.
I think the Latin term is mens rea, actus reas in jurisprudence.

This matter needs to be referred to the appropriate war crimes courts and these criminals should be charged with "wage a war of aggression" just like the Nazi leaders. This is what courts are for.

Anonymous said...

I saw one of these re-inactment marches in a NSW country town recently. All fancy dress, military uniforms, horseback riders, a wagon, flags and vintage cars with Bogans in period costume shouting "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie oy oy oy". By chance there were a number of foreign tourists bemused by it all.

The extravaganza should have been followed by a team of mental health professionals to treat these sick people who would no doubt applaud the war criminals who send these men to their death for dubious causes.

As one who lost a relative in WW1 at Gallipoli on Anzac Day [13 th Battalion] I did not feel like celebration, only embarrassed by the Bogans.

Perhaps the Bogans should have shouted "join the Australian army and fight for Israel".