October 19, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — Tony Blair made it clear he would back the U.S. in Iraq “should military operations become necessary” — a full year before the U.S. invaded in 2003, according to a newly declassified document revealed by the Daily Mail.
In the memo to then-President George W. Bush, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell penned that “Blair continues to stand by you and the U.S. 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. [REDACTED].”
Dated declassified April 1, 2012 (yes, April Fool’s Day, coincidentally enough), the memo served as a brief for Bush in advance of the former U.K. prime minister’s visit to the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas in early April 2002. Powell told Bush that “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.”
He also added that Blair “will want to discuss: Afghanistan; Iraq; the Middle East; Russia and NATO enlargement; and trade and development.”
Interestingly enough, the document surfaced as one of thousands received by Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in her infamous personal email account during her tenure as Secretary of State. The emails have since been ordered by a judge to be released. Though she claimed the account was a matter of convenience, she’s been accused of risking State security by employing an unsecured computer system.
Iraq wasn’t the only area of cooperation, as far as Blair was concerned:
“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. The UK welcomes the active political, military and financial aid the U.S. has provided to persuade Turkey to take on I.S.A.F. [International Security Assistance Force — the NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the UN Security Council in December 2001] leadership.”
Powell proceeded to construct the framework necessary to head off the unpalatable possibility that a war no one wanted should suddenly break out. He suggested instilling favorable propaganda, seemingly wherever needed:
“On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary. He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success. Aside from his foreign and defense 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. Blair may suggest ideas on how to (1) make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace; (2) keep Iraq’s neighbors on our side; (3) handle calls for a UNSC blessing that can increase support for us in the region and with UK and European audiences; and (4) demonstrate that we have thought through ‘the day after.’”
Blair, who served as the prime minister of the U.K. from 1997 until 2007, has firmly and regularly denied rushing into war with Iraq and even testified that the world benefitted from the elimination of a possible Iraqi nuclear threat via the deposing and assassination of Saddam Hussein. As the Independent reported in 2011:
“Asked at the end of six hours of testimony by inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, whether he had any regrets, he said: ‘Responsibility but not any regrets for removing Saddam Hussein.
“‘I think he was a monster. I believe he threatened not just the region but the world. And in the circumstances that we faced then, but I think even if you look back now, it was better to deal with this threat, to remove him from office.’
“One member of the audience shouted out: ‘What, no regrets? Come on.’
“Then as he left, another audience member heckled: ‘You are a liar,’ while another added, ‘And a murderer.’
“[H]e rejected suggestions that he had struck a deal with Mr. Bush to overthrow Saddam insisting that he had always been open about what he was doing.
“‘The one thing I was not doing was dissembling in that position. The position was not a covert position, it was an open position,’ he said.”
Former shadow Home Secretary David Davis reacted to the documents, as reported in the Daily Mail, saying,
“This is one of the most astonishing documents I have ever read.
“It proves in explicit terms what many of us believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a front man for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.
“He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having the remotest ability to have any real influence over it.
“And in return for what? For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves.
“Blair was content to cynically use Britain’s international reputation for honest dealing in diplomacy, built up over many years, as a shield against worldwide opprobrium for Bush’s ill-conceived policy.”
Reigniting a firestorm of controversy in the U.K., one of the more stunning aspects of the document concerns Blair’s flippant attitude toward military action though at the time, he repeatedly claimed peace was a goal. Davis continues:
“What is truly shocking is the casualness of it all, such as the reference in the memo to ‘the day after’ — meaning the day after Saddam would be toppled.
“The offhand tone gives the game away: it is patently obvious nobody thought about ‘the day after’ when Blair and Bush met in Crawford.
“And they gave it no more thought right through to the moment ‘the day after’ came about a year later when Saddam’s statue fell to the ground.”
Former Labour MP and member of the Select Foreign Affairs Committee at the time events in the memo took place, Andrew MacKinlay, called for a full disclosure. In an interview discussing the newly revealed document, he said,
“Looking at these documents this morning and everything else that has gone before we know that this was a complete and utter deceit to me and others.
“Obviously I feel both deeply ashamed and very stupid having trusted a British prime minister, but it was, a British prime minister.
“But it was myself and the British people, all of us, were duped.”
More revelations about the Iraq invasion and the War on Terror surface all the time, but no matter the fabrications of world political “leaders,” facts about the now-officially-confirmed-to-be-lie-based, U.S.-initiated aggression remain as dire as ever: well over one million civilian non-combatants have died as a result of the Iraq conflict, either directly from fighting or from any number of issues driving massive internal and external displacement.
A lawsuit partially backed by a former U.S. attorney general that seeks to hold Bush and former members of his administration responsible for war crimes for their illegal invasion of Iraq, stands before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This document’s release may just be Blair’s ticket to join them.
This article (Declassified: Tony Blair’s “Deal in Blood” with Bush One Year Before Iraq Invasion) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email email@example.com.
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