A Tawdry Tale: The Blair-Bush Iraq Memo


This just in: The British media have published a leaked White House memo that proves former prime minister Tony Blair lied to the world to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The new document shows a contrast between Blair’s public position in early 2002 that he was not proposing military action and the private opinion of the White House that he would “follow our lead”. The White House memo for former president George W Bush says: “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.”

The March 2002 note from Colin Powell, the former US secretary of state, tells Bush that Blair would “present to you the strategic, tactical and public affairs lines that he believes will strengthen global support for our common cause.” It adds that Blair has the presentational skills to “make a credible public case on current Iraqi threats to international peace.”

The leaked memo comes as Bush and Blair continue to deny the two countries were on an unstoppable path to war at that point. It also comes as Sir John Chilcot continues to avoid setting a final deadline for the publication of his long-awaited report into the Iraq War.

Under international law, Chilcot should publish the inquiry, because the leaked Bush-Blair Memo adds weight to the evidence that the military timetable and preparation for invasion took precedence over any diplomacy and specifically over the timetable for the UN weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix. Also, the inquiry should be published, because the world wants answers, as despite damning evidence, the war criminals shrug off responsibility for the current chaos in the Middle East that was unleashed by the invasion of 2003.

Twelve years into this mess, it is still a tawdry tale that subverts and tarnishes the reputation of international law and justice. Worse yet, consecutive British and American governments have refined and extended this endless war with scant input from the UN. With no clear authorization and oversight, they have launched military interventions and proxy wars that have killed and displaced millions. They ply the world with constant stories about the dangers of terrorism and assume that people won’t catch on to the contradictory nature of their colonial policies and plans.

In alliance with Arab allies and “trusted” terrorists, the US and British governments continue to lie to the world to justify the ongoing wars against Syria and Yemen. It is now all but certain that they cluster-bomb civilians and deprive women and children of food and water in besieged cities as they try to replace national defence forces with terrorists to affect regime change. They also do their utmost to interrupt political resolutions to the crises in the Muslim world by means of instigating ethnic and sectarian violence. They have even signed a blank check for endless war in the targeted country of Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Just like their predecessors, the new breed of regime changers continues to lie about the endless wars of aggression and domination. Almost all US presidential candidates express support for this catastrophic policy, including the Pentagon plan to maintain a large capability of terror drones and Special Operations forces in war-torn countries that we now know have largely been killing civilians, and at the very least, few suspected militants.   

The world must speak with one voice and display a greater engagement at such a critical time: The United States and its allies have neither the agility to respond to humanitarian crises nor the moral authority to restrain terrorism and extremism. It is past time for Chilcot to publish his inquiry and expose the dodgy establishments in London and Washington. It is also past time for George W. Bush and Tony Blair – and their silent partners – to be tried for crime of aggression in The Hague. No one in the world got peace and security out of this stupid adventure.