Friday, February 03, 2006

Peaceful Means

Obviously what we want to achieve is disarmament through peaceful means and there is a final push for that to happen
- Tony Blair's Official Spokesman, 25th February 2003
More details of the pre-war meeting between Bush and Blair in January 2003 are emerging. The Channel 4 News report of the leaked memo is available online and is worth watching if you missed it.

On diplomacy to secure a second resolution, the memo records Bush's position:
The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.
Blair knew this. In January 2003. Military action would follow anyway.

And it seems they were quite aware that Saddam was probably not in material breach of resolution 1441. Bush raised the possibility of deliberate, dishonest provocation in order to generate the necessary reaction from Saddam.
The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.
Good grief. Apart from anything else, the U2 spyplane was perfectly capable of flying above the limits of Saddam's anti-aircraft defences. This suggestion can have only one purpose and that is to create an excuse for a war.

The enormous miscalculation on the difficulties of the occupation is also recorded.
President Bush said that he: "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."
Blair had been advised on this. In Peter Oborne's documentary, Iraq The Reckoning, Professor George Joffe of Cambridge University explains how Blair had reacted to his briefing on the complexities of the post-war situation. Blair listened and then said "but he's evil, isn't he? [Saddam]". No sh*t. But largely irrelevant as far as planning for the occupation. And Dr Tony Dodge, a leading expert on Iraq, in that same documentary, explains that he briefed Downing Street on the enormous difficulties they would face, including a warning that Islamic radicalism would be a major factor. His warnings appear to have been ignored.

Neither Downing Street or the Whitehouse has denied the veracity of the memo. The standard "no comment" is pretty much all they've said. The Downing Street spokesman also claimed that "the events leading up to the war had been thoroughly investigated." He later went on to argue that black is white before being tragically killed on a zebra crossing.*

Early Day Motion 1088 calls for a full independent investigation into the government's handling of the Iraq war. This afternoon, I shall, again, be writing to Anne Begg, my MP, to ask if she'll sign it.

* Not my joke but that of the great DNA.

A copy of the email I sent to my MP can be viewed here if anyone is interested.

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