Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair secretly pledged in March 2002 to support the Bush administration’s planned Iraq War, according to a once-classified White House memo reported Oct. 18 by the Daily Mail in London.
“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 Daily Mail reported.
“The sensational leak,” said the story, “shows that Blair (shown in a 2014 photo) 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.”
The document that reporters William Lowther and Glen Owen described as “the damning memo” was from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (shown in a file photo) to President George Bush and written on March 28, 2002, “a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas.”
The email surfaced as one of 30,000 retrieved by the U.S. Department of State from the private server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in response to demands by House investigators and private critics seeking information under Freedom of Information Act law.
Blair has denied both before the UK’s Chilcot Commission and in his 2010 memoir, A Journey: My Political Life, that he made a firm decision to lead his country to war before the Parliament approved it in 2003. That was nearly a year after Blair’s pledge to the Bush administration.
The memo thus suggests that Blair has been lying about the timing and that he deserved the insulting nickname “Bush’s Poodle” that some in the UK have given Blair for his perceived subservience to the Republican president from 2001 to 2009. Current Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn urged Blair’s prosecution on war crimes charges in August, even before the current revelation.
The revelations parallel several others during recent days in the United States and Britain regarding the honesty and skill of important Western foreign policy leaders. The Justice Integrity Project began our series of reports on these epic breakdowns on Oct. 18 with our column NY Times Features Challenge To Obama Bin Laden Raid Story. Separate reports soon here shall cover:
- New documents that describe U.S. drone attacks as killing far more civilians than previously reported;
- Russia’s recent initiatives in Syria, including reports that it has used advanced technology to create a zone in Syria where Western electronics (including flight and satellite imagery) do not function; and
- Continuing controversies over a London subway bombing in 2007 that constituted UK’s “9/11” and the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2103.
Beyond Blair’s conduct, the Colin Powell memo raises several other disturbing issues regarding governance of the self-described world’s leading democracies. Among them are the secrecy of decision-making and the failure of watchdog institutions to achieve accountability for deadly, wrong-headed, disastrous and arguably corrupt decision-making on recent wars undertaken by the two nations.
With rare exceptions, the party system, the press, and blue-ribbon commissions have ill-served the public, the Blair scandal seems to suggest as do its parallels in the United States.