Monday :: May 2, 2005

Secret Blair Cabinet Memo: Bush Decided To Invade Iraq In Mid-2002


by Steve

You knew it would eventually come out, right? The proof that Bush planned to invade Iraq regardless of what transpired at the UN in the fall of 2002, or regardless of what Saddam did in the run-up to the war? The Times of London in yesterday’s edition published what they claim to be an internal Blair Cabinet memo of July 23, 2002 that reveals what the Brits thought the US had prepared to do. In short, despite what Bush told the American people during the summer and fall of 2002 in the months leading up to the 2002 midterms about the need for Saddam to come clean with the UN, the White House had already begun its timeline for an invasion in October 2002, with a planned invasion in January 2003. Bush planned such a move even though the Brits and Americans both knew that Saddam posed a lesser WMD threat than Libya, Iran, or North Korea.

Keep in mind as you read this that the date of this memo was July 2002:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

So Tony Blair secretly committed as far back as April 2002 to work with George W. Bush on what his own Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told him was an illegal regime change. Blair and Bush agreed that they had to “create” the conditions to justify a war.

It appears that all of the window dressing at the UN in the fall of 2002 was nothing more than an effort to get a proper legal justification for what Bush and Blair had already decided to do six months earlier, regardless of what Saddam did to comply with UN resolutions. And now Blair’s own military people are convinced that they did not have a legal justification for the war, and in the event that any UK troops are brought up on war crimes charges, UK military officials feel that Blair and his ministers should be included in the trial as well.

Steve :: 9:44 AM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!