Ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.The text of the briefing paper is here.
The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.
The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of BlairÂs inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was "necessary to create the conditions" which would make it legal.
This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.
Eric Margolis lays it out as plain as day, in today's Toronto Sun:
In July 2002, the head of MI-6, Britain's secret intelligence service, briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet on U.S. plans to attack Iraq.Here's an excellent recap of events. ... NBC News reports there are seven such memos. While Bush and Blair have both huffed and puffed about what these minutes say, neither of them have questioned their authenticity.
Sir Richard Dearlove ("M" to James Bond fans) reported that U.S. President George Bush had decided to invade oil-rich Iraq in March 2003, in a war "to be justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
Translation: The U.S. and British governments would concoct charges against Iraq to justify war.
After Britain's attorney general warned that unprovoked invasion of Iraq would violate international law, Dearlove opined with oily cynicism, "If the political context were right, people would support regime change." Translation: Use propaganda and scare tactics to whip up war fever.
British and U.S. intelligence agencies were ordered to produce "evidence" to justify a war. In the U.S., faked "evidence" and grotesque lies were fed to the frightened public by pro-war neo-conservatives and frenzied national media. The U.S. Congress clapped for war like trained seals.
In October 2002, Bush actually claimed in a national speech that Iraqi "drone" aircraft were poised to shower germs and poison gas on America. Vice-President Dick Cheney insisted this absurd allegation was the "smoking gun" that justified invading Iraq. Blair ordered his cabinet to support the invasion. ...
And so it went. Lie after lie. Scare upon scare. Fakery after fakery, trumpeted by the tame media that came to resemble the lickspittle press of the old Soviet Union. Ironically, in the end, horrid Saddam Hussein turned out to be telling the truth all along, while Bush and Blair were not.
It would be nice if the American media remembered that in 2002, the Bush administration moved $700,000,000 from the war in Afghanistan to preparation for an Iraq invasion.
But seriously, what else is needed -- what more could possible be necessary -- to put the entire Bush and Blair administrations in shackles and try them for war crimes?
I'd also like to see every elected official in Washington -- Democrat and Republican -- who supported this treasonous gang of murderers forced to resign. Every single member of the mainstream media who continues to ignore these truths and offer lame excuses (or thinks we should obsess on Michael Jackson or another white runaway bride) should know that they have the blood of tens thousands and thousands of men, women and children -- including more than 1,700 dead Americans -- on their hands.