By David Swanson
The Guardian is reporting that Bush told Blair “that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of ‘flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours’. Mr Bush added: ‘If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]’.”
This came out in a memo obtained by Phillipe Sands, QC, for the new edition of his book “Lawless World.” The memo is apparently the minutes of a two-hour meeting between Bush and Blair (and possibly the cast of Monty Python) which took place at the White House on January 31, 2003 – close to two months before the “decision” to go to war.
The revelation that the Guardian has focused on, however, is this one. The memo shows, according to the Guardian, “that Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme. Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was ‘solidly’ behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion’s legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution.”
So, the exits are closing all around Tony, and the piles of incriminating poodle dung are piling up in the living room.
On this side of the water, this story may not even be the war crime of the week, though, since it remains to be seen whether the US media will cover it. You’d think they would do so just for the level of outlandish stupidity – just for the comic value. But, let’s not hold our breath.
We now have the British media revealing to us citizens of the US democracy not just the internal workings of 10 Downing Street, but also the goings on at 1700 Pennsylvania. This memo clearly contains revelations at least as grievously incriminating as would the memo alleged to show that Bush wanted to bomb al Jazeera. The British government’s attempt to crack down on leaks has not shut off all the taps.
There is the remote possibility, of course, that this latest memo came from a US source. If so, the shame of the US media for missing the scoop should be all the greater.
A movement is gaining steam to impeach Blair for his role in our president’s illegal war. Our brothers and sisters in the anti-war movement in the UK are always three steps ahead of us.
What will we do in the United States if the leaders of the coalition of the willing go down one by one? What will we do if evidence emerges that our government lied to their governments? When will the nation most responsible for this humiliating disaster take up some accountability? When will we cease to be a global laughingstock and villain? When will someone in charge find even the ordinary decency to do what the police chief did after arresting Cindy Sheehan for wearing a shirt – apologize?