The Lies That Led Us Into Iraq Were Bigger And Earlier Than We Thought

One of the challenges of the extremism of the modern Republican Party is that it’s easy to forget just how horrific the George W. Bush presidency was. So much so that it’s beyond appalling that somehow the prospect of a Jeb Bush administration is supposed to be the moderate choice in the Republican Party, despite the fact that Jeb Bush continues to defend every bit of his brother’s administration and stock his advisers with the same set of hawkish neoconservatives. It (again) takes the likes of Donald Trump to send a paroxysm of truth into the shivering spine of the GOP, because Democrats are unfortunately unwilling to do so.

But maybe today’s news will provide the needed impetus to call out the horror of lies and bloodlust that marked the Bush presidency: it appears that Bush and then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair planned out the invasion of Iraq a year in advance of its beginning:

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 sensational leak shows that Blair 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 damning memo, from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President George Bush, was written on March 28, 2002, a week before Bush’s famous summit with Blair at his Crawford ranch in Texas. In it, Powell tells Bush that Blair ‘will be with us’ on military action. Powell assures the President: ‘The UK will follow our lead’.

And it gets worse:

A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used ‘spies’ in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public opinion in favour of the war.
The documents, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, are part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal. Former Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘The memos prove in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along: Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a frontman for American foreign policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the British Cabinet.

In a just world there would be criminal investigations for this. Constitutional scholars would know better than I what repercussions might legitimately arise from this knowledge, but the moral hazard will be tremendous if there are no consequences.

As a side note, one wonders if Republicans might be rethinking their partisan obsession with the Clinton “email scandal.” Between this and the revelations about the Benghazi “investigation,” the news has not been good for them lately.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.