YESTERDAY it was alleged that ex-Prime Minister Blair made representations to the Prime Minister concerning the ‘independent inquiry’ into the war in Iraq, which resulted in Brown’s attempt to hold it in private.
These representations were made through other ministers, who relayed Blair’s view to the Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell, who then told Brown that the proposed ‘independent inquiry’ into the Iraq war must be heard in private.
This has not been denied by Downing Street. Its spokesman stated, ‘We have always been clear that we consulted a number of people before announcing the commencement of the inquiry, including former government figures. We are not going to get into the nature of those discussions.’
There is no doubt that amongst the most important of these consultations was with Blair, plus a number of ministers who were on the front line of making sure that there was a war with Iraq.
Among these is Geoff Hoon, the then-Defence Minister, Jack Straw who took the place of Robin Cook as foreign secretary, after Cook refused to support the war, and the Attorney General, Goldsmith, whose legal ruling on the war, whether it was legal or not, was kept secret for years.
No wonder Blair and his pals are running scared at the thought of a public inquiry as opposed to another privately held whitewash.
It is well known that the war was planned at a number of meetings between President Bush and Premier Blair. In at least one of these, actions to provoke Iraq into taking military action were discussed.
Blair knew that Bush was determined to go to war with Iraq, and, in fact, he had personally assured Bush of 100 per cent British support for the venture, without consulting parliament.
Yesterday, the Observer revealed its sighting of a document which records Bush telling Blair that the US had drawn up a provocative plan ‘to fly U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, painted in UN colours, over Iraq with fighter cover’. Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes, he would put Iraq in breach of UN resolutions and legitimise military action. This is how desperate and determined Bush and Blair were to go to war.
Blair did more than his bit for Bush. There was the dodgy dossier which claimed that Iraq had wmds, and the means of delivery, with an ability to hit British troops in Cyprus, on just 45 minutes’ notice.
This was a lie.
Then there was the British-manufactured lie that the then-US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, used at the UN Security Council, and which completely discredited him.
This was that Saddam’s agents had purchased uranium for making nuclear bombs from Central Africa.
This was a lie.
Then there was the method used to defend these lies. Namely the pursuit of the whistleblowing, weapons expert, Doctor David Kelly who exposed the lies of the dodgy dossier.
He was identified, and harassed and was then found dead outside Oxford.
Bush and Blair were determined to go to war with Iraq, no matter what.
They still say that the destruction of Iraq, the smashing of its infrastructure, the killing of over one million Iraqis, and the reduction of four million Iraqis to refugees and the rest to paupers, the wrecking of its health and education services, was a price well worth paying for getting rid of Iraq’s legal government led by Saddam Hussein.
Britain’s workers must insist there be a 100 per cent public inquiry with nothing hidden.
The end result must be the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to try Blair and the cabal that was responsible for the March 2003 attack on Iraq.