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Lets's talk about democracy
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Monday, 2 May 2005
War is our last option. This is the moment of truth.

The Times-online has published two articles on evidence,leaked memos, from nine months before the war that shows Tony Blair had already made up his mind to go along with the Americans in their invasion of Iraq. Despite Bush saying "war is not my first choice, it's my last choice," he had already made up his mind to go to war and was looking for a political justification.

Even before 9-11 according to former treasury secretary Paul O'Neil, who with Ron Suskind, wrote that Bush was determined to go to war with Iraq in Feb. 2001 but was just trying find an excuse. [Sound familiar?]

Forbes:

"There are memos," Ron Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'

Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said."

So, these memos coming out in England should inform the debate here on the reasons we're stuck forever in Iraq. But they won't, we don't care.

The Times:

"THE HEAD of MI6 told Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being “fixed” by the Americans to suit the policy, according to a BBC documentary [Shown in March] that will reignite its battle with the government.

Sir Richard Dearlove, head of MI6, briefed Blair and a select group of ministers on America’s determination to press ahead with the war nine months before hostilities began.

After attending a briefing in Washington, he told the meeting that war was “inevitable”. Dearlove said “the facts and intelligence” were being “fixed round the policy” by George W Bush’s administration.

... {in the memo it records} a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bush’s plans for ousting Saddam.

“If the political context were right, people would support regime change,” said Blair...at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was “thin” as “Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran”.

Straw suggested they should “work up” an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would “help with the legal justification”. Blair is recorded as saying that “it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors”.

The memo says: “There is more work to ensure that the figures are accurate and consistent with the US. But even the best survey of Iraq’s WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years.”

A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to create” conditions to justify a war.

The minutes show Goldsmith [Britsh AG] warned Blair eight months before war started on March 19, 2003 that finding legal justification would be “difficult”.

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff, demanded unequivocal written confirmation.

Boyce was never shown Goldsmith’s more equivocal advice to Blair of March 7, 2003 and says today ministers failed to give him protection from prosecution at the International Criminal Court.

“I have always been troubled by the ICC,” he says, adding that if British servicemen are put on trial, ministers should be “brought into the frame as well”. Asked if that should include Blair and Goldsmith, he tells The Observer: “Too bloody right.”

Speaking of legal matters and trials for war crimes:

The Scotsman

"Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, warned Mr Blair he could not bypass the United Nations simply because France threatened to veto a move to war. A court "might well conclude" that war was illegal.

Yet there was no hint of this in the summary of the advice shown to the Cabinet and published - exposing Mr Blair to the charge that he misled both parliament and the public.

The extracts released last night were from the 13-page legal memo shown to Mr Blair but never seen by the Cabinet - in an apparent breach of official code. At the time of its preparation, the UN had passed Resolution 1441 warning Saddam Hussein to disarm - but had not authorized the use of force.

The Prime Minister wanted to know whether it was legal to invade Iraq without a second UN resolution...The leaked document shows Lord Goldsmith warning the legal effect of Resolution 1441 was "unclear". Indeed, he said the "safest legal course" was to seek the second UN resolution which never emerged."

Hence the Admiral's worries about the ICC.

The Brits were so worried about this and a second resolution that Rummy felt it necessary to step in to put some steel in their backbones!

Common' limeys, put up or shut up!

March 13 2003
The Age:

"US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created a furore when he suggested that Britain might pull out of any attack on Iraq, indicating the diplomatic disarray in Washington over a second Security Council resolution.

Mr Rumsfeld's gaffe yesterday came as President George Bush stumbled in his bid for United Nations Security Council support for a war on Iraq.

After a meeting with British defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon, Mr Rumsfeld initially indicated that British forces might not participate in the war if the Security Council failed to pass a second resolution opening the way for military action.

"To the extent they are able to participate in the event that the President decides to use force, that would obviously be welcomed," Mr Rumsfeld said. "To the extent they're not, there are work-around and they would not be involved, at least in that phase."

The moment of truth.

Thus Tony Blair at the Azores conference. Still desperately trying to get some legal cover for the war, even though, by the 17th of March 2003 he had got his AG to "change his mind" of whether the war was legal or not. Jack Straw said "Any action we are involved in or in the future will be involved in will be fully consistent with our obligations under international law." Okay, you keep telling your self that.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:12 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005 12:56 PM EDT
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