Sir David Manning, one of former prime minister Tony Blair’s key foreign policy advisers, told a committee that George Bush and Blair had a secret meeting in Texas at which plans for an invasion of Iraq were discussed months before the actual invasion took place. The prime minister ordered Army chiefs to draw up plans for the invasion nine months before action in Iraq. Even as he spoke, Blair told the meeting that he never bullied Lord Goldsmith, his top legal adviser, who had complained any attempt to overthrow an existing government in order to have a regime change was illegal. According to Blair, leaders have a “responsibility to make decisions” and some are difficult. Of course, no one denies making decisions is a responsibility of a prime minister, but more importantly, so is acting according to the laws of his nation.
Manning argues Britain’s participation in the invasion was not militarily necessary, but Blair wanted to please his American friend even if it came at the price of violating UK laws. The tragedy is that Americans thought it would be a quick war, Saddam would be overthrown and then they could head home to plaudits from the right wing press and seek to gain the support of their nation for the great “triumph.” Such are the delusions of the ignorant who seek war, but know little about how to fight a war, let alone gain a successful peace.