An extremely important story has come and gone in a flash, almost unnoticed, like so many important stories. It revealed that President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had agreed to invade Iraq long before the first bombs fell on the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.
The story is important because it adds to our understanding of the essentially criminal disinformation put out to convince Americans, Britons and the world that war was unavoidable.
We’d all been told that Bush and Blair only acted after exhaustive efforts to determine whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) — and that in any case their focus was on addressing that threat through all possible diplomatic options. In fact, as a leaked White House memo now shows, the UK was committed to backing the US-led invasion almost a year before the war started in March 2003.
The juiciest material in the memo was, of course, redacted, but even what remains is very telling: “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary. He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success.”
What kind of “regional success” might these two Western leaders be after?
And what would determining that the threat Saddam posed was “real” have to do with “more regional success”?
Well, that success had nothing to do with eliminating WMDs (which turned out to be non-existent). It had everything to do with securing a wealth of natural resources.
As WhoWhatWhy previously reported, former NATO commander General Wesley Clark has revealed that the Pentagon had a plan dating back even before the attacks of September 11, 2001, to invade seven different countries in the region. According to Clark, it was “all about oil.” (Vice President Dick Cheney, chairing a secret energy task force, tried mightily to pin blame for 9/11 on Iraq — and though there was no truth to that claim, ended up persuading a fair chunk of the American public otherwise.)
THE SELF-DEALING THAT EXPLAINS IRAQ
Putting one and one together, now we know why Blair and Bush were so united in their desire to remove Saddam Hussein at any cost. The Iraq invasion was part of a larger scheme to re-draw the map of the Middle East and guarantee Western control of that region’s vast petroleum reserves for another generation and more. And little-known social and personal connections further bound the two men together — connections that ended up benefiting the business interests of a longtime mutual friend.
MAKE WAR, BECOME POPULAR
There were other benefits for the two men. As we reported earlier, Bush confided to a colleague in 1999 that if he became president, one of his main objectives would be to invade Iraq. He said a president needed a war in order to rally the American people, and get the high poll ratings necessary to drive a domestic agenda.
Tony Blair seems to have had the same idea. As former Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said,
“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…. And in return for what? For George Bush pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves.”