This is explosive news for both sides of the Atlantic. Will it matter?
The Sunday Times has printed secret minutes of a top-level UK Cabinet meeting held in July 2002 to discuss Iraq, nine months before the invasion. The minutes confirm the widespread perception that Blair fell in line with a Bush White House that was already pre-determined on invasion:
Britain's spy chief, Sir Richard Dearlove, fresh from a trip to Washington, had concluded that war was "inevitable" because "Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action", and "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy".And adding to the drama, someone seems to have slipped a few whiskeys to the man who led Britain's armed forces into Iraq, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the former Chief of the Defence Staff:
The minutes record that Mr Blair ordered his chief of defence staff, Sir Michael Boyce, to present him with war plans later that week.
'If my soldiers went to jail and I did, some other people would go with me,' said Boyce.Will these explosive revelations make a difference at this late stage in the British election? Here are today's figures from Ladbrokes:
In his most detailed explanation yet of why he demanded an unequivocal assurance from lawyers that the war was legal, he said: 'I wanted to make sure that we had this anchor which has been signed by the government law officer ...
'It may not stop us from being charged, but, by God, it would make sure other people were brought into the frame as well.'
Pressed by The Observer on whether he meant the Prime Minister and the Attorney General, Boyce replied: 'Too bloody right.'
Liberal Democrats 151.00
Blair's sad re-election strategy is based on the same old fear tactics that won both Bush and John Howard re-election:
In other words, vote for us because there is no alternative.
"There will be people who will feel very, very strongly over Iraq. But if they vote Liberal Democrat in a seat where the Conservatives are second, it is not policy on Iraq that will change - it's the policy on the economy, on the health service, on schools, on the minimum wage."
If you are a British voter, believe that at your peril. Personally, having suffered through years of corrupt Tory government when I was living in England Scotland and Wales, I think there is only one viable choice this time around and that is the Liberal Democrats. But that's probably not going to happen unless the latest revelations shake a few million people out of their slumber.
My advice: just imagine what will happen if you re-elect Blair and let him get away with such lies. At least the US and Australian voters can claim they were ignorant (even if it was by choice).
Meanwhile, reaction to Bush's press conference has not been positive. MSNBC says Bush's White House is already becoming irrelevant just 100 days after re-election:
Members of Congress have long complained about the Bushies' imperial attitude. Now, some suggest the White House team — headed by a former Dick Cheney aide Candi Wolff — may be too far outside the loop of power. It takes a call from the Committee That Runs the World — Karl Rove and Cheney — to lobby Congress effectively.Hello, America! Is anyone listening??!?