I searched the diaries and stories, but haven't seen this posted anywhere.
A piece running in the Guardian reveals that Blair and Bush met in January, 2003, two months before the commencement of war, and pretty much sealed a pact between them to prosecute the war against Iraq. Their conversation was apparently memorialized in a memo which is reported on and quoted from by Phillipe Sands, a professor of international law at University College, London. I have excerpted some choice tidbits from the Guardian piece after the flip.
What emerges is a gung ho Bush, ready to declare war on Iraq regardless of whether WMDs are found, and willing to use US fighter jets disguised as UN planes to provoke an attack from Hussein, which in itself is a violation of international law. The account of the Bush/Blair pact brings to mind those partnerships between the slightly psychotic guy who "just wants to see what it will be like to kill someone" and his sidekick who goes along with it, just because he's in awe of his buddy and doesn't want to say no.
But that aside, this article suggests that Blair was as willing to flout international law, as Bush was. So, looks like King George formed an alliance with the monarch-in-waiting over the pond. Somehow, having a prime minister in England act above the law brings the whole "would-be-emperor" image into a whole new focus.
Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was "solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war published today.
A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.
Mr Bush told the prime minister that he "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups". Mr Blair did not demur, according to the book.
The revelation that Mr Blair had supported the US president's plans to go to war with Iraq even in the absence of a second UN resolution contrasts with the assurances the prime minister gave parliament shortly after. On February 23 2003 - three weeks after his trip to Washington - Mr Blair told the Commons that the government was giving "Saddam one further final chance to disarm voluntarily".
He added: "Even now, today, we are offering Saddam the prospect of voluntary disarmament through the UN. I detest his regime - I hope most people do - but even now, he could save it by complying with the UN's demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully."
The meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Blair, attended by six close aides, came at a time of growing concern about the failure of any hard intelligence to back up claims that Saddam was producing weapons of mass destruction in breach of UN disarmament obligations. It took place a few days before the then US secretary Colin Powell made claims - since discredited - in a dramatic presentation at the UN about Iraq's weapons programme.
Earlier in January 2003, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, expressed his private concerns about the absence of a smoking gun in a private note to Mr Blair that month, according to the book. He said he hoped that the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, would come up with enough evidence to report a breach by Iraq of is its UN obligations.
The extent of concern in Washington at the time is reflected in the plan to send US planes over Iraq disguised in UN livery - itself a clear breach of international law.
On March 7 2003 Lord Goldsmith advised the prime minister that the Bush administration believed that a case could be made for an invasion without a second UN resolution. But he warned that Britain, if it went ahead, could be challenged in the international criminal court. Ten days later, he said a second resolution was not necessary.
Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat acting leader, said last night: "The fact that consideration was apparently given to using American military aircraft in UN colours in the hope of provoking Saddam Hussein is a graphic illustration of the rush to war. It would also appear to be the case that the diplomatic efforts in New York after the meeting of January 31 were simply going through the motions, with decision for military action already taken."
Sir Menzies continued: "The prime minister's offer of February 23 to Saddam Hussein was about as empty as it could get. He has a lot of explaining to do."
Ya think Sir Menzies watches the Daily Show? "He's got a lot of 'splainin' to do. . ."