The gist of the problem with Blair and Bush
Terrific column by Hugo Young pointing out that Blair effectively surrendered sovereignty when he decided that the UK should throw in its lot with the US. Quote:
“Intelligence, in other words, has become a flexible friend, a political instrument. Its chief agent, John Scarlett, moreover, has become a crony of No 10 rather than a distant and detached truth-teller. Among the many corruptions this war has brought about, we can therefore say, is the degradation of what was once advertised, and globally agreed, to be a jewel in the Whitehall apparatus.
This happened for a prior reason, which is not new but deserves frequent repetition. The intelligence, culminating in the dossier, had to fit a prior decision. This has been the great over-arching fact about the war that Blair will never admit but cannot convincingly deny. He was committed to war months before he said he was. Of course, he wanted it buttered up. He wanted a UN sanction. He fought might and main to push Bush in that direction. But he was prepared to go to war without it.
He needed this skewed intelligence to make the case, and he didn’t really mind what he had to say to get it. He had made his commitment to Bush, stating among other extraordinary things that it was Britain’s national task to prevent the US being isolated. But he was also in thrall to the mystic chords of history. He could not contemplate breaking free of ties and rituals that began with Churchill, and that both Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence – the Foreign Office is somewhat wiser – have cultivated, out of fear and expectation, for decades.”