Sunday Times– Blair hit by new leak of secret war plan: A SECRET document from the heart of government reveals today that Tony Blair privately committed Britain to war with Iraq and then set out to lure Saddam Hussein into providing the legal justification… The document reveals Blair backed ‘regime change’ by force from the outset, despite warnings from Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, that such action could be illegal… It records a meeting in July 2002, attended by military and intelligence chiefs, at which Blair discussed military options having already committed himself to supporting President George Bush’s plans for ousting Saddam.
‘If the political context were right, people would support regime change,’ said Blair. He added that the key issues were ‘whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan space to work’.
The political strategy proved to be arguing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed such a threat that military action had to be taken. However, at the July meeting Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said the case for war was ‘thin’ as ‘Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran’. Straw suggested they should ‘work up’ an ultimatum about weapons inspectors that would ‘help with the legal justification’. Blair is recorded as saying that ‘it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors’. A separate secret briefing for the meeting said Britain and America had to ‘create’ conditions to justify a war.
Sunday’s leaked document proves what many suspected all along. Tony Blair and Jack Straw had already decided to go to war with Iraq in July 2002, even while they were publicly insisting that “no decision has yet been taken”. Knowing that the case for war was “thin” they then set about concocting a phoney justification, based around nonexistent WMD.