Weapons of mass deception: we reveal that Bush-Blair transcript
A transcript of a crucial conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush just before the invasion of Iraq seems certain to be suppressed by the Coalition government, despite a ruling that it should be published.
But a leaked copy has made its way to our virtual office. Here’s is a transcript of the telephone conversation between the White House and Downing Street that took place on 12 March 2003, just a week before the invasion began:
GB: Hiya Tony. How’s it going with that pesky Parliament of yours? I thought you were a kinda president like me and didn’t have to do with all that democracy stuff. I hear some guys in your cabinet are even talking about something called international law when it comes to invading some other country like Iran, err Iraq.
TB: George, we’re nearly good to go. You know, we made our decision last year that Saddam had to go, come what may, no matter what the weapons inspectors reported, and I’m going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you on this one. Don’t worry about Parliament. The Tories love a good war and they’ll be voting with me. As for my cabinet, I’ve got it sorted.
GB: That French guy, what’s his name, Durac, BigMac, Chirac? I can’t remember.
TB: Jacques Chirac, Mr President.
GB: He’s sort of saying we need another resolution at the UN before we can go in and find them nukes and chemical weapons our boys say are out there somewhere in Iran. Then he says he’ll block it. So what the shit is he on about?
TB: George, don’t worry! We’ve had all the UN offices bugged for some time and he’s talking bullshit, err no offence George. Anyway, my legal team says we can do more or less what we want, you know, given the breaches of UN resolution Saddam is already guilty of. One guy was a bit iffy on the legality issue, but he’s since come round to my way of thinking and his advice is just what we wanted. Some in the cabinet questioned whether the weapons of mass destruction actually existed. So I got this guy in from intelligence to put the frighteners on them. So it’s sorted.
GB: That’s great Tone, Y’know, Don [Rumsfeld, defence secretary] was saying we didn’t need the Brits if push came to shove because all the firepower was ours. But I told him: “Don, I know that you think there are known knowns and there are known unknowns and that we don’t know what we don’t know. But these guys are our only allies. Let’s invite them to the show.”
TB: Great! Just one more thing, George.
GB: What’s that Tone?
TB: Can we leave Al Qaeda out of this one. I know you guys think that Saddam had a hand in 9.11 but not everyone is convinced. Why don’t we keep it to just WMDs?
GB: I can’t do that Tone. My people want justice for those who planned the attack on 9.11. They gotta be out there somewhere. We didn’t find them in Afghanistan so it seems like Iraq is the next place to look. W’dya think?
TB: If you say so, George.
GB: I gotta a great name for it: Operation Iraqi Freedom. Great, isn’t it?
TB: Wonderful, George.
GB: So when y’all ready?
TB: In a week, once I get it through Parliament we should just get on with it.
GB: What about a week today, March 19?
TB: That’s fine. History will show that when it mattered, we did the right thing.
GB: Too right, Tone. Too right. That’s it for now. Love to Cherie.
TB: Speak soon. Tell your boys I’m with them all the way.
17 July 2012