The Law of Unintended Consequences: Clinton Email Inquiry Unearths Bush-Blair "Smoking Gun"

[DIGEST: The Daily Mail, The Washington Post, The Guardian]

A memo leaked to the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail on Sunday shows that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair supported military action in Iraq as early as 2002, a year before the British Parliament approved it.


The memo, which surfaced as a result of the Clinton email inquiry, was written to President Bush in advance of a 2002 meeting between Blair and Bush in Crawford, Texas, by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Powell stated that “Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary.”

Image via Glen Owen MOS political reporter and Daily Mail

In 2009, a British public investigation, referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry after its chairman Sir John Chilcot, was launched to examine Britain’s decision to become involved in Iraq, after family members of those killed in the conflict expressed concern that the British people had been lied to about the threat posed by Iraq. In testimony before the Inquiry, Blair denied giving any private assurances to President Bush that he would unequivocally support military action in Iraq. Many believe this memo contradicts those denials.

At the time of the Crawford meeting, Blair publicly stated that he was still “considering all the options.” In 2010, Blair reiterated his purported hesitancy to engage in military action, stating that “[t]he only commitment I gave, and gave openly, was a commitment to deal with Saddam . . . There was a general discussion of the possibility of going down the military route, but obviously we were arguing very much for that to be if the U.N. route failed.”

Blair’s testimony and public statements were in stark contrast to that of Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s Ambassador to the United States, who told the Chilcot Inquiry that his exclusion from meetings in Crawford kept him from knowing “what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch.”

Despite the assurances of Blair’s office, others believe the memo indicates a much larger cover up. Alex Salmond, a foreign affairs spokesman for the Scottish National Party, stated in an interview with The Guardian that “the net was now closing” around Blair. He continued, “The memo contradicts claims from Mr. Blair that all that time he had been seeking diplomatic ways to avoid an invasion. It also adds weight to the evidence . . . that the military timetable and preparation for invasion took precedence over any diplomacy and specifically over the timetable for the weapons inspectors led by Hans Blix.”

The emails shed a negative light not just on Prime Minister Blair, but on President Bush. The memo appears to contradict President Bush’s alleged determination to avoid war with Iraq. As late as March 8, 2003, he was reported as saying “[w]e are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq,” and in August 2010, President Bush again denied having any timetable to go to war with Iraq, stating that there was no “imminent war plan.” These statements are at odds with the memo, in which Secretary Powell states that “Blair continues to stand by you and the U.S. as we move forward on the war on terrorism and on Iraq.”

Tony Blair via Center for American Progress

In a twist of irony, the once-classified memo was one of a batch of emails on Hillary Clinton’s private server, which were released following a Freedom of Information request as part of an ongoing and apparently politically motivated investigation: It was recently revealed that the taxpayer-funded $4.5 million Benghazi investigation that led to the release of these emails was motivated by Republicans’ desire to hurt Clinton’s standing in the polls. It now appears the emails might damage former President Bush’s credibility and legacy.

In whatever light the memo is read, it is likely to put pressure on Chilcot to publish the results of the inquiry. Six years have elapsed since the inquiry launched, and no report has been published. Families of those killed in Iraq, desperate for answers, have threatened to go to court to compel the release. The report is expected to give insight into the timetable of decisions leading up to Britain’s involvement in the war.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Questions continue to be raised about the mental and physical health of President Donald Trump.

Slurred or rambling speech has been caught on camera at MAGA rallies and other presidential events.

Keep reading... Show less
Fox News

The House Judiciary Committee voted Friday morning to bring abuse of power and obstruction of Congress articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the House floor for a full vote.

The Democratic House is expected to vote in favor of the articles as well, officially impeaching Trump and putting him on trial in the Republican Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is already sparking concerns about the trial's fairness with comments he made Thursday night on far-Right Fox News host Sean Hannity's show.

Keep reading... Show less
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images // Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Bend Mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg got an awkward shoutout from President Donald Trump, who's nicknamed the candidate "Alfred E. Neuman" after the Mad Magazine character.

It happened at the President's recent rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Keep reading... Show less
Mark Wilson/Getty Images // DC Comics

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos..."

Heath Ledger's Joker says this in 2008's The Dark Knight but it could also apply to the presidency of Donald Trump. From defying subpoenas, introducing sweeping policy changes to his own staff through tweets, fostering a revolving-door administration, abruptly deserting allies, and, of course, the ceaseless bullying.

The President and the Clown Prince of Crime have both been agents of some degree of chaos.

So it may not come as a surprise that the Joker joins the campaign of a Trump-like character in the latest issue of Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child.

Keep reading... Show less
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote in favor of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday, teeing up a full House vote for next week.

The move comes after weeks of hearings with Republicans shouting in defense of the President and against the efforts to hold him accountable for soliciting foreign assistance in an election.

Keep reading... Show less
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has some experience with impeachment. While her husband Bill was President, the Independent Counsel investigation led by Ken Starr probed every aspect of her life before and during her time in the White House as well as her husbands.

While Starr failed to find any criminal wrongdoing by the First Lady, he did after his four year investigation discover her husband's extramarital affair with a White House intern.

Keep reading... Show less