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"Signed in Blood" -- Tony Blair's Deal With Bush

Now we're getting somewhere, and it's only day three of Britain's inquiry into the origins of the Iraq war, a quaint little enterprise to strip away years of political folklore.  Britain's ambassador during the period leading up to the invasion places the date when Tony Blair signed up for the war project as a meeting at Bush's Crawford ranch in April 2002, almost a year in advance of the debut of "shock and awe", a time when we were still being reassured that war was not inevitable.  Sir Christopher Meyer's recollection, hedged in diplomatic locution, is this:

"I know what the Cabinet Office says were the results of the meeting but to this day I am not entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch."

He said the change in stance was evidenced in a speech given by the Prime Minister the following day.

"To the best of my knowledge, I might be wrong, this was the first time that Tony Blair had said in public 'regime change'," Sir Christopher said.

What he was trying to do was to draw the lessons of 9/11 and apply them to the situation in Iraq, which led - I think not inadvertently but deliberately - to a conflation of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein....

By the time the president and the Prime Minister met at Crawford, they weren't there to talk about containment or sharpening sanctions.

"There had been a sea change in US administration to which the British Government, from October onwards, had to adapt to and make up its mind where it stood on these various issues.

"It was a complete waste of time in these circumstances, if we were to be able to work with the Americans, to go to them and bang on about regime change and say we can't support it.

Any bets as to whether, the next time Dick Cheney pokes his head above ground to criticize the current administration, he'll be questioned about any of this?