Tony Blair was seduced

LONDON (Reuters)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair was "seduced by the glamour of U.S. power" in the build-up to the Iraq war and repeatedly failed to influence U.S. policy, a former top British diplomat said in comments published on Monday.

Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador in Washington who was heavily involved in the pre-war planning, said Blair was reluctant to negotiate conditions with President George W. Bush over Britain's support for war.

Blair did not use his position as Washington's most important ally to delay the start of the war to give more time to plan for what to do after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Meyer said.

"Britain should have made its participation in any war dependent on a fully worked-out plan, agreed by both sides, for the rehabilitation of Iraq after Saddam's demise," Meyer wrote in memoirs serialized in two British newspapers on Monday.

"We may have been the junior partner in the enterprise, but the ace up our sleeve was that America did not want to go it alone."

Meyer, ambassador in Washington from 1997 to February 2003 but now retired from the diplomatic service, said Britain's failure to press for more planning was still being felt.

"Had Britain insisted, Iraq after Saddam might have avoided the violence that may yet prove fatal to the entire enterprise," he wrote.

He said in the Guardian and the Daily Mail that delaying the invasion from spring 2003 to the autumn would have given more time for planning for the aftermath and might have made it possible to agree on a second United Nations resolution.

"History's verdict looks likely to be that it was terminally flawed both in conception and execution," he wrote.

Meyer rejected the view that Blair blindly followed Bush, but said the British prime minister and his team were swayed by the power of the White House.

"Blair chose to take his stand ... from the highest moral ground," Meyer wrote. "It is the definitive riposte to 'Blair the Poodle', seduced though he and his team always appeared to be by the proximity and glamour of American power."

Meyer's criticisms come after a damaging week for Blair during which he faced a rebellion in parliament over planned anti-terrorism laws and saw a key ally resign.

Blair, who won his third consecutive election in May, faced widespread opposition from within his ruling Labour Party and the wider public over his support for the 2003 invasion.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.



Book Reviewer
His Excellency's memoir of his time as HMA to the Court of Saint Dubya is being serialised in The Times I believe.....LOTS more to come, I would think...
Methinks B Liars influence is a bit over-stated. US attitude was very gung-ho. If we went with them - glad to have you aboard. If we prevaricated too much - fcuk off we will do it all ourselves.
Seduced by the dark side of the force more like.
After WW2, UK and France both knew the game was up for them as independent great powers in their own right, but the elites of both countries liked grandstanding on the world stage too much to give it up, so both sought to continue to wield great power status, insofar as it was possible, by proxy. The French did this by 'building Europe' and the UK did it by clinging ever thighter to the coat-tails of the mighty USA.

The simple fact is, our relative power viz the USA has steadily lessened since the end of WW2 (relative populations 1945 - UK 50m, USA 150m; 2005 UK 60m USA 300m) and our geographical location is a lot less important to the US since the end of the Cold War. In the meantime the US is strengthening and updating its alliance with Japan...
But Mr Pipkin, pretty soon The USA is going to get Eclipsed by China.

Think back 5 years where was china then? Now look at her.
PM rejects Meyer Iraq war claims

Tony Blair has sought to brush aside claims by Britain's former ambassador to Washington that he repeatedly failed to use his influence with President George Bush to halt the rush to war with Iraq. Sir Christopher Meyer said Mr Blair could have been in a position to secure a delay to the conflict and help plan for post-war Iraq, avoiding much of the violence now damaging the country. But in his book DC Confidential - serialised in The Guardian and the Daily Mail - he said the Prime Minister and his entourage had been "seduced" by the "glamour" of US power and refused to take tough negotiating positions.

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