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  • I think it's clear all along that Bush felt for the strategic good of the US, he needed a strong ally producing a lot of oil cheaply, to keep world and hence US prices down over the next decade. Saudi is wobbly, and could topple at any moment, Iran is impossible because of recent history, which leaves Iraq.

    Iraq is good, there are outstanding UN violations, the regime is nasty, unpopular in the region, and worth removing, and best of all there is a huge supply of oil in the country that's not flowing onto

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
    • This begs the question of what Blair expected to get out of this. Once he turned into Bush's loyal sidekick, I don't think he could back down, but I am hard-pressed to come up with any convincing reason why he would stake his political reputation on a pre-emptive attack. I suppose if he thought that Iraq actually had those weapons, he might have looked like a hero, but Britain was busy cribbing notes from students and overruling their own intel, so I'd be suprised if Blair was doing more than betting (unl

      • Personally I think Blair has his own short (hidden) personal agenda. Normally on most issues he bends to public opinion, saying one thing to one group and the oposite to another. In many ways he is the charismatic "president" not unlike Clinton, who ends up doing nothing...

        I think it's quite clear that British military intelligence, like that of the US thought that Iraq posed no threat, though there was always the outide chance of somthing fishy going on. Blair either directly over emphasised, or indirectly made others over emphasise the risk, and used this to convince more rational members of his own government. The WMD were his only public justification.

        Either he is a total idiot, or he had a plan but he misjudged the situation totally, and plan fell to pieces. I think he thought, he could be the US-EU bridge, and lead a vialiant multi-national coalition, with the US, to liberate a down-trodden country, and free up a lot of people and oil. He would be a hero in the US for being a loyal ally, and popular in Europe for forging a pan-European alliance, and popular in the Arab world for liberating Iraq.

        He thoough this because:

        • Original Kuwait war went well, and was an international sucess.
        • The UK and France had recently deepened military ties.
        • Good evidence of WMD, and brutality in Iraq
        • Sucessful European operations in Kosovo
        • UK doesn't suffer from Vietnam syndrome like the US does/did

        The problems are:

        • Europeans don't trust imperialistic US, and Bush in particular
        • WMD evidence thin
        • 11 September nothing to do with Iraq, and we all know it
        • Most European countries have significant Arab population, and scared of internal problems
        • Most Europeans think Palestine needs liberating first from tyranny
        • We can't afford a war, have you looked at the economy recently?

        Once Blair rolled the dice he was stuck, and he had to go through with things, even though our armed forces were ill-prepared. What is strange is that he didn't wriggle out of it like he has in the past when his plans failed - that would be more typical behaviour. What did Bush promise him?

        -- "It's not magic, it's work..."