Revealed: what Bush and Blair said in that phone call
Another flurry in the anti-war dovecot over the suggestion that Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, might exercise the Government’s veto over the publication of a partial transcript of the telephone conversation between George Bush and Tony Blair on 12 March 2003, eight days before the invasion of Iraq.
This is now a big deal to the dwindling number of conspiracy theorists still seeking the hidden “real” reason why the UK joined the US in military action. Respect, therefore, to Andrew Mason at the Iraq Inquiry Digest, for obtaining and publishing on the internet the secret note of that phone call.
As he points out, there is a detailed account of the call in the fourth volume of Alastair Campbell’s diaries, Burden of Power:
Bush said when do you anticipate a vote? TB said we had pencilled in next Tuesday. Bush: “Erm.” Long pause. TB: “You want to go on the Monday?” Correct. TB: “My military have given me formal advice re the full moon.” It’s not a problem, said Bush. “What – are they taking away the Moon?” TB said he would have to check it out. There was a clear tension between Bush wanting sooner and TB wanting later.
I do like the bit where Tony Blair wonders aloud whether the Pentagon has developed a Doctor-Who-type device for moving the Moon.
TB said there was a danger the Tories would see this as their chance to get rid of him … Bush said they would make it clear to the Tories that if they moved to get rid of TB “we will get rid of them”. He said he wouldn’t speak to “Iain Duncan Baker” himself – TB didn’t correct him – “but he’ll know my message”.
Anyway, I have explained before why Grieve would be right to insist that the very partial transcript should remain confidential, and why, if it were published, it would probably contain much less information than Campbell’s account and thus set the antis off on a further goose chase about secrets being withheld.
Photograph: Getty ImagesTagged in: chilcot, foi, iraq inquiry, iraq war
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