The nuke option

In some ways, endlessly debating the reasons behind the Iraq war gets us nowhere. The war happened, for reasons that were utterly spurious and the main participants should be charged with war crimes. Enough said.

And yet when new information such as this surfaces, words almost fail:

Tony Blair feared George Bush would “nuke the s**t” out of Afghanistan in revenge for 9/11, a sensational documentary will claim this week.

Giving the inside story on the war, former British ambassador to the US Chris Meyer reveals: “Blair’s real concern was that there would be quote unquote ‘a kneejerk reaction’ by the Americans… they would go thundering off and nuke the s**t out of the place without thinking straight.”

Nuclear strikes would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths – and sparked a wave of al-Qaeda attacks.

In Channel 4’s candid two-part documentary The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair, Mr Meyer claims the threat explains why the Prime Minister vowed to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Bush over the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan – to thwart his allguns blazing battle plan.

But it meant sending British troops to Iraq knowing Washington had NOT made preparations for its post-war reconstruction.

Mr Blair’s ally Peter Mandelson tells award-winning documentary – maker Andrew Rawnsley: “Obviously more attention should have been paid to what happened after, to the planning and what we would do once Saddam had been toppled. But I remember him saying at the time, ‘Look, you know, I can’t do everything. That’s chiefly America’s responsibility, not ours’.”

One can only imagine what the Australian Prime Minister John Howard thought about post-war planning. For him, and a host of other US client states, saying “no” to Washington was simply unthinkable. After all, the lives of ordinary Iraqis never entered their heads.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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