The Guardian is breaking a bombshell story that Tony Blair was meeting secretly with Bill Clinton in the runup to war. Clinton has already shown appalling disrespect for the traditions of his former office and the conduct expected from ex-presidents by openly criticizing Bush and questioning US foreign policy. For him to be conducting his own back channel foreign policy is truly beyond the pale. It is topped only by Blair's utter stupidity in trying to play both sides of the street. Now Blair has managed to fumble away every bit of the good will he accrued with the White House, which no doubt was the motive for this story.
"Blair's secret war meetings with Clinton
Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent
Friday April 25, 2003
Tony Blair took repeated secret advice from the former American president Bill Clinton on how to unlock the diplomatic impasse between Europe and the US in the build-up to the war on Iraq, the Guardian can reveal.
In the crucial weekend before to the final breakdown of diplomacy in March, Mr Clinton was a guest of Mr Blair's at Chequers where the pair discussed the crisis.
Mr Blair was battling to persuade the Chilean president Ricardo Lagos - a key figure on the security council - to back a second UN resolution setting a new deadline for Saddam to co-operate fully with the UN or face military action.
Three days after his Chequers meeting, Mr Clinton made a rare public appeal to his successor, George Bush, to give the UN weapons inspectors more time.
Mr Blair and Mr Clinton met at least three times to discuss the war, underlining the extent to which Mr Blair rates Mr Clinton's analytical powers, despite the bond of trust he has also formed with the Republican White House.
The two men met on the weekend of March 8, the weekend during which Clare Short, the international development secretary, exploded a grenade by accusing the prime minister of running a reckless policy towards Iraq.
In a speech in Washington three days later Mr Clinton said the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, should set the timetable for compliance, adding: "I hope the United States would agree to that amount of time, whatever it is."
Mr Clinton was careful to say that Mr Bush was sincere in his pursuit of UN support, but added: "The question is, do they want the support bad enough to let Mr Blix finish his work and give enough time to do that?"
At that point, Mr Blair had been pressing the US in private to extend a deadline by which Saddam would have to shown to be co-operating with the UN.
I hated him so much while in office, now I can't help but love the guy. This is the best news I have heard in a long time. I hope he attempts a non-violent overthrow, fuck it a violent one would be good too, of the current administration. Think of how much fun that would be!
p.s. I love it when presidents break the rules. Before long I'll be a big Bush fan too.