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This chapter charts the basis and evolution of a decision that is set to define the ten-year premiership of Tony Blair; the decision was to go to war in Iraq. It focuses on the institutional context within which the decision was taken, paying particular attention to the ongoing presidentialization of British politics and consequent downgrading of Cabinet as a decisionmaking body. This process created the political space in which the decision could be taken. James Piffner, in the chapter, discussed that the US political leaders ultimately misled the public by exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq. The Blair inner sanctum had to sell the war to the British public after determining British's support to the US in removing Saddam Hussein. The focal point of this effort would be the Downing Street's September 2002 publication of a dossier based on intelligence material detailing the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
This chapter considers both the reliability of UK intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and explanations for flaws in it. It assesses the effectiveness of the different forms of inquiry held into intelligence on Iraqi WMD in providing a full explanation of how the UK came to go to war on what Robin Cook famously termed a "false prospectus." The chapter focuses on the inquiries conducted by: the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), and the British government (the Butler Report). In its investigation, the ISC sought, "to examine whether the available intelligence, which informed the decision to invade Iraq, was adequate and properly assessed and whether it was accurately reflected in Government publications." The most thorough and revealing inquiry into the intelligence underpinning the UK government's case for war was that headed by Lord Butler.
This book examines the intellectual frameworks within which the case for war in Iraq has developed in the US and the UK. It analyzes the neoconservative roots of the decision to go to war. The book also analyzes the humanitarian intervention rationale that was developed in the context of the Kosovo campaign, Tony Blair's presentation of it, and the case of Iraq. It looks at the parallel processes through which the George Bush administration and Blair government constructed their cases for war, analyzing similarities and divergences in approach. The book considers the loci of the intelligence failure over Iraq, the lessons for the intelligence communities, and the degree to which the decision to go to war in Iraq represented a policy rather than an intelligence failure. It then complements the analyses of US prewar intelligence failures by analysing what post-war inquiries have revealed about the nature of the failure in the UK case. The book discusses the relationship between intelligence and policymaking. It looks at how US Congress dealt with intelligence before the war. The book also examines how the Bush administration tried to manage public opinion in support of its war policies. It then looks at the decisionmaking process of the Bush administration in the year before the war in Iraq. Finally, the book also provides excerpts from a number of speeches and documents which are key to understanding the nature of national security decisionmaking and intelligence failure.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the intellectual frameworks within which the case for war in Iraq was developed in the US and UK. It analyzes the neoconservative roots of the decision to go to war and traces the evolution of neoconservative thinking on foreign and security policy issues, highlighting the complexity of, and potential contradictions within, neoconservative thought. The book looks at the parallel processes through which President George H. W. Bush's administration and Tony Blair's government constructed their cases for war, analyzing similarities and divergences in the approach. It examines how the Bush administration tried to manage public opinion in support of its war policies. The book also looks at the decisionmaking process of the Bush administration in the year before the war in Iraq.