State Department Acts to Block Iraq War Bush-Blair Communications from British Report

Monday, November 18, 2013
Tony Blair and George W. Bush (AP Photo)

A British inquiry into how the government of the United Kingdom decided to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 is being held up by officials in the White House and the U.S. State Department, which have refused to allow the publication of secret documents revealing conversations between former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.


A group consisting of British diplomats, politicians and academics has spent four years—at a cost of nearly $13 million—reviewing Britain’s choice to attack Iraq. But the inquiry’s leader, Sir John Chilcot, has been unable to publish its final report because of the British government’s refusal—at the behest of American officials—to disclose pre- and post-war communications between the White House and the Prime Minster’s Office.


“Without permission from the US government, [Prime Minister] David Cameron faces the politically embarrassing situation of having to block evidence, on Washington’s orders, from being included in the report of an expensive and lengthy British inquiry,” wrote James Cusick of The Independent.


The Independent reported earlier this year “that early drafts of the report challenged the official version of events leading up to the Iraq war,” Cusick wrote.


A senior diplomatic source told the newspaper that the documents in question are not Britain’s “property to disclose” and that “Chilcot, or anyone in London, does not decide what documents relating to a US President are published.”


Some British politicians have expressed outrage over the report’s delay and the withholding of the documents.


Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign-affairs spokesman and a critic of the war, called the stalling “intolerable,” adding: “The full story need[s] to be told.”


Chilcot, a former diplomat who previously investigated intelligence on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction as part of the Butler Review, has worked on the review with Sir Roderic Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia; Sir Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies at King’s College London; and Baroness Prashar, a former member of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

US Blocks Publication of Chilcot’s Report on How Britain Went to War with Iraq (by James Cusick, The Independent)

Bush Invaded Iraq on a Mission from God (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Should George W. Bush be Tried for War Crimes? (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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