The Downing Street Memo, detailed a meeting held at Downing Street on 23 July 2002. It described a visit to Washington by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, and his conclusion that George W Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD and that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
According to the Observer Lord Butler saw this memo but refrained from investigating it in his inquiry into the lead up to the war. When the story broke in May/June 2005 there was a huge media hush in the US where it was barely even mentioned.
The intelligence fixing continued throughout the rest of the year and by January 2003 the neocons were itching to invade. At this time Bush sought conclusive backing from Blair, who despite initially suggesting waiting for the UN, “solidly” agreed to back the military option.
This was revealed earlier this year in a leaked secret memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003, nearly two months before the invasion. Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons program.
This was the same memo in which it was revealed that Bush and Blair considered staging a war provocation by painting a US spy plane in UN colors and flying it over Iraq, in the hope that Saddam would order it shot down.
In February 2003 Bush ordered Colin Powell in front of the UN to tell them some portable toilets were weapons factories, and the rest is history.
Once more we are further reminded of the long staging of this illegal, unjust and ongoing war that has brought chaos and dissolution to the entire planet. Last month a call to hold a new UK parliamentary inquiry into the Iraq war was defeated.