I though this Telegraph article was interesting. Read for yourself and decide.
Blair 'restrained Bush from attacking Iraq after Sept 11'
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
Tony Blair played a key role in stopping President George W Bush from ordering military action against Iraq immediately after the September 11
attacks, and convincing him to take a longer diplomatic road to war, British sources disclosed yesterday.
The Prime Minister also urged caution and delay on at least two later occasions.
At one point America and Britain seriously considered the possibility of postponing the war until next September.
But officials said they decided on a spring campaign because of fears that prolonged uncertainty would undermine the global economy and destabilise
Arab countries ready to help.
British officials are unrepentant about trying to secure a UN resolution authorising war, saying it had provided months of political "cover" for the
military build-up. They admitted there had been blunders but were convinced that the diplomacy was foiled by a "strategic decision" taken by France
some time in late January to frustrate America's plans.
Senior officials familiar with the dialogue between Mr Blair and Mr Bush disclosed fascinating glimpses of the in-fighting within the Bush
administration, and of the Prime Minister's struggle to steer Washington away from the idea of going to war alone.
After the September 11 attacks, hardline members of the administration, such as Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, called for Iraq to be included
immediately as a target of the "war on terrorism".
But Mr Blair backed more cautious figures, such as Colin Powell, the secretary of state, who said that uprooting al-Qa'eda from Afghanistan should be
the first priority.
Days after saying that Britain stood "should to shoulder" with America, Mr Blair went to the United States to meet Mr Bush.
Officials said one of his main objectives was to ensure that the US administration did not take action against Iraq immediately.
"The final decision to concentrate on Afghanistan was not taken until Blair met Bush in Washington," said a senior British source.
The Bush administration turned its attention back to Iraq at the start of last year. Dick Cheney, the vice-president, visited Britain and Arab
countries in March but found little support for war on Iraq.
In April, the question of removing Saddam was supposed to be the main item on the agenda for the Crawford summit between Mr Blair and Mr Bush.
But the talks were overshadowed by the crisis over Israel's large-scale re-invasion of West Bank cities in response to a succession of Palestinian
The source said: "Between Crawford and the summer, we were telling the administration: 'You have the power to take action alone, but if you want
international support the best way is to go through the UN'. They made clear that they wanted support."
Despite British officials' confidence that they had convinced Mr Bush, Washington descended into internal war in August over whether to involve the
The issue was finally settled at the Camp David summit between Mr Bush and Mr Blair last September. A few days later, Mr Bush delivered his key
address to the UN General Assembly.
Another senior British official said: "There was tremendous in-fighting in Washington. The drafts of the speech went back and forth. I think there
were 28 versions before the final text was agreed.
"For us the key phrase was Bush's commitment to seeking a new UN resolution to disarm Iraq. We were only sure we had it 24 hours before the
"For some reason this was left out of the text on the teleprompter as Bush was reading it, and he had to improvise.
"He managed to ad-lib a sentence saying 'we will work with the UN Security Council for the necessary resolutions'. But instead of saying
'resolution' he said 'resolutions' in the plural. That's how we got stuck with the French idea of two resolutions."
At first the diplomatic route seemed to succeed. Security Council resolution 1441, giving Saddam a "final opportunity" to disarm or face "serious
consequences", was adopted by 15-0.
But the officials said the subsequent diplomacy was mishandled, not least by Mr Powell, who did not embark on the face-to-face diplomacy needed to win
international support. "Powell was so busy protecting his position in Washington that he did not travel. That was a mistake," said the source, "The
UN vote did not need to come out as badly as it did."