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Blair's War

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3358-9
200 pages
May 2004, Polity
Blair
Tony Blair and George Bush may have won the war in Iraq, but they are losing the peace at home. How did Blair come to support the US-led invasion of Iraq? Why did he risk taking Britain into a conflict which so imperilled his premiership? Was he justified in doing so?

These are just some of the questions which David Coates and Joel Krieger seek to answer in Blair’s War – the most authoritative and complete record of the conflict to date. Written by two of the most experienced and perceptive observers of British politics and New Labour, the book explains how his stalwart commitment to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with America after 9/11 trapped Blair in a tragic logic that took the UK to war in Iraq. It reveals how Blair was bushwhacked into exaggerating the Iraqi threat, seduced away from New Labour’s ethical foreign policy, and drawn into Bush’s imperial campaign. Blair’s War blows a hole through each of the justifications for war and offers a detailed, original and compelling set of proposals to return the UK to an ethical foreign policy.

With an exquisite sense of the unfolding drama and an eye for detail, the authors develop the arguments for and against the war and, with unerring fairness, test each argument against the record of what was known, what was suspected, and what was misrepresented. The book provides a unique perspective on this latest unsettling turn in the ‘special relationship’, and is essential reading for voters on both sides of the Atlantic, who must soon determine the political fates of both the President and Prime Minister.

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Acknowledgements.

1: The Problem of Blair’s War.

PART 1: HOW THE WAR HAPPENED.

2: New Labour: A Leading Force for Good in the World?.

3: The American Call to Arms.

4: Answering the Call.

PART 2: WHY THE WAR HAPPENED.

5: The Justifications for War.

6: Motives and World Views.

PART 3: THE ALTERNATIVE TO WAR.

7: Reflections and Lessons.

8: Towards an Ethical Foreign Policy.

Notes.

Index.

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David Coates is Worrell Professor of Anglo-American Studies at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

Joel Krieger is Norma Wilentz Hess Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, Massachusetts.

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  • Written by two of the most experienced and perceptive observers of British politics and New Labour, Blair’s War offers the most authoritative and complete record of the Iraq conflict to date.

  • The book explains how the UK’s stalwart commitment to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with America after 9/11 trapped Blair in a tragic logic that took the UK to war in Iraq.

  • It is a comprehensive handbook for anyone trying to make sense the claims and counter-claims now circulating on the origins of the war and its aftermath, and it clearly sets out the principles that should have guided Blair in this crisis, and must guide Labour Governments in similar crises to come.

  • Blair’s War provides a unique perspective on this latest unsettling turn in the "special relationship", and is essential reading for voters on both sides of the Atlantic who must soon determine the political fates of both the president and prime minister.
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"Coates and Krieger provide a careful analysis of why Blair was wrong to support the US war in Iraq. They conclude that he has severely undermined the efforts of the '97 government to act as a force for good in the world. But they do not stop there. They go on to outline how the UK could get back to an ethical foreign policy and the word move forward following 11 September 2001 and the Iraq war. This is an invaluable contribution to an urgent debate."

Clare Short, MP

"This fine book describes how the formidable tag-team of Tony Blair and George Bush manipulated intelligence and rationales to gain support for their imperial adventure in Iraq. It is a depressing and disturbing story told well."

John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago

"Blair’s War offers a detailed analysis of the circumstances in which the Neo-Conservatives in America persuaded President Bush to launch a new imperialist crusade and of how Mr Blair went along with it, so losing his credibility with the British people by presenting the case for war in a way that visibly falsified the facts. This is a book for all those who care about the world, the UN and peace."

Tony Benn

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