Exclusive Preview (Part 1): The Alastair Campbell Diaries – Extract: The Invasion Of Iraq And The ‘Sexed-Up’ Dossier.
The Decision To Invade Iraq.
The decision to invade Iraq has left the British public nonplussed for several years now. Why did the American government invade Iraq; and why did Britain collaborate? Why have none of the principal individuals responsible been brought to justice; or even merely made to explain their actions?
Well, we are currently blessed to have one of the key figures involved in presenting the case to the British public release his personal memoirs via a mainstream publishing house. Alastair Campbell’s journals covering the epoch of the invasion have shed new light on the decision-making process which led to Britain and America’s incursion into Iraq in 2003.
The following depiction is drawn exclusively from authoritative sources: Alastair Campbell’s personal diaries; the BBC journalist John Simpson’s The Wars Against Saddam; and the Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly’s Those Who Trespass. The reader may draw their own conclusions about the true nature of this troubling incident.
“18th March 2003
It was eleven o’clock at night. My office was replete with its customary odour of lilac and Crisco. I was sitting on top of my desk, gazing out of my window at a young lady tending to a little lap-dog by her ankles. She leaned over, beneath the streetlight – her bosom gleaming in its sallow brightness. ‘Just the ticket’ I mused aloud, nursing my aching temples.
Suddenly Tony burst through the door in tears – his face drawn; his limbs weary. He flaked out on the carpet before me, face down; and a dossier fell from his hand.
‘What is it dear?’ I asked.‘It’s nothing’ Tony gasped – rolling over onto his back, and staring up at the broken ceiling fan. He began to sob quietly. ‘It’s not important’.
‘No, really – tell me; it is important if it’s got you upset’.
‘Well…no, no. It doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t’, he wept; gesturing towards the sheaf of papers with his hand.
‘What is that?’ I asked.
‘My dossier on the need to invade Iraq. It explains in precise detail why we need to align ourselves with the Americans in their crusade against evildoers’.
‘But why are you so upset?’ I asked.
‘A journalist was mean to me. She said that most of what I had written was exaggerated or untrue; and I really don’t see how else I’m supposed to impress President Bush unless I go to war with him; and how else can he impress his father without emulating the first campaign against Saddam?’. It was a lot for me to take in. I didn’t know what to say at first; but then an idea struck me. ‘Well, why don’t you read what you’ve got so far?’ I said.
Tony rose to his knees. He cleared his throat, and assumed a mien of passionate honesty. His clenched fist held proudly against his breast. A consummate conviction politician. He began to read to me; his voice – compassionate, and candid – resounded convincingly throughout my small office.
‘Saddam Hussein is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability; and while America has been content to sell nerve-toxins to him in the past, it is now time to draw a line in the sand.
Radioactive knives have been smuggled into Iraq across its border with Afghanistan. Taliban operatives have secreted plutonium rods inside the colons of their camels, and have entered Baghdad via Tehran.
The invincible warlord Saddam Hussein is somewhere between six months to half-a-year from developing weapons of mass destruction; and he hasn’t even had the decency to purchase his ingredients from British or American manufacturers this time. Not only has he previously used such weapons against Iraqi civilians; but now he threatens people who really matter, like Israeli politicians, and the reputations of their American counterparts’.
Tony stopped, and looked up at me. I gave him a nod of encouragement; and bade him continue.
‘This programme is detailed, active and growing. The blueprints are disguised as colouring books; while the Ba’athist regime has several nuclear reactors operating from a fish-monger’s kiosk in down-town Kirkuk. Only the three-eyed mackerel betray the presence of fissile material; whilst Danish Blue – imported from Norway – is being used to mask the odour of radioactive decay.
The chemical weapons are disguised as vanilla essence – not extract; whilst Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons comprise not only swine-flu, but also e-coli. These can be delivered within 45 days by Royal Mail; or within three weeks by Federal Express, though it costs more. We know this is so, because the Hermit of the Euphrates overheard a friend of his neighbour mentioning something or another about it. In short, the weapons of mass destruction programme is literally up and running.
It has developed legs – and it is learning to use them. The program is in its infancy. Most infants learn to crawl within six months; and can walk inside a year.
But that is not all. Saddam Hussein’s most intimate advisors have also begun to import high-strength aluminium soda canisters as part of long-range ballistics programme. These stealth cans have been cleaned and polished; and are therefore primed to attack Britain. Moreover, the chief scientist behind these weapons of mass destruction has also employed a master chef to bake a lovely sponge cake with yellow icing. It takes no more than 45 minutes to prepare one; and it can deliver a payload of 17 grammes of napalm per three kilogramme’s of flour’.
Tony fell silent; and looked beseechingly at me. I could see he needed encouragement; but I must concede I was dissatisfied. ‘That’s very moving’ I said; ‘but it needs some work’. It was not convincing, despite Tony’s earnest performance; and despite my best efforts to seem frank, my doubt was evidently etched gravely upon my face. ‘It needs improvement, I know’ Tony pleaded; ‘I just don’t know how to give the recital substance’.
I thought for a moment, then took the dossier from him calmly. ‘Let’s make some very minor adjustments’ I said. ‘That’s all you need. Instead of ‘vanilla essence’, we’ll say ‘uranium enrichment programme’. And we won’t mention the Hermit of the Euphrates – we’ll cite British intelligence. Nobody will know the difference. And here in the endnotes – where you’ve said “information gained from the esteemed internet” – we’ll say “inside information from high-level Iraqi defectors”’.
Tony’s countenance brightened perceptibly; and yet his brows furrowed almost immediately.
‘What if the Conservatives oppose us?’
‘What if the Liberal Democrats do?’
‘Nobody will mind. Charles Kennedy drinks a crate of whisky twice a day. He’s no longer allowed near exposed flames. And who would trust a bluff alcoholic in a time of war or national crisis? It would never have happened in Churchill’s day’.
‘But it might alienate members of our own party, Alastair’.
‘Only the leftists, Tony – the ones who pretend to believe in international law. At least you’re honest about it. Just threaten to resign if your motion is defeated’
‘But what if I’m beholden to that?’
‘Don’t worry – your majority is far too large to be defeated’.
‘What about the public? You know they’re not keen on President Bush’.
‘Well nobody’s keen on them. They don’t matter’.
Tony mulled this over, before starting suddenly.
‘Yes, but there may be journalists who cause difficulties? What will the papers say? Surely they won’t accept dishonest sound-bites at face value? They’re not that slavish. What if some of them ask questions about the true intentions of U.S. policy? What if they mention the folly of imperialist dreams, or ask about oil concerns? Or mention the wider issues of weapons control and the justification for war?’.
‘Don’t worry about it’ I said.
‘But I do worry’ Tony rejoined. ‘What if they question the American’s supposed moral objection to Hussein’s brutalities, but their supposedly moral support of Israel’s violence?’
This was growing rapidly tiresome; but I didn’t say so to Tony’s face. It pained me to see him in such a state; just as it pains me to relay the scenario to you – the reader – of my ever personal and private journal. I could see Tony was worried about his reputation for passionate honesty and plain dealing; and so I sought to calm him.
‘Don’t worry’, I replied; ‘many journalists will simply repeat anything government spokesmen tell them. We’ll play on their weakness and their laziness. And if any of them insist on being even-handed, we’ll accuse them of being biased. If they criticise us, then I’ll threaten them directly over the phone. Or we can accuse them of being sympathetic towards Iraq. By the time the truth begins to grow fashionable, they’ll have been long discredited’.
‘We could say that they don’t respect President Bush’s intelligence’ Tony interjected.
‘Well, neither do I in all fairness’ I thought; but I didn’t say so. Instead, I reassured Tony manfully, placing my hand under his chin, and raising his gaze to meet mine.
‘Look, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here’ I said.
Tony blushed. ‘You’ll have to be strong, Alastair; for both of us’ he murmured.
‘You know I am, baby’ I replied, removing my watch.
‘Just tell me what to do, Alistair. Just let me know’.
‘I want you to relax, Tony. You need to calm down’.
‘But I can’t. I just can’t. What if the UN doesn’t pass a second resolution?’
‘The UN? That talking shop? If they disagree with us, we’ll call them anti-Semites.
And if they don’t immediately acquiesce, then they’ll lose all credibility among the American public anyway’.
Tony still looked pessimistic.
‘Hey, look at me’ I said. ‘You’re the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and don’t you forget it. Now try to picture yourself as President of America’.
‘But the French…’ Tony stammered. ‘You know what they’re like – they’re capable of anything’.
I thought back to my own time as an exchange student in the back streets of Paris; and Tony was quite correct. The French are capable of anything; and are more than willing to try. I thought of my education in the ways of the world there, while I stalked up and down the cheap rug the civil service had foisted off on me. And then it struck me. ‘We’ll rename French Dressing ‘British Dressing’ I said. A wave of relief swept through Tony’s body. He was ecstatic. As he exhaled, I heard the weight of the world leave his shoulders.
But Tony’s hands were still trembling; and his body remained a-quiver – primed to bolt from the room, straight back to his wife. I took the dossier from his grasp, and placed it on my desk, taking hold of Tony’s forearm in the process.
‘You worry too much’, I said; ‘I’ll take care of you – the only way I know how’.
Tony looked into my eyes. He knew his days of innocence were over.
‘Hold me Alastair. I’m…I’m…’
‘Scared? You needn’t be’.
And so the case for war would be made; but not just yet. First, I had a more pressing matter to attend to.
Tony was now wearing only brief white shorts. He had signalled his desire by removing his shirt and trousers, and by leaning back on the couch. He closed his eyes, concentrating on nothing but my tongue and lips. I gently teased him by licking the areas around his most sensitive erogenous zone. Then I slipped his shorts down his legs and – within seconds – my tongue was inside him, moving rapidly”.
And that is where the extract ends. Of course, the case for invasion involved more than just listing ingredients, cooking books, and bad sex writing. It involved misleading Parliament and ignoring the widespread opposition to the war amongst the British public. It also resulted in lucrative post-war careers for Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell. Yet, the extract provided above is indicative enough; and while I can’t prove that these events and Alastair Campbell’s tongue contributed directly to the decision to invade Iraq, the insurgency – or the carnage that followed – I certainly can’t prove that they did not.
 Dialogue is pure conjecture, however.
 Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam: p. 397.
 Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam: pp. 289-99.
 Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam: pp. 405-6.
 O’Reilly; Those Who Trespass: p. 153.