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“There was no equivocation in his voice,” Bush recalled. Tony Blair never did.”There was an element of political calculation in Blair’s stance.
“The conversation helped cement the closest friendship I would form with any foreign leader. The Conservative Party was days away from electing a new leader, Iain Duncan Smith.
The other was Saddam Hussein, who still ruled Iraq.
Yet when he was questioned by MPs in Parliament on 14 September, and a Labour maverick named Paul Marsden mentioned that Nato might bomb countries whose governments were hostile to the US, Blair exhorted MPs to not pay attention to “the wilder pieces of speculation.”The speculation was less wild than he implied.
The special relationship Sensibly, Bush decided nothing that day. Their very deliberation is a measure of the seriousness of their intent.”In fact, the first thing President Bush did when he arrived at work at 7am the following morning was ring Tony Blair.
As Tony Blair told Parliament, when it reconvened for a one-day emergency session on 14 September: “President Bush and the US Government have proceeded with care. Relieved that the President had not rushed headlong into some ill-thought out action, Blair gave him an unequivocal promise to support the US in whatever the President decided to do.
They told Blair that there was no reason to think that the New York attacks were the work of any foreign government, because there was one organisation capable of planning and carrying it out unaided.
That was al-Qaeda, whose leader, Osama bin Laden, was hiding out in Afghanistan.
Then the south tower also collapsed, and there were reports of a fourth plane crashing near Pittsburgh. After a few impromptu remarks to the delegates, Blair took the first train back to London, to meet his security chiefs.Then, it was obvious what President Franklin Roosevelt had to do: he declared war on Japan.There was no such obvious reaction for Bush: the terrorists who carried out the attack were already dead, and there was no target against whom he could order immediate retaliation.In that speech, he had named two dictators the world would be better off without.One was Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, who was overthrown in 2000.