Former United States secretary of state Colin Powell expressed surprise at ex British premier Tony Blair's strong support for President George W. Bush over the Iraq war, according to book extracts published in the Mail on Sunday.
Powell said that he and Britain's former foreign secretary Jack Straw would "get (Blair) all pumped up" to talk to Bush about certain issues in the run-up to the 2003 conflict, but Blair would "lose his steam" when he saw Bush.
The comments are quoted in "Blair Unbound", a new book by Anthony Seldon, a respected political commentator and biographer of Blair, which is being serialised in the newspaper.
Powell, formerly the top officer in the US military, is quoted as saying that in mid 2002, he "realised that the planning for war was racing ahead and I wasn't sure we'd thought it through enough.
"I thought to myself, "Jeez, what are we getting ourselves into?'"
He added that he and Straw "were worried that our two leaders might not have a strong enough sense of the consequences of removing Saddam militarily".
Powell went on to express surprise at the strength of the "special relationship" between Blair and Bush over the issue.
"In the end, Blair would always support the president," he said.
"I found this very surprising. I never really understood why Blair seemed to be in such harmony with Bush. I thought, well, the Brits haven't been attacked on 9/11. How did he reach the point that he sees Saddam as such a threat?
"Jack and I would get him all pumped up about an issue. And he'd be ready to say, "Look here, George.' But as soon as he saw the president, he would lose his steam."
The book said that officials including Britain's former ambassador to Washington Sir Christopher Meyer tried to tell Blair's advisors that "what is needed is a plain-speaking conversation" over Iraq.
"The PM should talk to the president about the damage being done to Britain's reputation and to its interest in the Middle East," Meyer reportedly wrote to a key Blair advisor in 2002, but Blair's team seemed powerless to persuade him.
The book added that in late 2006, seven months before Blair left office, Bush proposed to Blair the idea of a troop surge in Iraq.
Blair felt this should be political, as well as military, an anonymous senior advisor is quoted as saying.
"We had been in there with him since the start," said one official.
"At this very late stage, the prime minister did not want to be seen to fall out with President Bush."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ekim 2007, 18:16