McTernan links this commitment to Blair's determination to back Bush following the 9/11 terrorist outrage in the US 10 months earlier.
In fact, Blair conveyed his backing for Bush much earlier. in a statement to the Labour Party National Executive Committee just three days after George W. Bush was inaugurated for his first term as the US President on January 20, 2001. The contemporaneous personal minutes of the NEC meeting on January 23, 2001 by NEC member Ann Black (www.annblack.com/nec_jan2001.htm) records:
“Tony Blair said that the issue must be handled with care. Instead of rushing to judgment, we should bring all sides together to seek a way through. We need good working links with the new President because the Tories will exploit any cooling in the ‘special relationship.’ William Hague has already promised the Americans everything they want before they ask, a curious way to defend British sovereignty.”
As we enter a period of post-Chilcot reflection and analysis, it is as well to get some of the basic facts right.