Tony Blair was warned not to support US military action, according to a 20-year-old briefing published for the first time by openDemocracy. The five-page document, written in the immediate aftermath of the al-Qaida attacks, warned that invading Afghanistan would be “counterproductive” and would be “precisely what the group wants”. The briefing was penned by an unofficial policy adviser, Paul Rogers, who had been encouraged by Downing Street to write briefings for Blair’s government.
The memo was sent six days after 9/11, and shortly before President Bush declared his “war on terror”. Copies were also sent to 12 other senior ministers, including the then foreign secretary, Jack Straw. One of the former ministers who received the briefing two decades ago today admitted that it had been “full of foresight and should have been acted on”.