Blair did not want to be W.’s peripheral poodle. He wanted to “stand tall internationally” with Britain’s main ally and not “wet our knickers,” to use a Blair phrase, when the going got tough (or delusional).

Blair fantasized that Saddam might someday give W.M.D. to terrorists. This, even though the dictator didn’t like terrorists because they were impossible to control, and even though, as Blair admits, (the secular) Saddam and (the fundamentalist) Osama were on opposite sides. (When Saudi Arabia felt threatened by Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, Osama offered to fight the Iraqi dictator.)

It is criminally naïve, given the billions spent on intelligence, that Blair and W. muffed the postwar planning because they never perceived what Blair now acknowledges as “the true threat”: outside interference by Al Qaeda and Iran. So the reasoning of the man known in England as Phony Tony or Bliar amounts to this: They had to invade Iraq because Saddam could hypothetically hook up with Al Qaeda. But they didn’t properly prepare for the insurgency because they knew that Saddam had no link to Al Qaeda.