Here's that old anti-war standard again, from Kathryn Flett's TV Review in the Observer, where she quotes Robin Cook:
'The real reason [the Government] were keen to take Britain to war was not because they thought Saddam was a threat but because they wanted to demonstrate to George Bush that we were a reliable ally.'
I don't believe this for a moment. Firstly, given Blair's support for action in Kosovo, it's clear that he is by instinct an interventionist. Secondly, this conceit of poodle Blair is tiresome: a position similar to the one Harold Wilson adopted towards the US action in Vietnam would have been perfectly feasible, and Blair as a keen European would have considerably enhanced his position within the EC if he'd come up with some carefully calculated remarks to the effect that while he respected Bush's keenness to set things right by force, we Europeans had more experience with this sort of thing blah blah. He would also surely have been able to carry his party: a few defectors to the Tories (Ann Clwyd?) wouldn't have been sufficient to overturn the government's majority in parliament. But most significantly, it was always clear from his language, from his whole attitude, that this was a course of action Blair felt was right - and I have to say that for me it was refreshing to see a British Prime Minister acting from principle.
I don't know if Cook still has political ambitions, but I'd imagine he has - he can hardly want to end his parliamentary career as The Embittered Gnome. In which case his comment is deeply cynical. Moreover I don't think he believes it himself: it seems calculated in a this-will-hurt-Tony-the-most sort of way.
When Labour came to power in 1997 Robin Cook was one of the brightest stars on the new Front Bench. I wouldn't vote for him now if he was running against Jacques Chirac.