February 27, 2003

MEMORANDUM TO: OPINION LEADERS

FROM: DANIEL McKIVERGAN, Deputy Director

SUBJECT: Blair, Chirac & Iraq


Media reports on yesterday's vote in the House of Commons on Prime Minister Blair's Iraq policy have made much of the defections within his own party over that policy. And, indeed, those defections do reflect a general skepticism among Labour's ranks. That said, it is also worth noting that the prime minister did win in overwhelming fashion, including 70% within his own party. And given the fact that his position on Iraq has serious implications for Great Britain as a nation, the support he did receive (393-199) is equally striking.

Also worth noting is how little media attention has been paid to the turmoil taking place within France's parliament. The International Herald Tribune reports ("Voices Raised in Chirac's Party Against Veto") today that "significant elements - perhaps more than half - of Jacques Chirac's presidential majority in the National Assembly are making clear they oppose France's eventual use of its veto in the Security Council to a block a new American-led resolution that would justify a strike at Iraq." Says one majority legislator, "We're not going to tear apart the UN and Europe to save a tyrant."