I don't think the US forced Blair to push Britain into the war, but my guess (and my guess is as good as anybody's because the truth sure as hell aint out there) is that he (Bush) made the war sound like an attractive option, militarily, politically and financially.
Blair is shrewd enough to know what the Falklands War did for Margaret Thatcher. It saved her political skin. It made her (and her party) re-electable in 1983. The Falklands War was largely frowned on by the British public at first, but they came round after it was won and in the end, the streets were crammed with cheering people, waving flags and thinking Britain was "Great" once more. Shortly after the Falklands War, the Galtieri military junta in Buenos Aires fell and democracy was restored.
Politically, Blair may have thought "I'd like some of that". Perhaps he thought that he would be associated with the removal of Saddam in the same way that Thatcher is associated with being instrumental in restoring democracy in Argentina. A place in history is a big pull to man of Blair's massive ego.
Militarily, Blair would have known the outcome of the actual fighting was a no-brainer. Iraq could never resist the US Army on the battlefield. Blair no doubt thought it would be all over in an afternoon and everybody home in time for tea and medals. With a bit of luck we would suffer minimal casualities.
Participation in the war would gain kudos with the US, and could be spun to show him (Blair) to be a "Great War Leader" and international statesman (removing a hated despot for the good of humanity).
And so he lied. I am convinced he did so knowingly, cynically and with cynical intent aforethought.
The US didn't need Britain's military efforts any more than a cat needs pyjamas. However, the US knew the war that they wanted would be conspicuously illegal..... so, what they didneed was an ally.... another global player to add "legitimacy" to the war. Somebody with a bit of credibility as a just and peaceful nation, and preferably another permanent member of the UN Security Council to boot.
All of a sudden, the US remembered the "strong bonds of friendship which bind our two great nations"...... You know, the usual bulls*** the US gives us when they want something, (and which they just as quickly and conveniently forget when they're screwing us over something else.
Blair saw an easy victory and a lot of personal credit to be gained from going to war. The lure must have been irresistible.
Economically, it is possible that Bush promised Blair a slice of whatever pie there was to be made out of gaining control of Iraq. The most obvious carrot to be dangled was the countries' vast oil reserves.
There has been much talk, at the ongoing enquiry into the Iraq war, being held in London of a deal "signed in blood" between Tony Bliar and George W Bush. Of course, Blair denies such a deal ever happened, but then again, he would, wouldn't he..?
Of course, I can't prove any of this, but I think it's a credible guess at what may possibly have transpired.
Tony Blair is currently trying to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the British public with his current book tour. If he had hoped for a soft, cosy ride, with easy photo opportunities and passive queues of smiling customers at book signings, then he's spent too much time in America in the last few years. He's forgotten just how much he really is a reviled figure in this country.
Blair is close to being a pariah in his own country as any former Prime Minister ever has been. Even Margaret Thatcher isn't as reviled (except, perhaps, in Yorkshire and Liverpool)as Tony Blair.
He lied to his people and all the denials in the world won't ever change that. Not only did he lie, but having been found out, many times over, he still continues to lie. He treats the British people with contempt and tries to win us over with his squalid version of events. Giving the profits from his book to the Royal British Legion is little more than conscience money...... blood money.
You can't wipe the blood off your hands with ?50 notes, Mr Blair.
He doesn't need the profits from this book. He's made enough dosh on his lucrative lecture tours of the US to ensuer he never has to work again as long as he lives. What he is concerned about is his place in history.
He will never admit he lied. And because of that, and that alone, he will remain a discredited, disgraced figure, loathed by millions of people who once voted for him.
And now wish they hadn't.