Later, in Basra, Blair would tell the troops that the struggle they were engaged in was "infinitely more important than Northern Ireland", for the simple reason that it would shape "the future of the world".
On the plane, in a brief audience with the PM, I said that the events of the day were of course exhilarating but also intimidating. How long does it take to evolve from terror to politics? Could he imagine, in the Iraqi parliament of the future, the ghosts of Muqtada al-Sadr and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi gazing at each other with smiling eyes?
"It must happen," he said. "Something like that must eventually happen."
read The Long Kiss Goodbye by Martin Amis