Blair in clear over legality of Iraq war?

Well probably not with a lot in his own party, but the FT predicts that Tony Blair may pull up the drawbridge on a lot of his would be attackers after a few days of ‘sound and fury’ after Lord Goldsmith’s legal advice to Tony Blair about the legality of the Iraq war was leaked to the press.

Emily Bell thinks the BBC may even have landed itself in hot water over its handling of the matter. She’s clearly in combative mood, as she lams into the tardy old British (Pooterish?) blogosphere. Needless to say, some of them are fighting back!

  • Gum

    In the clear?

    The original advice by Lord Goldsmith (that has just emerged) is legally absolutely correct – and the main question now HAS to be: who or what made the Attorney General change his position in the week before the war? If there was any political pressure it has to be the main issue.

    This is not just a theoretical case/ academic question. While the whole affair is a lesson in the serious shortcomings of the British constitution, it has shocking implications for Blair and his advisors. If they knew their actions were illegal, or even legally dubious, their decision to still go to war is a crime they knowingly committed.

    War crimes are not just committed by guys from the East with hard to pronounce names!

  • foreign correspondent

    The Iraq war was a disgraceful venture, irrespective of what the Attorney General thought about it. I hope Labour do get a ‘bloody nose’ over this issue.

  • Keith M

    Iraq’s a non-issue. If this is the worst that happens to Blair in this campaign then we’re looking at a 100+ seat majority again.

    The world is a safer place without Saddam, and not one of the anti-war mob can tell us how they would have gotten rid of him.

  • Gum

    Keith, you are missing the point. The war was illegal, and while you will no doubt roll your eyes at this, you cannot simply break laws when they dont suit. There are reasons why they exist! For example, because Blair has compromised these reasons, North Korea/Pakistan/anyone could LEGALLY attack their neighbours and rely on the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive self defense. As long as they ‘feel threatened’ Britain wont have a leg to stand on when it comes to comdemning them. This is the legacy Blair leaves international law, and it is a very dangerous one.

  • Gum

    One other (non-legal) point Keith:

    you show a real lack of knowledge of pre-invasion Iraq. The region is considerably less secure – while democracy is taking route in some parts of the country, anarchy reigns in others.

    If you really want ‘one of the anti-war mob’ to explain how to have dealt with Saddam, just ask mate! 😉

  • Keith M

    Gum, “The war was illegal”. Illegal by who’s definition? If you are talking about the abysmal charade that is the “united unions”, then that doesn’t cut te mustard.

    Gum it had nothing to do with “feeling threatened”. Iraq had invaded two of it’s neighbours and attacked another with medium range missiles. Ii had used chemical warfare and had not demonstrated that it had destroyed it’s WMD.
    Pakistan hasn’t done anything like that.

    Now tell me how would YOU have gotten rid of Saddam?

  • Gum

    Illegal according to international law Keith. All sources of the law are clear that the use of force and intervention in other countries is illegal unless permitted by a UN Security Council resolution. You can dismiss the UN all you want, but it shows you have not thought any posts here through. The whole international legal order is based on the UN. Bush/Blair/any law professor will agree. Remove it – States can do what they like and we are in big trouble.

    And secondly Keith – it has everything to do with feeling threatened. The whole premise for war was that Saddam represented a clear and present danger – the Bush doctrine of pre-emption was based on the (shakey) legal grounds that you can act first if you feel that you re about to be attacked. (The old ‘Caroline Case’ if you are interested!) This has arguably entered into customary international law, and is a very dangerous legal argument that could be used to defend attacks on sovereign States.

    Iraq had done nothing more in the last 10 yrs than all the other vile dictatorships to warrent such an attack. Why pick it?

    Anyway bigfella, you’ll have to wait till tomo for dealing with Saddam, cause I have work to get up for! Tune in tomo! Same time! Same place!

  • Keith M

    Gum, who writes this “international law”? The UN scecurity council is a complete waste of time. Countries have flaunted resolutions without any sanctions being taken. As long as one country can veto or threaten to veto, it is intrinsically undemocratic. The UN is an ineffective talking shop which is only an expensive waste of time and money. It has stood by and watched attrocities in places from Rwanda to Bosnia.

    The US and the UK have realised that until the UN is completly reformed, it is irrelevant. They proved it in Kosovo, they proved it in Iraq, and the people of both countries are now far better off that they would have been if they had waited for the UN security council to stop sitting on its hands and do something.

    Why pick Iraq? Because it had not demonstrated that it had destroyed its WMDs as it was required to do by the UN, an organisation which you obviously have time for but maybe you’re happy for the UN to keep passing pointless and unenforced resolutions as that seems to be the only thing it’s good at.

  • A.W.

    Right or wrong Blair is damaged, he should resign. His clinging to power is a disgraceful spectacle that will loose many Labour MPs their seats. When returned what credibility does he have as Prime Minister. People simply do not trust a word the man utters, he does not command respect. Such a person cannot be Prime Minister

  • La Dolorosa

    Keith M – It has been proved that vile Saddam had no WMDs – even Michael Howard admitted that on QT last night and the argument for going to ‘war’ has now pro-war suppporters are justifying it simply as ‘regime change’.

  • Keith M

    A.W. “Such a person cannot be Prime Minister”. The U.K. is a democracy. The people decide who can and cannot be Prime Minister, not the anti-everything mafia.

    La Dolorosa, Saddam HAS WMDs, he used them against the Kurds. These may have been destroyed later, but that was never proven. The UN resolution calle on Iraq to PROVE it had destroyed it’s WMDs, not for other to prove that they had them.

  • La Dolorosa

    Keith M – Of Saddam did have WMDs the Rummy plus his mate must have the invoices and know where they are.

  • La Dolorosa

    Keith M – If Saddam did have WMDs then Rummy plus his mates must have the invoices and know where they are.

  • Jim Bob

    To Keith M

    “Iraq’s a non-issue”

    Dear, oh dear.

    It’s the only issue in this British election!

  • Dessertspoon

    Would any other politician in Tony Blair’s place have made a different decision..of course they will all say they would have but I really don’t think that’s the case. As far Iraq being the only issue it isn’t. It might just scrap the top 5. People in GB actually have politicians who talk about multiple issues and polices. It’s not like here where we fixate on just the one and blame everyone else but ourselves for the others should they come up.

  • La Dolorosa

    Dessertspoon ‘Would any other politician in Tony Blair’s place have made a different decision’ – quite possibly – he had a struggle to get his cabinet behind him – the country certainly wasn’t – 2mn people taking to the streets that March and it looks the attorney general had to be leaned on…..