Thursday, April 28, 2005

No wonder he wanted to hide it

Lord Goldsmith's concluding summary of his legal advice on the legality of the Iraq war has been leaked - and as expected, it doesn't look good for Tony Blair. The document shows that Lord Goldsmith thought that while a "reasonable case" could be made that the UN had already authorised force, he did not believe it would stand up in court, and that

the safest legal course would be to secure the adoption of a further resolution to authorise the use of force. [...] The key point is that it should establish that the Council has concluded that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity offered by resolution 1441, as in the draft which has already been tabled.

He also noted that in the absence of such a resolution, any argument that previous resolutions had been revivied would hinge on the opinions of the weapons inspectors. Interestingly, the same day the opinion was given to Blair, Hans Blix reported that Iraq was making "substantial" progress in destroying its long-range missiles, and that no WMD had been found. Tony Blair ignored those findings, instead stating that it was his "unequivocal view" that Iraq was in breach of prior resolutions. As a result, a sexed-up version of the opinion, with all caveats, qualifications, and doubt removed, was presented to Parliament and used as the basis for war.

But it wasn't just Parliament. Blair mushroomed his cabinet, and responded to his armed forces with lies. In the process, he exposed each and every one of them to legal risk. But there is no doubt on whose shoulders the responsibility really lies: Tony Blair's. British voters should remember that when they go to the polls next week.


How anyone could possibly consider that the invasion of one country by a small number of others, without any international sanction, could possibly be legal is beyond me.

I'm not sure why it has take Lord Goldsmith's report to confirm this.

Posted by Michael Wood : 4/28/2005 06:42:00 PM

I think that in general, the British public doesn't think that it was legal. Lord Goldsmith's advice is just the final proof that Blair knowingly and repeatedly lied about it. While I'd like to see him dragged off to The hague for this, the first step has to be de-electing the fucker. UKanians will have their chance next Friday (our time).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/28/2005 06:48:00 PM

I guess you are right - declaring war on the NAZI was illegal as was The northern states invasion of the southern states in the USA as would have been any attempt at stopping the rwandan genocide.

Of course considering that why do we care?

Posted by Genius : 4/28/2005 08:06:00 PM

Genius: Lord Goldsmith's concerns about the legality of the war do not rest on the idea that all war is illegal. Wars waged in self-defence in response to an actual attack are recognised as legitimate under pevailing norms of international law - as are (possibly) pre-emptive strikes against a credible threat of immediate attack. But Iraq did not fall under either of these categories; it had not invaded anyone, and was not threatening to. US claims that it was a threat were based on fantasy (not least the fantasy of the existence of WMD) and in any case lacked the immediacy to permit pre-emptive action.

The reasons why we should care are twofold. First, there is the matter of consistency. After WWII, we declared that waging a war of aggression was "the supreme international crime", and hung people for it. While I don't support the death penalty, consistency demands that others who wage such wars must also face justice. But fundamentally, it's an issue of democratic accountability. There was a (IMHO bad) argument that could be made that war with Iraq was justified and necessary. Tony Blair chose not to make that argument. Instead, he chose to lie, to present the war as something other than what it was, to minimise the political cost to himself and maximise his chances of re-election. And he deserves to be punished for that at the ballot box.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/29/2005 12:05:00 AM

> Wars waged in self-defence in response to an actual attack are recognised as legitimate

The NAZIS would not have been a threat to the allies if the allies "cooperated" and it wasnt an immediate threat when it invaded the rhineland - but it SHOULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED. Furthermore the south posed no threat to the north in the american civil war and rwanda posed no threat to anyone except rwandans.
But I dont want to consistantly apply some rule if i forsee it resulting in the world being a hiteresque facist dictatorship. Consistancy is just not THAT important.

But anyway this is irrelevant if there are no concequences for that breach of international law. If for example a country can break a international treaty and face no concequences (eg iraq or the USA) then somthing must fill that gap - at the moment that is the USA as police man - but without the USA you dont have the rule of law you just have the rule of some other random people, because the UN has no enforcement and no concequences to breaches of its rules.
(if the UN did its job right I would oppose the US doing anything)

> After WWII, we declared that waging a war of aggression was "the supreme international crime", and hung people for it.

Show trials, motivated by revenge of the victor on the defeated, regardless of whether they deserved it or not. Can you imagine them all being found not guilty? if you can't it's a nonsense trial.
But anyway back to the topic...

> consistency demands that others who wage such wars must also face justice.

Such as sadam - but then you cant engage in wars to force him to face that justice - so.. consistancy demands you cant make bush or blair or anyone else face justice. and we are back where we started. the fact that bush and blair made sadam face jsutice is irrelevant because you dont support it.
thats what you get when you demand consistancy.

Posted by Genius : 4/30/2005 06:04:00 PM