Thursday 28 January 2010

Iraq - dependent inquiry

Tomorrow Tony Blair will face the UK’s Iraq inquiry. He should not have much to fear from an inquiry into Labour’s conduct whose members and terms of reference were decided by Labour, who also decided which documents would be kept secret.

An independent inqury by the Dutch government has already declared the war illegal. This week two senior UK Foreign Office lawyers made clear to the UK inquiry that they had told the Labour government the same thing before the bombing and invasion. One of them, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, joins Robin Cook on the very short list of people to come out of this episode with any credit. She resigned when Labour attacked Iraq.

The then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, admitted that in January 2003, he too had said the war would be illegal. Then, for reasons he never explained, he completely changed his mind, so that by March, just in time for the attack, he decided it was legal!

He also confirmed that the 20-odd Labour ministers sitting around the Cabinet table did not think the legality of the war was a matter they needed to discuss. So all bear their share of guilt for one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in British history.

On Monday, 36 people died after a triple car bombing in Baghdad and on Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed another 18 in the city.

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