Blair was told Iraq war 'illegal': report

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Blair was told Iraq war 'illegal': report

LONDON — The government's chief legal advisor informed then British prime minister Tony Blair in 2002 that deposing Saddam Hussein would contravene international law, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Peter Goldsmith, the Attorney General at the time, wrote to Blair eight months before the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, but the premier ignored the advice, the Mail on Sunday claimed.

When does this criminal go to trial?


Chilcot inquiry finds Lord Goldsmith's betrayal of the law led to the invasion of Iraq

There were half a dozen further written warnings from Lord Goldsmith in the months preceding the invasion, all telling Tony Blair that he must have another Security Council resolution before he could act. Blair would scribble notes like "I just don't understand this" in the margin of Goldsmith's memoranda. Eventually, Goldsmith understood that he was displeasing his master.

Then, with no new evidence to justify changing his position, Goldsmith did a complete about-turn in only six weeks, and wrote another memo three days before the invasion of Iraq saying that it was lawful even without another UN resolution. He sold out, and he didn't even get paid extra for it.

Why does this matter? Because the law matters. Above all, this law matters. It is the law the United Nations was created to enforce: Thou shalt not invade other countries. Not even if they are run by bad people, or claim land that you think should be yours, or pose some real or imaginary danger to your "security". We have fought wars since forever, but now it's over. In fact, it's a crime.

That was the law they made after the Second World War, the worst war in history, which killed up to 50 million people. Like most laws, it isn't about perfect justice, just about making things safer, but it has probably saved tens of millions of lives over the years. Once or twice, when nuclear war threatened, it may have saved us all.

That is the law that Goldsmith betrayed, even though he took it seriously. His U.S. counterparts didn't even believe in it, so there is no need for an American inquiry to reveal what went wrong in the White House. Just as well, because there wasn't going to be one anyway.