Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Iraq legacy: legality

The UN's authority has yet to recover from the decision to invade Iraq - but it was not the only institution undermined by British and US actions

By Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian

" Five years ago to the day, on March 13 2003, just a week before the invasion of Iraq, Lord Goldsmith the attorney general, had a meeting with Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan, two of Tony Blair's closest political allies, about the legality of a military attack. The day before, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the chief of the defence staff, had expressed concern about the equivocal advice Goldsmith had earlier provided.

The attorney had warned that the government and its military commanders could be hauled before a domestic or international criminal court and might lose. Most British international lawyers appeared to agree.......

Five years later, whether the invasion was lawful or not may seem academic. Neither Blair nor Bush nor Rumsfeld is likely to be indicted for war crimes. However, their unilateral decision to invade undermined the authority of the UN. It has yet to recover. Perhaps it never will......"

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