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Revealed: the rush to war

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 14 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 14 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 14 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, warned less than two weeks before the invasion of Iraq that military action could be ruled illegal.

The government was so concerned that it might be prosecuted it set up a team of lawyers to prepare for legal action in an international court.

And a parliamentary answer issued days before the war in the name of Lord Goldsmith – but presented by ministers as his official opinion before the crucial Commons vote – was drawn up in Downing Street, not in the attorney general’s chambers.

This shouldn’t play well for Mr Blair, but it probably won’t make much difference in the long run. Nobody trusts what he has to say over Iraq, and facts like these shouldn’t make much difference to the general election result.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said the government’s position had been seriously undermined. “The substance of the attorney general’s advice, and the process by which it was partially published, simply do not stand up to scrutiny,” he said.

Sir Menzies added: “The issue is all the more serious since the government motion passed by the House of Commons on March 18 2003, endorsing military action against Iraq, was expressly based on that advice.”

He continued: “The public interest, which the government claims justifies non-publication of the whole of the advice, can only be served now by the fullest disclosure.”

I don’t really see how publishing the advice would serve the public interest, but I think that hiding it is against the public interest. So, in that sense, I think Mr Blair should come clean and publish the full advice. But he almost certainly won’t.

This 378th post was filed under: Election 2005.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / October 2019, 3 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / September 2019, 6 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

A flying visit to Copenhagen / July 2019, 9 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Some random old posts

Issuing guns to all police officers / November 2005, 6 minutes long

Don’t let germs be your gift / November 2013, 1 minute long

Guy Browning: Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade / July 2005, 3 minutes long

Hurricane Katrina / September 2005, Less than a minute long

Nurses off sick 16 days per year / June 2005, 2 minutes long

Newsflash: Patricia Hewitt doesn’t care / March 2007, Less than a minute long


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