Alex Massie

Lawyers dancing on Pinheads: Iraq Edition

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I remain unpersuaded that there's much point to the Chilcot Inquiry and the stramash over Lord Goldsmith's interpretation of the legal case for toppling Saddam does little to change that. Paul Waugh has a nice, if somewhat scathing, summary here.

But the case against the war's legality is a) pretty irrelevent now and b) rests upon the dubious proposition that the French, Russian and Chinese governments had what amounted to a veto over US and UK policy and that without their approval the invasion/liberation of Iraq was not merely unwise but illegal.

How many of those people most opposed to the war would have siged up for it had the French and Russians been on board or had the Americans made a more determined, and ultimately successful, effort to pass a second Security Council resolution? Are there really many people who'd now be saying Well, I thought it a terrible idea but at least the lawyers agree that it's all legitimate? Surely not.

In any case, if I remember correctly, at the time it was passed Resolution 1441 was widely and clearly understood to provide a rationale for war and the attempt to pass a second resolution was a response to political, not legal concerns. At least that's how it seemed in New York in early 2003...

If this ain't the case then what am I missing?

PS: For the record, I think this means that I more or less agree with Melanie's argument here.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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