Friday, November 27, 2009

Inquiry told the Iraq War is illegitimate

It will cover Britain's role in Iraq from July 2001 to July 2009 and report some time next year, after the General Election.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's ambassador to the UN at the time, has already told the inquiry that the
war was not legitimate.
Earlier Sir Christopher Meyer, then Britain's ambassador to Washington, suggested that a deal to invade Iraq may have been "signed in blood" by George Bush and Tony Blair in 2002.
There will doubtless be many more revelations, but what will be done as a consequence?

The above is from the Telegraph of London's "Iraq inquiry: what exactly will Sir John Chilcot's inquiry achieve?" which is not an opinion piece, at least not in the traditional sense. It's an opinion piece in the just-add-water sense. They're asking readers to leave comments on what they believe the inquiry will accomplish. The Telegraph's Gordon Rayner reports of today's testiomony by Greenstock:

Sir Jeremy told the inquiry panel: "I regarded our invasion of Iraq as legal but of questionable legitimacy, in that it didn’t have the democratically observable backing of the great majority of member states or even, perhaps, of a majority of people inside the UK.
"So there was a failure to establish legitimacy, although I think we successfully established legality in the Security Council for our actions in March 2003 in that we were never challenged in the Secuity Council or in the International Court of Justice for these actions."
Sir Jeremy regarded it as essential for the UN to pass a resolution in 2002 establishing the case for war, and threatened to resign if no resolution was passed.

Today is day four of the public testimony and Channel 4 continues to offer their live blog by Iraq Inquiry Blogger:

A final thought: while Meyer's book (you just may have picked up yesterday that he'd written a book) became a best-seller, Greenstock's The Costs of War never even made it to the bookshops. It was blocked by the FCO and Number 10, apparently because he'd quoted confidential diplomatic exchanges.

Alex Barker (Financial Times of London) adds, "Addressing the issue of whether weapons inspectors should have been given more time, Sir Jeremy told the inquiry: 'It seemed to me that the option of invading Iraq in, say, October 2003 deserved much greater consideration. But the momentum for earlier action in the United States was much too strong for us to counter'." Though some may cheer that statement, they shouldn't. In the construct of the response, he argues for war, just wanting it to wait until "say, October 2003." No where does he allow that the inspectors being allowed to complete their jobs could argue that there was no case for war. James Meikle (Guardian) reports, "Earlier, Greenstock told the inquiry that he had threatened to resign if the UN security council failed to pass a resolution on Iraq in the lead-up to the invasion." In other words, empty threats are part of the weakingly's make up. And to be clear, Greenstock claims that he was satisfied by the November 2002 resolution (1441) which really just allowed the weapons inspectors back into Iraq. It did not authorize a war. Greenstock failed to make clear why something as serious as starting a war didn't require a resolution or why he himself didn't feel that was grounds for resigning -- and, no, he can't (as he tries to do) push that off on Bush. Bully Boy Bush is a War Criminal, no question. He had no authority over Greenstock and none over Tony Blair. Greenstock needs to take some accountability for his own actions and stop trying to hide behind Bush.

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the telegraph of london
gordon rayner
channel four

the guardian