Thursday, July 15, 2010

The lying behind the illegal war

BBC News reports that Paul Boateng is stating that the Blair cabinet (he was a member of it) "should have seen all the arguments on the legality of the Iraq war." As the Iraq Inquiry has already established then-British Attorney General Peter Goldsmith was of the opinion that -- without a second UN resolution -- a war with Iraq would be illegal. Goldsmith repeatedly advised Blair of that (leading Blair to scribble on one memo, "I just don't understand this"; while his underling scribbled that Blair had "specifically said we did not need further advis [on] this matter"). Days before the illegal war started, Goldsmith was finally pressured into changing his legal opinion. Goldsmith denied being pressured. He said it was more a case of choosing whether or not you wanted to be on the winning side. I believe that's peer pressure when we're speaking of youths. I think it falls under (politely) group-think when you're an adult or (truthfully) cowardice. The cabinet was not informed of any doubts and were only informed that Goldsmith was stating that the Iraq War would be legal. BBC News also notes:

Separately, the inquiry published a newly declassified document showing that Treasury officials urged ministers to "step back" from taking a leading military role in post-invasion Iraq.
An internal paper - written by senior Treasury official John Dodds - warned that Britain could be "sucked into" costly wider responsibilities if it took on security duties after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
But the briefing note, sent to then Chancellor Gordon Brown, observed it was unlikely Prime Minister Tony Blair and other ministers would want to "walk away" from a leadership role in Iraq.

Peter Mandelson was in Blair's cabinet -- in and out of the cabinet. He resigned twice. His memoirs are due out shortly and sections are being serialized in the Times of London. One section is especially gathering attention. Nicholas Watt (Guardian) reports on Mandelson's assertion that he challenged Blair on going to war with Iraq and Blair replied, "For God's sake, have you been spending all your time with George Galloway?" Mehdi Hasan (New Statesman) adds of that quote:

Amazing. Is any more insight needed into what Mandelson refers to as Blair's "tunnel vision" on Iraq? Is any more proof needed that our former prime minister had no intention of debating the rights or wrongs of invading Iraq, not even with close colleagues and friends like Mandelson, but had instead made up his mind long before the March 2003 invasion and refused to seek out alternatives? "As military preparations intensified. those who had reservations of the sort I had raised were lumped together in his mind with anyone who felt he wasn't 100% on board," writes Mandelson. "The distinction between the two became blurred in Tony's mind."

On the Iraq Inquiry, Carne Ross testified Monday (see that day's snapshot) and Colum Lynch (Foreign Policy) reports on the testimony including zooming in on Ross' testimony about leaking to Lynch.

Margaret Hassan was an Irish, British and Iraqi citizen. She worked for CARE International in Iraq. October 19, 2004, Margaret was kidnapped and she was murdered at the start of November. Only one person has been convicted in the crimes. Michael Jansen (Irish Times) reports, "Hassan's sister Geraldine Fitsimonds Riney said the family had been notified by their Iraqi lawyer that Ali Lutfi Jassar al-Rawi, sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2009, will not appear at his appeal today because he cannot be traced." The Mirror notes, "Ali Lutfi Jassar got life for the 59-year-old's abduction and murder in Iraq 2004." BBC News reports, "An Iraqi court has ordered a search for a man convicted of the 2004 kidnap and murder of British aid worker Margaret Hassan, amid fears he has escaped."

On today's violence, Reuters notes a Tikrit car bombing claimed 6 lives (fourteen people injured), a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left three people injured and a suicide bomber took his/her own life in Sulaiman Pek. And Jackson Diehl (Washington Post) reports that Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met with the Washington Post editorial board yesterday and took questions from them and Post reporters. On the White House, he declared, "Their role has not been active, to be honest wit you."

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends