The Chilcot inquiry dealing with Great Britain's role in the Iraq War grinds on.
Former Attorney General Goldsmith now states beyond any doubt that Blair deceived Parliament about the legality of the war.
From The Independent:
In a written statement to the Chilcot inquiry, Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, suggested Mr Blair's statements to Parliament about the legality of the invasion were not compatible with the advice handed to the prime minister. He said Mr Blair's statements made him "uncomfortable". He described how he was cut out of discussions over the drafting of the UN resolution used as cover for the invasion of March 2003.
I have previously followed this in detail, and have written various diaries about Attorney General Goldsmith.
Goldsmith was forced to approve a "hop-scotch" interpretation of a series of U.N. Security Council Resolutions in order to justify a pre-emptive attack.
His testimony now is potentially devastating for Blair, who is scheduled to reappear before the Chilcot commission.
Unable to find support for a second Security Council resolution supporting an attack on Iraq, the neo-cons and Blair were stuck in the desert with an army that could go nowhere.
The U.N. inspection teams under Blix were discounting fanciful tales of Iraqi WMD capabilities. Meanwhile, Blair ratcheted up the threat by deploying army personnel and anti-missile defence systems at Heathrow, in a visible display of security theatre, designed to massage public opinion.
The last link below provides background to what is happening at the Chilcot inquiry now. AG Goldsmith's contradiction of Blair is important, as Blair is scheduled to appear for a second interview before the committee.
While the U.S. administration took steps to ensure it couldn't be charged with war crimes by foreign courts, matters are not as rosy for former PM Blair. As can be seen from this diary, UK commanders demanded specific legal language demonstrating that a pre-emptive attack on Iraq was not a war crime.
What Blair said:* "If the inspectors do report that they can't do their work properly because Iraq is not co-operating there's no doubt under the terms of the existing UNSCR that that is a breach of the Resolution. In those circumstances there should be a further resolution. If, however, a country were to issue a veto, because there has to be unanimity amongst the permanent members of the Security Council ... then I would consider action outside of that."
"We have said that a second UN resolution is preferable, because it is far better that the UN come together. We have also said that there are circumstances in which a UN resolution is not necessary, because it is necessary to be able to say in circumstances where an unreasonable veto is put down that we would still act."
Commons, 15 January 2003
Newsnight, 6 February 2003
What Goldsmith said: When asked by the Chilcot inquiry whether he considered Blair's words to be compatible with the advice he had given the PM* Goldsmith: "No ... I was uncomfortable with them, and I believe that I discussed my concerns with Jack Straw and my own staff. I do not think there was any doubt about my view. I had been clear at the meeting with [Blair] on 22 October 2002."
Goldsmith has yet to explain how he was persuaded to craft the "hop-skotch" rationale for war that was ultimately used to justify the attack. This was also why the Coalition was desperate to find evidence of WMD following the invasion, which led to the abuses of Abu Ghraib and the frantic attempts by Blair to deflect attention away from the fact that no WMD was found. Blair later had to admit that his claims of mass graves with hundreds of thousands in them was untrue.
Background information here: