Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Just what is international law anyway?

Though I’m loathe to side with either Jack Straw or Tony Blair (particularly our former Prime Minister) in the Iraq inquiry, I have to admit I’m somewhat bemused by the question of whether the invasion of Iraq was legal. In touting this query I’ve heard numerous references to ‘international law’ without any mention of the precise law that is supposed to have been broken. International law is often nothing more than an agreement or commonality across existing states; where there is no common ground there is no law. Does anyone seriously believe the US under either a Republican or Democrat administration would acquiesce to a requirement for UN authorisation of military action?

The real issue remains how the UK government misled parliament with such spurious military intelligence. The ‘45 minute’ claim was quite clearly rubbish; my only surprise when I originally listened to the presentation in the House of Commons was that no-one expressed any doubt. In this respect the guilt lies not just with Tony Blair but the entire Labour party for being so compliant, though the Conservatives do themselves little credit having provided such poor opposition. Indeed the only party to come out of it with any standing is the Liberal party – and I never thought I’d hear myself say that.

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