"Smoking gun" on Iraq war legality?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by MrPVRd, Feb 27, 2005.

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  1. There must be something to hide, from the Independent today!

  2. It's in the paper. Which puts doubt on its relevence straight away in my opinion.

    With the bo11ock that has come out of the UKs paperts in the last couple of years how can you believe a word they print?
  3. but then again, can you believe anything that the govt says? both are proven liars!!
  4. If the evidence was as conclusive as Tony B Liar would have us believe, it would have been published by now - either officially, or unofficially leaked.

    The fact that the Government are doing all they can to prevent it's publishing (including rejecting Freedom of Information applications) suggests that the evidence is far from clear cut.

    Incidentally, I must confess to struggling to understand what "illegal" means in this context... it is not as if the Goverment can be cited as being in breach of (eg) Section 69 of the Invasion of Foreign Countries Act (or similar)
  5. Here we go again!

    There can be no doubt in the mind of any right thinking person in the land that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and the continued occupation of that benighted place is illegal.

    Bliar gave an illegal order. The Poodle of Darkness accepted it, no doubt still feeling a bit woozy after his face lift.

    It is a soldiers duty NOT to accept an illegal order - that makes him as guilty as the person giving it. It's all in the Army Act. (Unless, of course you happen to be a young Fusilier whose officers seem willing to drop you in the sh1t and abandon you to the tender mercies of a political show trial whilst your CO and OC are promoted out of the danger zone by the coniving top brass)

    Jackson needs to be called to account, instead of letting him worm his way towards the House of Frauds.

    It is unforgivable that the lives of British servicemen have been squandered due to the disgraceful behaviour of our Prime Minister, and the moral cowardice of the CGS.

    Have they no shame?
  6. Obviously not :roll:
  7. So what you're saying is that we should all refuse to serve on TELIC tours on the basis that deployment orders are illegal because the occupation is? Have you been chatting to Chrisjohn316?
  8. As is well known, the CDS of the day quite rightly insisted on a legal opinion from the Attorney General that the war was legal, before committing HM Forces to operations in Iraq.

    One more thing which has emerged recently is that the "legal opinion" consisted, to Admiral Lord Boyce's recollection, of about three or four lines of text.

    The Chiefs of Staff were quite correct in my view to accept a clear statement from the Government's senior legal adviser that that war would be legal. Similarly, all ranks down the chain of command were correct to carry out the orders given. Like fas_et_gloria I therefore disagree with Queensman on this point, although many will agree with other points Queensman made. It is not correct to blame commanders or any rank for obeying an order which, on the face of it, was legal.

    The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, reportedly relied in turn on an assurance from the Prime Minister that Iraq was in breach of Security Council Resolutions. If this is true, Lord Goldsmith's opinion only dealt with whether the Resolutions entitled the United Kingdom to invade Iraq, without returning to the Security Council, assuming that Iraq was in material breach. Some lawyers in this field consider such an argument to be thin.

    We thus end up with a chain of legal and other opinions comprising:

    1. The second 'dossier' - along with all the secret reports and advice received by the Government at the time, which we now know cannot have been very different from the dossier itself. The Prime Minister confirmed in the foreword to the dossier that he and other Ministers had been briefed in full.

    2. The Prime Minister's assurance to Ld Goldsmith that Iraq was in material breach. Presumably based on 1 above, although I cannot believe that no Government lawyer ever thought about the question of whether Iraq actually was in breach.

    3. Ld Goldsmith's formal legal opinion that such breach entitled the United Kingdom to attack Iraq, without going back to the UNSC. His opinion reportedly changed for whatever reason, but he must (and of course does) take responsibility for his final advice.

    4. Ld Goldsmith's brief confirmation to the Defence Chiefs, based on 3 above, that the operation would be legally justified. Short as it was, this was arguably the strongest link in the chain. The Chiefs have access to their own legal advice, but in my view were constitutionally and legally justified in accepting the opinion of HMG's senior legal adviser, even though they must have been aware of contrary views within Govt legal circles. Goldsmith's opinion (unless clearly capricious) took precedence in the same way as a command decision, or direction within the intelligence community. (See 1 above.)

    The democratic vote in Parliament, although not a legal necessity, will also have been noted by the Chiefs of Staff.

    There is also the related question of what the Prime Minister said at the time to The Sovereign as Head of the Armed Forces, although we are never likely to know the answer to that. See eg Queen's Regulations for the Army:
    Apart from my argument that no-one at any level in the Armed Forces bears any criminal responsibility for carrying out what were on the face of it, legal orders, I am not expressing any personal opinion. I have simply sought logically to dissect the chain of decisions as reportedly now emerging.
  9. Others (more cynical than I, obviously) might comment on the lack of the word 'government' in your carefully crafted statement...
  10. To add to Hackle observations,

    I heard that the grounds that legal advice can not be released was because of the client/lawyer right of confidentiality. (Opposition spokesman on legal affairs). Whilst this may rightly apply, have I misunderstood parliamentary democracy since Blair is PM of this country and alone does not have legal authority, without cabinet endorsement, for committing UK forces to war. Since he alone has seen the legal advice something is wrong here.

    Either we the people have right to see the legal advice or the cabinet should have seen the FULL legal advice before committing to operation. Since the later did not occur why does Blair have client/lawyer confidentiality as he is merely a representative of the people and not an elected president.
  11. Yes!


    Urrmm! Good post. However, I absolutely believe the invasion to be illegal.

    UK Ltd cannot simply go around invading sovereign states (however despicable the regime) on the whim of its Prime Minister. Its madness. All your refences to what amounts to a massive arrse covering exercise by the Defence Chiefs are noted, I imagine they would like folk to take the line you have.

    I believe the whole episode stinks. It is a particularly inglorious chapter in our largely glorious history. Are you convinced by the explanations given for Dr Kelly's death? How do you explain the 'let off' re the 45 minutes claim, and the whole WMD thing? All total boll0cks, highly suspicious, extremely dodgy, and we the great British public have been hoodwinked.
  12. Well I'm sorry, but an order given to a soldier that involves mobilization and deployment to another country, even if it does mean an invasion is not illegal and has to be obeyed. Even if you class the invasion as wrong. The government has decided the policy and the military have to implement it. Bust. You decide not to play because you don't like the reasons for invading and you are open to corts martial.

    It would be a different case all together if you were ordered to invade, bayoneting women and children as you went. That's an illegal order and you can refuse, but not the order to invade.
  13. All points with which I think you'll find lots of people agree. However, if the government of the day give an order and it is backed up by the lawmakers of the day as 'legal' then it is legal. All the concerns which people may or may not have are moot. Many disagree with the hunting ban - but it has passed into law through the offices of the democratically elected government. It is the law. The same processes mean that the decision to invade Iraq (whilst you might hold it to be morally dubious) was legal.

    Conscientious objectors argue that the profession of arms is inherently immoral or at least amoral, but there is a word of difference between something being distasteful to you as an individual and it being illegal.

    Quite how you manage to raise our imperial land grabbing and empire looting into a 'largely glorious history' and at the same time consider the removal of a corrupt dictator who was responsible for at least 50,000 summary executions annually for the last three decades, had a history of developing WMD/WME, willfully invading his peacable neighbours (oh, and sat on a significant proportion of our future energy supplies) is beyond me.
  14. It may be semantics (but I think it's relevant considering how of often the word 'illegal' is bandied about re Iraq), but does there not have to be an actual 'law' broken for something to be 'illegal'?

    Now I understand that there are international agreements, conventions and consensus (although none of these are anywhere near universal) that countries sign up to, but surely these are nothing more than frameworks within which nations agree to operate. If breaching one of these is a crime then most EU governments should have been in the dock years ago.

    If I agree not to do something and then do it regardless, that may be considered ungentlemanly, but is it illegal?

    Any legal eagles able to clarify?
  15. Surely to be 'illegal' you have to break a law. It is legal to do something the law allows, but illegal if the law dosen't allow it.

    If you break an agreement, it doesn't have to be illegal.

    The main point is that as a soldier, just because your government is breaking an agreement/law, you still cannot refuse a Legal order. The order only becomes illegal when the order you are given contravenes the GC or any other accepted conduct during war.

    The Generals and Politicos may be breaking the law, that's what they get paid for, but that doesn't mean that Tommy Atkins on the ground is..... he's still following legal orders and doesn't get paid enough or know all the diplomatic goings on to make such decisions.