Lord Goldsmith on The War in Iraq

Lord Goldsmith has been questioned today about the part he played in allowing the war in Iraq. He had originally said that going to war with the country would be illegal, but then changed his decision and declared that it would be legal for us to invade.

The former Attorney General had been pressed for a solid yes or no answer on the legality of military action; he had appeared reluctant to give a clear decision in the first place. When pressed by the Armed Services, Lord Goldsmith knew that he must be on one side or the other, and felt that he owed it to the country’s servicemen and troops to reach this decision.

Previously, Lord Goldsmith had told Sir John Chilcot that he had serious reservations about the legality of going to war, and this was relayed to then Prime Minister Tony Blair as a draft during 2003. When asked about this, Lord Goldsmith admitted that he was being “overly cautious” with his advice.

Lord Goldsmith went to Washington in February that year to meet with US government lawyers; he then informed the senior advisers to the Prime Minister that they would not need to consult the United Nations for specific authorisation to go ahead with military action. This was seen as the “green light” that they needed to proceed.

It was in March 2003 that Mr Blair was presented with a legal document from Lord Goldsmith that stated they had a “reasonable case” for going ahead with military action and no further Security Council support was required. The invasion of Iraq went ahead two weeks after that. Lord Goldsmith had told the government in 2002 that the invasion would be illegal unless they had a UN Security Council resolution mandate.

The investigation now taking place will look into whether there is any truth in the rumour that Tony Blair “bullied” his legal adviser into agreeing that the war was justified. It has been suggested that this is the real reason Lord Goldsmith changed his mind, and this is a major issue raised in the Iraq Inquiry. Mr Blair denies putting pressure on his senior legal adviser.

The war in Iraq has affected the lives of so many, and is a concern of several London escorts who have friends and family on the front line. The country will wait to hear the findings of the Inquiry, and decide whether or not the invasion on Iraq was justified.