Goldsmith's shift on Iraq war

27 January 2010 by Hermione Gee

Britain’s former top lawyer admitted today that he “changed his mind” about the legality of the 2003 Iraq war.

As late as March 7th, 2003, former attorney general Peter Goldsmith cautioned then British prime minister Tony Blair that, without a second United Nations resolution, the legality of the war was questionable. But by March 13th, two days after a meeting with Blair and his team, Lord Goldsmith had decided this second resolution was no longer necessary.

Goldsmith was giving evidence at the British Iraq War inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot. The public inquiry, which began hearings in July last year, is in the process of reviewing the legal basis for the war.

Earlier this month, a Dutch commission of inquiry into the war found that the 2003 invasion violated international law. The commission also slammed Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, saying he had allowed Britain to “help” establish a legal pretext for the Netherlands’ support of the war against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

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