[Marxism] More on U.K. dustup over Blair's claim that Iraq War was legal

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu Mar 24 19:20:04 MST 2005

To picture why this is causing problems for Prime Minister Blair, let's  
imagine that the Iraq War was started by President Gore, i.e., the  
party whose  political base is against the war as they were against the  
Vietnam War.

President Gore cited the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998* and the threat of  
WMD (not that much of a strain since the DP members overwhelmingly  
followed Bush into war).

Let us also imagine that Ronald A. Klain (or Charles Burson),** Gore's  
Attorney General (the equivalent of Blair's Attorney General Lord  
Goldsmith), advised President Gore that the war would be illegal, only  
to change his mind a few days before President Gore pushed ahead with  
the invasion.

And we find this out just a few months before a new national election  
for congress and the presidency. And, of course, Gore is again the  
candidate for President.

* The Iraq Liberation Act cited Public Law 105-235 of August 14, 1998,  
which had declared the Baghdad regime was "in material and unacceptable  
breach of its international obligations," and urged President Clinton  
"to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and  
relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with  
its international obligations." The Act had strong bipartisan support  
in the House of Representatives, then controlled by Republicans.  
Republicans backed the bill by a 202-9 margin with 16 not voting.  
Democrats lined up behind the bill 157-29, with 20 not voting. The  
Senate passed the Iraq Liberation Act by unanimous consent, a Senate  
bill with the same language had been co-sponsored by six Republicans  
and two Democrats, including Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat of  
Connecticut) and then Senator John Ashcroft (Republican of Missouri),  
the current Attorney General. In the House, those backing the bill  
included House Minority Leader Representative Richard Gephardt  
(Democrat of Missouri), Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Republican  
of Illinois), Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (Democrat of Texas) and  
Representative Constance Morella (Republican of Maryland).


from Brian Shannon


By Ed Johnson, Associated Press, 3/24/2005 10:55

LONDON (AP) Prime Minister Tony Blair's government faced renewed  
pressure Thursday to explain why its top legal adviser apparently  
changed his mind only days before the Iraq invasion and ruled Britain's  
participation in the war would be legal.

The main opposition Conservative Party insisted the government must  
clarify how Attorney General Lord Goldsmith reached his opinion, to  
remove suspicions that he had come under political pressure.  With  
national elections expected in early May, renewed questions about the  
legality of the war and the government's trustworthiness is  
embarrassing and potentially damaging for Blair.

''It would be far better if the entire paper trail were to be published  
to reassure the public the attorney general was neither leant on to  
change his views for party political reasons, nor deceived by the prime  
minister on the facts on which war might be justified,'' said  
Conservative legal affairs spokesman Dominic Grieve. ''What happened to  
enable him to alter his position?'' he asked in House of Commons  
debate. ''Does the foreign secretary not realize how corrosive this  
entire episode now is to trust in government.''

The issue of how Goldsmith formed his opinion is politically hot. His  
advice that the war would be legal without a second U.N. resolution  
helped the government win a key Parliamentary vote on the eve of the  
invasion, which backed the involvement of British troops.

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