Friday, July 02, 2010

MPs urge Iraq inquiry to recall Blair.

With the recent release of Goldsmith's advice to Blair prior to the Iraq war, there are several MP's insisting that the Chilcot Inquiry should recall Blair and question him on this subject as, although Chilcot was aware of this evidence at the time Blair was questioned, it was classified and they were unable to raise it whilst Blair was addressing them.

MPs last night said that Mr Blair should be the first of the witnesses to be re-examined. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North, said: "This new evidence is highly significant. I would hope and assume that the inquiry would recall the former Prime Minister to answer for this.

"He always maintained in parliament and public that the war was legal. The inquiry needs to go through the contents of these memos with him."

Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said: "These letters are confirmation of conclusions that had already been reached – either by inference or from other documents which have been previously leaked.

"It's clear the Attorney General's view went through a 180 degree turn while he was in the United States."

Where I disagree with the MP's is that I see no purpose whatsoever in recalling Blair, as that snake oil salesman is not going to be caught out whilst on the stand.

However, I do think it would be useful to recall Lord Goldsmith as I would love to know what occurred to produce such a 180 degree turn in his opinion on the legality of the war.

This seemed to coincide completely with his visit to Washington and his talk with the Bush administration officials, and resulted in Goldsmith suddenly reversing all of his previously held positions and declaring a war he had previously deemed illegal as "legal", even without a specific second resolution warning Saddam that it would take "all necessary means" to see that the resolution was obeyed.

It is Goldsmith who has questions to answer here, not Blair, as Goldsmith's astonishing change of heart gave Blair the cover he needed to proceed.

But Goldsmith has never adequately explained - and has until now been covered by the fact that his memos were classified - what process he used to reverse his position to such an astonishing degree.

Now that these memos have been declassified, we deserve to hear Goldsmith's logic before and after that visit to Washington. Why, in Goldsmith's mind, did something illegal suddenly become legal over such a short period of time? He'll be hard pushed to convince many of us that it wasn't political pressure.

Click here for full article.

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