Invading Iraq in 2003 illegal: former British deputy PM

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that as regime change was the prime aim of the Iraq war, it was illegal

Britain joined the U.S.-led Iraq War in 2003
Britain joined the U.S.-led Iraq War in 2003

13 years later John Prescott believes that Britain’s decision to invade Iraq was illegal

Former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said on Sunday that he now — 13 years later — believes that Britain’s decision to invade Iraq was illegal in the wake of a report criticizing the British government’s decision to go to war.

Prescott, who served as a deputy to Prime Minister Tony Blair when Britain joined the U.S.-led Iraq War in 2003, wrote in a piece published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper that he has now changed his view on the legality of the war.

” “In 2004, the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that as regime change was the prime aim of the Iraq war, it was illegal. With great sadness and anger, I now believe him to be right,” he wrote.

“A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of decision we made to go to war. Of the British troops who gave their lives or suffered injuries for their country. Of the 175,000 civilians who died from the Pandora’s Box we opened by removing Saddam Hussein,” he went on.

“I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life,” he added.

He disclosed that Blair had written to then U.S. President George W. Bush that “I will be with, whatever” eight months before the invasion.

Prescott also criticized Blair’s way of running his cabinet, saying that it was given “too little paper documentation” to make decisions.

” “The Attorney General, Lord Smith, came to the Cabinet, verbally announced it was legal, but provide no documentation,” Prescott said. “The timing of the decision was clearly designed to endorse an almost immediate action for us to go to war.”

A seven-year inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, concluded that the Blair government’s estimates of the threats posed by so-called Iraqi “weapons of mass destructions” were “presented with a certainty that was not justified.”

“At the time of the parliamentary vote of March 18, diplomatic options had not been exhausted. The point had not been reached where military action was the last resort,” the report said.

Blair this week voiced “sorrow, regret and apology” over mistakes made in the war. But he insisted that the war was right.

But many British people want Blair to face criminal action over his decision that led to the deaths of 179 British soldiers and thousands of hundreds of Iraqi civilians over the following six years.

Notes:
1. Xinhua
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