Tony Blair's stunning admission to the BBC that he would have invaded Iraq regardless of whether there had been Weapons of Mass Destruction revealed the true nature of the U.S -U.K military adventure in the Middle East.
The ugly truth behind the political charade was that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein had been made behind closed doors before any evidence had been gathered.
Blair told Fern Britton that if he had known there were no WMDs he would have still favored military force:
"I would still have thought it right to remove him [Saddam Hussein]" he said.
"I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat."
And that is exactly what Blair did, only it was after the invasion. Once the illusion that Saddam presented a serious threat to our security had vanished, the goal post was moved and the war was justified on the basis that Saddam was a bad man and had 'gassed his own people'. (Bush and Blair of course neglected to mention the fact that we supported Saddam during his worst years, and sold him the weapons he used to kill members of his own population).
Regardless, we now know that the war was not based on an external threat, but on the whims of Blair's personal feelings towards Saddam. And that means not only was the war illegal, but Blair criminally culpable for subverting the legal process and taking Britain to war without due cause.
Article 51 of the U.N Charter states that countries may only use military force if they have been attacked ('the inherent right to self defense'), and Blair clearly violated that law when going to war with a nation that had not threatened the United Kingdom, or any of its neighbors for that matter.
It is unlikely that anything will happen to Blair. The Iraq War Inquiry (the ongoing investigation led by Sir John Chilcot) was set up to thoroughly investigate the events that led up to the war in Iraq, but is ultimately futile since there are no lawyers or judges on the panel to ascertain whether it was illegal or not.
If the investigation was done seriously, there is no doubt Blair would be found guilty of committing a war crime and sent to the Hague.
It is a sad lesson that the law can only be applied to the weak, while the powerful live happily above it.
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