Iraq is back

Issue section: 
(344)

One of the revelations at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war was the statement by Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, that versions of Lord Goldsmith's opinion about the legality of waging war without a further UN resolution had been circulated to some members of the cabinet before the Commons vote of 18 March 2003.

I do not know what "ifs" and "buts" were omitted from this secret document. Before this was known, as long ago as June 2005, I wrote a letter to Socialist Review raising the issue, as I understood it then, that no copies had been given to cabinet members. I asked how the cabinet could have questioned Goldsmith about his doubts about the legality of the Iraq war if they had not seen the document detailing them?

Perhaps they supinely thought they could rely on Goldsmith's second opinion, given the day before the Commons vote, which stated the opposite: that it was legal to go to war with Iraq.

John Witzenfeld
London