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The “just war” that was illegal and immoral

3 December 2009
Over the last few days I’ve been watching, on Sky News, reports on the British inquiry into British involvement in the Iraqi-American War.

What I’ve heard and seen so far has confirmed my impression at the time, back in 2002-2003, that there was no real reason for the war other than that the leaders of Britain and the US wanted one. It was George Bush’s second, and Tony Blair’s third, since he was also one of the foremost proponents of the Nato war against Yugoslavia in 1999 (see earlier post).

The inquiry evidence is all couched in careful diplomatic terms, presenting the evidence. But for evaluation of the issues at stake, this piece from the Telegraph, of all places, tells it like it is.

clipped from
First find the heart, Tony. Your Attorney General told you, in writing, the
year before you invaded, that it would be an entirely illegal enterprise.
International law is there for a reason: To prevent the waging of bad wars.
And the Iraq war has turned out to be catastrophically and wickedly wrong.
Ultimately that is not only about illegality. It is about immorality.
The principles of the “just war” have been around since the time of
Cicero and, in Christian thought, the principles of jus ad bellum were
laid down by Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas. They invariably include
defence of the innocent and military force as a last resort.
Blair’s actions were not only illegal, as now conclusively demonstrated by
Lord Goldsmith’s evidence, they were also entirely immoral in the judgment
of his own, universal Church. We can only presume that he confessed all this
and sought absolution when he was received into the See of Rome.
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