Things heated up yesterday in Britain’s official examination of the lessons of the Iraq War, with a former member of Tony Blair’s cabinet charging that the British government was “misled” into believing the war was legal.
Since last July, a steady stream of current and former British officials have been testifying before the Iraq Inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot. But thus far, it’s been relatively short on fireworks — until yesterday’s testimony by former International Development Secretary Clare Short.
Short, who resigned over postwar planning problems a few months after the invasion, charged that Attorney General Lord Goldsmith “misled the cabinet, he certainly misled me” on the legality of the war. “But people let it through.”
She said that Goldsmith had been “leaned on” by U.S. and British officials to change his original opinion that invading Iraq would be illegal without a new UN resolution, the BBC reports.
As for Blair, Short accused him of “conning” her and the rest of the cabinet to follow the U.S. into war.
Here, via the BBC, is a clip of Short’s remarks on Goldsmith:
And in this clip, Short argues that Britain’s special relationship with the U.S. — sometimes veering into “unconditional poodle-like adoration” — was the heart of the problem in the run up to the war.
“I think we’ve ended up humiliating ourselves and being a less good friend to America then we could have been if we’d stood up for an independent policy,” she said.
Short ended her testimony to applause from the Chilcot audience.