» Monday, March 22, 2004


Asked for a reaction to Jimmy Carter’s comment in today’s Independent’ that the war in Iraq had been based on lies, the PMOS pointed out that several inquiries into the Iraq war had taken place, not least the Hutton Inquiry which had looked very carefully at the issue of integrity. The Butler Inquiry on intelligence matters was currently carrying out its work. He drew journalists’ attention to the fact that UN Resolution 1441 had been the considered view of the entire international community. Whilst there might have been disagreement regarding how the issue of Iraq’s WMD should be dealt with, there had never been any disagreement about the fact that the issue should be dealt with.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. The Hutton inquiry was NOT an inquiry into the Iraq war. 1441 did not authorise war, it specifically stopped short of that which is why a second resolution was required to legitimise such an act. To claim the war was undertaken to enforce UN resolutions is patent nonesense. The UN did not want them enforced in that way. It would be more accurate to claim that the overwhelming majority of the international community was against the war. It would be better if PMOS avoided using the word ‘integrity’ in this context.

    Comment by nigel — 22 Mar 2004 on 6:22 pm | Link
  2. Hutton was an inquiry into whether the Government had told the truth before the war. UNSCR 1441 declared that Iraq was in breach of resolutions 678 and 687 which instigated the ceasefire after the liberation of Kuwait, thereby ending it in law. The UN Security Council has not declared that the war was illegal.

    Comment by David Boothroyd — 22 Mar 2004 on 10:35 pm | Link
  3. The Hutton Inquiry was not an inquiry into the general question of whether the Government "told the truth" before the war; it was an inquiry into "the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly". In addressing this, Hutton considered (para 9) "[whether] the Government probably knew, before it decided to put it in its dossier of 24 September 2002, that the statement was wrong that the Iraqi military were able to deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of a decision to do so" — but that is only one specific statement by the government. Hutton did not address the veracity of all the other statements made by the government.

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 22 Mar 2004 on 10:48 pm | Link
  4. 1) 1441 didn’t authorize war without further action.

    2) During the videotaped briefings that took place on the UN floor, it was clearly stated by France that they were signing 1441 under the understanding that it was not an authorization for war without further action taken by the UN Security Council; the US representative present clearly stated that he agreed with the assessment that it did not authorize war.

    3) A loophole that turned an "or" into an "and" enables 1441 to be interpreted as not requiring such sanction in letter; however, the spirit of its signing was again clearly in the interests of requiring further action from the UN Security Council on breach.

    The actions taken clearly violate the spirit in which 1441 was signed; but may be legal, in the same way that Guantanamo Bay clearly violates the spirit of but may be legal under international treaties.

    The Hutton Inquiry, at the Government’s own word, was not an inquest into the war; nor was it in the scope of Hutton’s inquiry to make judgements as to the legality of the war – a judgement which would have doubtlessly require that he be presented with the Lord Chief Justice’s own private response to the government, a document that has not been, and may never be, made public.

    Hutton said nothing about the legality of the war; it is as wrong for the government to use Hutton’s document as a shield to protect itself as it was to manipulate the outcome of 1441 to be an international blessing for what was essentially a unilateral action. The only thing that spared the governments of the US and the UK was withdrawing the draft work on the post-1441 UN resolution – if that had been tabled and failed to go through, the war would have instantly become illegal.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 23 Mar 2004 on 5:18 pm | Link
  5. Pretty much sums it up for me, Gregory. Once again this government tries to use spin and deceit in the everyday running of government – proof (if any more was required) that they don’t know how to do anything else. This governments duplicity and it’s staggering cheek in declaring itself innocent of anything and everything will never cease to amaze me.

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 23 Mar 2004 on 9:05 pm | Link

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Post a public comment

(You must give an email address, but it will not be displayed to the public.)
(You may give your website, and it will be displayed to the public.)


This is not a way of contacting the Prime Minister. If you would like to contact the Prime Minister, go to the 10 Downing Street official site.

Privacy note: Shortly after posting, your name and comment will be displayed on the site. This means that people searching for your name on the Internet will be able to find and read your comment.

Downing Street Says...

The unofficial site which lets you comment on the UK Prime Minister's official briefings. About us...


March 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Feb   Apr »

Supported by


Disruptive Proactivity

Recent Briefings



Syndicate (RSS/XML)



Contact Sam Smith.

This site is powered by WordPress. Theme by Jag Singh