John Howard gritted his teeth and fronted up to the ABfrigginC (thanks to Dexter Pinion for that phrase) last night to get interviewed by Kerry O'Brien. The most interesting question was about Resolution 1441, O'Brien quoted US Ambassador Negroponte during the debate on 1441.
Well I'll put it this way, a part of the basis for your decision to go in and the legality of that decision is based on the premise that resolution 1441 gives you legal authority to attack Iraq. Britain and American co-sponsored resolution 1441 and America said at the time that it voted for that resolution: 'This resolution contains no hidden triggers and no automatisity with respect to the use of force.' The British said exactly the same thing, both promised to come back to the UN for further discussion before any action. Where's the legitimacy of 1441, there has been no further endorsement.
Well Kerry you have misquoted me. We are relying on advice, the essential gist of which is that the failure of Iraq to fully disarm reactives the authority to use force contained in the earlier resolutions of 678 and 687.
But it also, in the advice, it also, it quotes at length from 1441 as well.
I haven't carried the document with me, of course it refers to 1441, but the way you put that question was with respect, misleading. It suggested that that was the whole basis of the argument.
But it's a very substantial part of the advice.
It seems that the coalition of the killing is now pulling a trigger they assured the Security Council does not exist. How was it found? Did they keep the trigger as a concealed weapon? Or is all this legal argument being invented after the fact because the Security Council was about to refuse its authority to the war?
Josh Marshal has the same point at Talking Points Memo.