UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose re-election campaign has been dogged by charges that he joined the invasion of Iraq in the face of advice by his Attorney General that the invasion would be illegal, has published the final draft of the legal advice sent to his office.
I've only had time to read this very quickly, but here are my preliminary thoughts. I invite corrections and amplifications.
To the extent that Blair may have claimed in the past that the advice told him the invasion was legal, the document reveals a somewhat more equivocal endorsement, more of the form of “maybe” or “good arguable case, might not ultimately convince a tribunal.' But the memo clearly doesn't forbid it.
In domestic UK terms, this may still be damaging, since Blair didn't disclose the existence of the doubts to Parliament, and thus can be accused of lack of candor. In US terms, the memo is pretty middle of the road, and won't make partisans on either side terribly happy.
From what I’ve been reading in the UK papers, the larger problem is Blair’s continuing, bewildering insistence that he didn’t receive any mixed signals from Lord Goldsmith.
Michael — you might wish to hear the comments of Lord Chris Patten in the BBC Radio 4 *Any Questions* on this.
In electoral terms, it is unlikely to be damaging – as one questioner in the BBC Any Questions observed (tv program last night) — Mr Blair is extremely lucky that the country has a weak opposition. The simple observation here – to adopt a metaphor (US?) — if it walks like a duck etc.