Tuesday 21 September 2004

I have legal advice too

You don’t fool me.
Many may have thought Mr Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations was wrong-footed last week when he was prompted into saying the war lead by the United States in to Iraq did not conform to the UN charter and was hence illegal.
This has always been Mr Annan’s stance even though he has gone out of his way to try and accommodate the belligerents and suffered great losses as a result.
Every supporter of the war expressed incredulity at his comments; especially those who thought those comments would harm Mr George W. Bush’s re-election plans.
One sees fear of being found out by all those who have brought peace, stability, freedom, instability, woe, democracy and destruction to Iraq but dissembling about the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a premise for invading Iraq.
It is arguable that only the ones who had direct contact with Saddam and his henchmen suffered more seriously at his hands.
What the majority suffers now in the continuous bombings, hostage-taking and lack of amenities belies the fact that things were probably a lot better with Saddam.
Basically, the naivety of the US is exemplified in expecting a pliant and submissive public the day after the war only to be greeted by sophisticated insurgents that have claimed thousands of lives from all spectra.
Legal advice
What was most striking about it all was the interview with John Howard the prime minister of Australia who is presently fighting a re-election campaign.
Having tried to denigrate and castigate the Secretary General, probably with the intent to belittle, discredit and besmirch his good name the commented about the fact that Mr Annan’s view was contrary to the legal advice Australia, the UK and the USA had taken before the war.
Wait a minute! What really constitutes legal advice? It is a position in law that you take regarding an issue, situation or circumstance where those topics are presented to give you confidence in the position you have taken.
Legal advice does not suddenly imply you are right; whilst you might want to think you are, it can be challenged by interested parties in the court of law and found to be wanting when an alternative view is offered. This is how the whole court system works.
A lawyer takes a position on an issue and advocates that position in adversarial stance to the challenger of his views with the judge to moderate and the jury to pass judgement.
Mr Howard, your legal advice hardly past the first hurdle of due diligence in having those views challenged in a court of law, they can hardly be used as corroborative facts to support the case for Iraq.
I think we have all grown weary of politicians telling us they about faceless experts who have said food is safe, mobile phones do not fry your brain, genetically modified crops know their place and would never move out of their enclosure and now that the Iraqi escapade was for the war against terrorism.
For now, I have no time to analyse the quality of legal opinion that informed the war in Iraq, but I do wonder what opinions they now have of the precariously life-threatening situation in Iraq that the cost of insurance is astronomical.
By and large, on face value that statement was valid, but thankfully we analyse everything thing we hear, especially from people of Mr Bush’s political persuasion.
No Sir! I am not fooled.

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