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Blair Thought Iraq Legal Advice Was 'Provisional'

Unlike George W. Bush, Tony Blair didn't have his legal counsel give the opinions he wanted to hear, he just ignored them. Blair now says he thought the advice Lord Goldsmith, Blair's attorney general, gave him before the Iraq invasion was "provisional"—that Goldsmith would eventually change his mind about needing a stronger legal case for invasion. Blair is being probed in a second British inquiry into the legality of the Iraq invasion, and said in a written statement that he believed Goldsmith wouldn't think a second U.N. resolution against Iraq was needed once he knew the full details of past British and American negotiations with Saddam Hussein. In a 2003 memo, Goldsmith told Blair that U.N. resolution 1441 did not by itself authorize force against Iraq. A note was found next to that particular sentence in Blair's handwriting: "I just don't understand this."

January 21, 2011 2:01 AM