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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 17:01 GMT
Was the Iraq war legal?
We discussed the legality of the war in Iraq in our global phone-in programme, Talking Point.



Tony Blair has again argued his case for military action in Iraq, and suggested that International law and the UN charter may need to be changed to deal with the terrorist threat.

It was an attempt to stem the criticism of his decision to go to war, but it has not been entirely successful.

Former chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, disagrees with the argument that war was justified by Iraq's breach of previous UN security council resolutions.

"I don't think the council gave any licence for any future actions", he told BBC News Online's Talking Point programme.

Earlier this week, a group of lawyers asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the role of British politicians in invading Iraq.

Do you accept the legality of the war? Should international law be changed?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

International law, as we know it, is meaningless if the most powerful countries in the world choose to ignore it. I wonder how much longer the UN can survive if its most prominent member and the country responsible for 25% of its operating budget, does not believe that organization has any laws it is bound to follow?
J. Christopher Evans, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Tony Blair's suggestion to the need to change the international law is a reflection of his guilt and indirectly admitting that the war he waged against Iraq was in fact illegal. We could safely assume that Blair and Bush felt that "the law of the jungle" at that time was adequate enough to apply in support for the invasion of Iraq. They conveniently "throw away" the international law to suit their objective. This is what we called double standard, high-handed on the part of the superpowers.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

The war was not illegal. A country has the right to defend itself. If a country run by a nut acquires WMDs or says he has them, then the country is a threat. In addition, Saddam was a monster who slaughtered thousands and had to be removed. International law should be amended if it does not call for action against the dictators of the world. The UN is inept when it comes to taking action. The slaughters in Cambodia, Rwanda and Yugoslavia should not have happened. You cannot live in a shell and turn a blind eye to such massacres.
Steve, Santa Ana, USA

Both Iraq and the US illegally invaded a UN-member country, but only Iraq faced the consequences. Why? Might is right period.
Hakim, Montreal, Canada

Yes, legal. Certainly the right thing to do. The UN has a serious credibility issue and should have taken action years ago, but then consider what countries are on the "security" council.
Rasheed, Washington dc, USA

If the war in Iraq was legal, then Blair would not be trying to change the International law that we (US and UK) violated regarding pre-emptive strikes, would he?
April B, USA

Although I'm glad Saddam has gone, I fear what will eventually replace him once the US gets tired of this mess & pulls out
Mike Stollov, Seattle, USA
Although I'm glad Saddam has gone, I fear what will eventually replace him once the US gets tired of this mess & pulls out regardless of the consequences. As for war crime, the invasion was clearly illegal & the justification given has been shown to be untrue. .
Mike Stollov, Seattle, USA

The Iraq war is illegal not only because of international law and the UN charter but also because the reasons for going to war it seems were false. If that was not enough the occupying force failed to protect hospitals, museums etc which is also another violation. It is true that Saddam is gone but what is happening, to the country. To end it all what kind of democracy do we have when it is one designed and imposed by the US?
Nabeel Hamarain, Abu Dhabi, UAE

I shall leave the issue of the war's legality to lawyers. But the war is certainly anything but moral. Besides, what is moral may not be legal, and what is legal may not be moral.
K.J. Lee, Singapore / United States

No it wasn't. The wars never were right or "legal" (how funny it is to put this 2 words together). But unfortunately it was the only sensible thing to do in that moment.
Sonia Mari, Milano Italy

The legality of the invasion of Iraq is now irrelevant. Saddam Hussein is gone, the Americans & allies are there. This is the world order for now whether we like it not.
John Youngs, London UK

I agree with the war
Lori, Ayrshire
I agree with the war. So many times we hear about certain situations and scream out WHY DOESNT ANYONE DO ANYTHING TO HELP. Then when the greatest nations on earth do something all of a sudden people are wishing no one bothered. Aren't we here to help each other?
Lori, Ayrshire

Iraq was invaded for a host of reasons, most of them sensible. If all international law achieves is vacillation in the face of modern terror and the survival of murderous regimes, then who cares what the lawyers think?
David, Leicester, UK

The Iraq war was not legal as it was without UN approval.
Kim Sun Hwa, Seoul, Korea

Who cares if it was legal or not. Saddam and his evil regime murdered tens of thousands over its years of brutal repression.
Peter, Indonesia

It was not illegal. Once a country by its actions has violated the United Nations charter, there is no inaction of the members of the UN that can repair that situation. The shame is that other offenders are not challenged the same way Iraq was.
Reg, Sydney Australia

I think resolution 1441 made the war in Iraq perfectly legal.
Justin Hughes, Tacoma, USA

To Justin Hughes: Resolution 1441 never gave a green light for the war. And the argument that Saddam Hussein's cruel regime has been removed is not weak when you see how many innocent people have been killed during the war and are killed by the follow up of this war.
François, France

People can say that this was illegal because there was a lack of UN Security Council Backing as much as they like. But the reality is that Saddam broke international law on many occasions. The lack of UN backing just gives the signal that they condoned his actions and the UN is fast becoming irrelevant because of this.
Bradley Thomas, Evesham, UK

It is wrong to insist that the legal advice be published
Robert McBride, Bromley

It is wrong to insist that the legal advice be published. We all have the right to private counsel. However whatever the advice the facts do not change, the war was fought without legal foundation and the content of the Attorney General's opinion is irrelevant.
Robert McBride, Bromley, London

I think the idea of removing Saddam from power was the right thing to do, but the way we were lied to about the reasons is pretty shameful. Therefore I'm inclined to think it was illegal because the reasons were untruthful.
Gavin Muncaster, East Cowes, UK

The actions by the coalition on attacking Iraq seem to have no material foundation and it is very relevant to question its legality in the well documented arena of international law.
EC, USA

International law states plainly that Bush and Blair's 'boring' war was illegal. But as we should all know, it is nothing new for the powerful to choose when these laws should or shouldn't be broken.
Phil Woods, Wellington, New Zealand

The Iraq war was not legal because of the lack of backing by the Security Council
Shanam, Mbale

The Iraq war was not legal because of the lack of backing by the Security Council and the wide mass protest against the war. In addition, the main aim was WMD which until now have not been found, hence no justification of the war.
Shanam, Mbale, Uganda

Of course Saddam was a dictator, but does this make destroying a country legal? If Bush really cared for Iraqis he would've killed Saddam without destroying their country. Instead, he killed thousands of people and destroyed hundreds of houses. In fact, when we take a closer look we can see that Saddam was only an excuse to overtake the resources of Iraq.
Abdallah Ch, Tripoly, Lebanon

This war was no more legal than the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Sanctions must be applied against the invaders.
Sarita Boolell, Mauritius

There is no point in deciding if something was legal or not if there is no way to prosecute those responsible or prevent such things from happening in the future.
Yakov, Moscow, Russia

He posed a clear threat to the West and his neighbouring Arab states
Sam M, England

Of course it is legal. Hussein violated numerous UN resolutions, possessed WMD and other lethal weapons (which he used in the first Gulf War remember?!), as well as slaughtering millions of his own people, especially the Northern-based Kurdish population. He posed a clear threat to the West and his neighbouring Arab states. To dispute the validity of this war is nonsense; it is the same liberal, ignorant loud minority of the British population who tried to stop war with Nazi Germany in 1939.
Sam M, England

Yes it was legal, Saddam broke the UN charter the moment he started conducting genocide against the Kurds. If the UN aren't big enough to uphold its own laws then somebody has to, because he was an evil dictator that needed bringing down!
Darren Foster, Truro, Cornwall, UK

Al-Qaeda hated the military dictatorship in Iraq and Bin Laden must be delighted that Bush and Blair have deposed Saddam and brought chaos to the country, all thanks to their illegal war.
Ray Tollady, Oxfordshire

The question should be was it a morally "just" war, in which case the answer must be yes
Duncan, Colchester
Legality is not the issue as international law, particularly as represented by resolutions of the UN, has very dubious legitimacy itself. The question should be was it a morally "just" war, in which case the answer must be yes.
Duncan, Colchester, England

This war broke international law. Bush violated the UN laws and went on his illegal rampage against the will of his people and the world.
Derek Mueller, New York, United States

How do people expect to have got rid of Saddam Hussein? To see so many people argue that this war was unjustified must only strengthen the resolve of Saddam sympathisers killing Americans, British and Iraqis all over Iraq.
Boris Forey, Singapore

The reason why US and UK, attacked Iraq was to stop an imminent threat to their National security and to not only but world peace. With no such threat war on any nation cannot be justified or can be legal.
M Chatur, Lonson

Every dictator has to be banished! Any war against a freaky situation is justified! I can say this, i used to live under dictatorship!
Dana Gabriela Chmilevschi, Iasi, Romania

So Saddam, that famous law abider, may have been deposed illegally. At worst it's rough justice at best it was legal. Either way he's gone and I don't think the average Iraqi will really mind either way. Sometimes there's legal and illegal and sometimes there's right and wrong. Now bring on Mugabe.
John Lenihan, Swindon, England

Blair the trained lawyer must hope that Blair the politician can continue to dupe the British electorate
Arthur B Fantini, Welwyn Garden City
In his Sedgefield speech, Blair sought to justify his decision to attack Iraq, in the absence of any evidence of WMDs his original justification, by shifting his reasons to a new illegitimate post hoc appeal to humanitarian principles.

Blair the trained lawyer must hope that Blair the politician can continue to dupe the British electorate with his claim that because he 'believes' UN law to be inadequate he is justified in leading the nation in the pursuit of illegal wars instead of first having the law changed: this is an appeal to the law of the jungle.
Arthur B Fantini, Welwyn Garden City, UK

If Blair thought the war was legal why did he struggle so hard to obtain a second resolution? It was of course because he did not originally think the war was legal without one. This is also why he wont reveal the Legal advice given. Tony Blair is acting increasingly like a Dictator whose enthusiasm for ensuring that every one else obeys the law contrasts with an evident conviction that he himself is above it.
James, London

I think this matters because war was not the only option. The evidence from Hans Blix and various sources now seems to be that Iraq had complied with the resolution to dispose of WMD. It looks to have been just as possible that continued inspections in Iraq and the addition of Human Rights inspectors combined with international pressure would also have brought down the Iraqi regime, with control by the UN and without the massive loss of life and economic chaos now involved - as well as the increased activity by al-Qaeda. I think there is now so much legal manipulation within the Government and establishment that I find myself more afraid of loosing my rights and freedoms by action of the Government than by terrorism.
Keith, Rayleigh, England

To all those Americans who want to use UN resolution 1441 to justify the war: You should remember that those nations who signed up to it wanted the UN inspectors to have sufficient time to finish their work. That is, if they found anything conclusive, the US could go ahead with their war (inferred, but not absolutely determined by the phrase: "serious consequences"). As the inspectors had found no "smoking gun" then the UN could not sanction the war. However, all of this was irrelevant to the Bush administration - they had forged their war plan long before and had determined to start it by March 0f 2003 (so as to avoid the heat of the summer) no matter what the UN or its inspectors had to say.
Martin, Hanover, NH, USA

Civilization is at stake, but most are too naive to realize it
John, New Jersey
Using diplomacy and boycotts against rogue Nations does not work. With the current severe threat posed by Nations such as Iraq (and others) as well as the terrorist groups that they support financially and materially, any war against them is LEGAL as far as I am concerned. Civilization is at stake, but most are too naive to realize it. You don't need to be a prophet to predict the future we face, especially if we become complacent again.
John, New Jersey, USA

So Blix has joined Short as a far-too-late, hand wringer of peace. Unfortunately for them, we were still at war with Saddam's regime. Therefore, like it or not, the war was legal and Bush/Blair are safe from prosecution (as if anyone would). Unfortunately for these two however, that safety does not extend to the Ballot Box.
A Sweeting, Leicester, UK

The whole Iraq operation is symptomatic of the US administration's imperialist disposition. By trying to impose a so-called superior set of values at the expense of people's lives, the US is reverting to the days of European colonisation. If society has advanced mentally, culturally and spiritually since, should this archaic outlook still command an audience?
Ridwan Abbas, Brisbane, Australia

I am curious as to why people think the UN is the legal & democratic body that trumps US law. Our constitution does not recognize the UN and the US does not answer to the UN or any other country for that matter. Just because you repeatedly say that the UN is over the US, does not make those propaganda statements true. Because the US can stand on its own, makes its own decisions and the good or bad of those consequences is the real issue that ticks other countries off!
Jen, USA

Saddam and his junta became out of control and had to be stopped
Kamal Al-Nasir, UK
As an Iraqi I think the war was legal as Saddam and his junta became out of control and had to be stopped. They became unruly by the united nations. They were like drug barons that had indulged in their power so far they forgot that Iraq belonged to an international family. I find the UN completely useless and should be sued by the Iraqis for behaving so indecisively against Iraq. I think also Blair and Bush should cut the BS and come out straight with it and say that they had an international duty to get rid of such a tyrant. Hope they have also learnt their lesson and not tell lies to the world in future and get on with regenerating Iraq soon...
Kamal Al-Nasir, UK

Under whose law is the toppling of a bloody dictator "illegal"? Under whose law is a dictator looked upon as being a "sovereign" entity? During the Serbia/Kosovo conflict there was no UN permission to topple Milosevic as Russia was then playing the same "veto threat role" as France did last year. After 12 years of violating UN sanctions- why was the Iraq conflict "illegal"? The leadership shown by the US, while Europe waffled and people were being slaughtered in Kosovo, to topple Milosevic did not face this level of baseless scrutiny. If just one "EU" country would have had the ability to topple Saddam it would have attempted such a measure... Perhaps only after a decade long debate, and appointment of a red-caped "Super Commissioner" to determine the "extent" of human suffering there.
Daniel, Venice, CA USA

We went to war on Iraq on the basis that by hoarding WMD they had defied the UN. But in going to war, we defied the UN ourselves. And now, having found out there were no WMD to hide, we have to confront the fact that we were totally wrong in defying the UN ourselves! There's no question in my mind the war must have been illegal, and carried out under fairly incompetent pretences, if you ask me.
Mercy, London, UK

What's done is done and the people must decide whether or not their own leaders were justified enough to be re-elected
Mike, USA
Is there any real relevance as to whether it was legal or not? Who's going to prosecute the US or UK? No one. What's done is done and the people must decide whether or not their own leaders were justified enough to be re-elected. In the case of my country, I think Bush has wasted enough of my fellow Americans and tax money.
Mike, USA

Imperialism is amoral and by definition illegal, so this war is without question illegal. The real issue here is the willingness of the media and a large segment of society to simply turn a blind out to the facts. The only reason this war was fought was to defend American global dominance visa vie Europe, Russia and China.
Steve Schiesser, Oakland, CA, USA

Was Saddam's brutal oppression and genocide legal? Was his repeated defiance of UN resolutions? Was his use of chemical weapons on Iranians and Kurds legal? No. Was an invasion to depose him and instate a democratic government legal?
Tom, UK

Saddam was not a good guy but he has always had help from the USA and other superpowers. But Saddam at least was feared and there was a sort of order. Now it looks like the jungle and even worse there might be a serious religious problem between Sunnis and Shiites.
Souley, Conakry, Guinea

The war was illegal - not only did it go against international law, it also went against the democratic process of the UN. People who talk about bringing democracy to Iraq seem to have forgotten this. The underlying point is, no-one can justify a war in terms of being the world's policeman if it is not done through the proper legal and democratic channels. The UN is the closest thing we have to a world government (this century we will need one), and if its processes are ignored then we have rule by "might is right" instead. And politicians are potentially so devious that they cannot be trusted to act in our best interests, and in the world's best interests, if they take action of this kind without broad-based international backing. Without it, all we can do to check if they're taking appropriate action is to sit through months of expensive public enquiries after the event, with many of us suspecting that the results are meaningless anyway.
Jonathan Kerr, Guildford, UK

Is any war legal?
Paul, San Antonio

Is any war legal? And who decides legality, the winners, the losers or the bystanders?
Paul, San Antonio, Tx, USA

The war was not legally justified under the UN Charter, since there can be no argument of self-defence or UN authorisation. It is hard to believe that the violation of a fundamental rule of international law, against the use of force, can have been impliedly authorised by the Security Council. There is therefore little coherence in the coalition's defence of the war.
Nat, London, UK

Point me to the law saying it was illegal.
Samuel Alunni, Sterling, Massachusetts USA

Don't forget to include, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld as well!
Susanne Hornberger, Los Angeles, USA

The war ON Iraq was illegal. It was a design to bolster the military-industrial complex with an aim by Mr. Bush seeking not to suffer the same fate of his father, which is, to be denied 4 more years in the White House.
Ashford Maraj, New York USA

Resolution 1441, whether you like it or not. It made the war perfectly legal
Justin Hughes, Tacoma

Resolution 1441, whether you like it or not. It made the war perfectly legal. Do you honestly think Bush didn't ask his lawyers before going to war. Why else has the UN not tried to punish the US...
Justin Hughes, Tacoma, US

The only thing that was illegal was when Iraq spent 10 years defying UN resolutions. To allow self appointed lawyers to watchdog over government operations would be like appointing North Korea president to watch over civil rights. Not a good ideal!
Janet Barber, USA

If the Iraq war was not legal, then what value are the UN resolutions and the voice of all the nations who voted for them. In the long run, do you think that the people of Iraq will thank the nations who freed them from tyranny or will they thank the others who sat back and gnashed their teeth?
Penny, USA

How can you decide how legal a war is? The fact is that an evil man who was a threat to his own people and the region as a whole has been removed from power.
Phil Spragg, Cheltenham, England, UK

I agree that whilst we have paid a heavy price for the freedom of another country, I believe that price to be justified
Ian Balfour, Worcester

I am growing weary of people questioning Britain's decision to go to war with Iraq. I agree that whilst we have paid a heavy price for the freedom of another country, I believe that price to be justified. Why don't those who continually criticise those who made the decision, sit back and consider the good that has been done by our country's actions.
Ian Balfour, Worcester, UK

The War was illegal outright. The US/UK politicians used deceptive means to try to convince the UN Security Council to approve the invasion. Getting no support, the Americans/UK etc decided to attack Iraq anyway. Many of these dubious justifications are now thought to be wrong. Not only is this war illegal but an immoral and unjustifiable one.
Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE

Good lawyers will always make the law fit the crime
Daniel Brett, Kolkata

I think the issue of legality is irrelevant. Good lawyers will always make the law fit the crime. The question is whether it was ethical. In this sense, I believe it was morally unjustifiable, in terms of the war aims, the brutality of the aerial bombing campaign and the country's post-war collapse.
Daniel Brett, Kolkata, India

Morally it was justified in my view. Saddam was one of the worst dictators in history, and I can't see what the fuss is about.
Paul, Wales

For anyone who suggests the war in Iraq is legal, they should look at the suffering of Iraqi people which has gotten worse since the War. At least, when Saddam was in power there was some sort of control. Now there are too many groups who want power.
Ali

The argument that the legal advice should remain confidential is laughable
Adam, London
The argument that the legal advice should remain confidential is laughable. The legal advice was given to Tony Blair in his capacity as representative of the British people, not in his capacity as Tony Blair. The British people should therefore have the right to see the advice. If Tony Blair had paid for the legal advice out of his own pocket, then he would have a right to keep it confidential.
Adam, London, UK

The majority of people in the Arab world seem to have no doubt about the fact that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq is a new crusade and not a war topple a dictator or to destroy WMD.
Chaker Benamar, Al-Hoceima, Morocco

Of course it wasn't legal and this should not be forgotten merely because the deed is done. Not only have thousands died but years of carefully built international relations have been damaged. Bush and Blair should pay a severe penalty for their reckless behaviour.
Frederick, London, UK

Determining the legality of the war against Iraq is meaningless if those who were responsible for arming, supporting and propping up Saddam Hussein's dictatorship are not brought to justice. The layman in the west just does not see that the anger expressed by the Arab and Muslim world is due to intrusive foreign policy of many western nations which ultimately results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of their own people.
Abdul M. Ismail, Liverpool, UK

In my opinion war was legally justified to enforce previous UN resolutions
Matthew Knowles, Loughton
The attention is currently on the recent UN resolutions from the past two years. In my opinion war was legally justified to enforce previous UN resolutions, I believe about 12 of them from the 1980s and 1990s, that Saddam Hussein had refused to comply with. We should be thankful that some UN members have the moral backbone to prevent the organisation going the way of the League of Nations.
Matthew Knowles, Loughton, UK

Why all the hand-wringing over whether the war was 'legally justified'? And if a bunch of lawyers or judges say that it wasn't legal, so what? Does anyone really think something will happen to Bush or Blair as a result? The legality of the war is irrelevant. Whether you approve or disapprove of it, it happened. Get over it and move on with trying to bring coalition troops home and turn the country over to the Iraqis.
Richard, Columbia, SC, USA

I don't know if the war was legally justified or not because the government refuses to release the relevant information that would enable me to make that judgement. Having said that the governments very refusal to release the information indicates to me that the contents are not in their favour and thus the war was probably illegal.
Richard Read, London, UK

The war was legal, both in relation to established conventions and under resolution 1441. What was only raised a couple of times before the war and most people have also forgotten was that technically we were still at war with Iraq anyway. As with most recent wars since WWII, after the first Gulf War there was no peace treaty, only a cease fire. The cease fire was conditional upon Iraq complying with all of the resolutions relating to Kuwait, WMD etc. Resolution 1441 made it clear that Iraq was in breach of 12 or so resolutions and gave them a "final opportunity" to comply. In effect therefore the Security Council agreed unanimously that the cease fire had been repeatedly violated by Iraq. That alone was justification for resumed hostilities. And yes, I am a lawyer!
David Shakesby, Swansea, UK

War is separate to the law and an entirely different entity
Ann, London
Weary of lawyers, being governed by lawyers and legal technicalities. War is separate to the law and an entirely different entity. The main non-legal points here are: the premise given which led the UK into war; and the lack of other key world players, such as the UN.
Ann, London

The coalition countries were acting completely legally in invading Iraq, as the UN resolution said that there would be severe consequences if Iraq didn't co-operate. It would only have been illegal to invade if the resolution had said another resolution was necessary before invasion.
Graeme Phillips, Berlin, Germany (normally UK)

I do accept the legality of the war, but I'm not sure there really is a (national or international) legal framework for governing such actions. What legal mechanisms were in place (i.e. UN) utterly failed to confront the problem for more than a decade. The legal case for war may be tenuous, but I believe the moral and strategic case is clear.
Guy, USA

The legality of the war is not an issue that exists in isolation - it is part of the wider argument about the morality of the war. Displaying contempt for most of the population of the world, planning badly and failing to take the time to consider the consequences of your actions, allowing commercial considerations to take precedence over humanitarian considerations, outrageous hypocrisy - all of these things made this war illegal and immoral.
Katherine, London, UK

If international law prevents us from legitimately confronting threats then the problem is with international law
Robert, Zürich
Law is not handed down by God, it is a tool created by man. If international law prevents us from legitimately confronting threats then the problem is with international law. There was no credible alternative to war with Iraq; it was the right thing to do.
Robert, Zürich, Switzerland

No! All possible alternatives were not exhausted; international WMD inspectors were in Iraq when Bush & Blair decided to commit a serious crime against humanity. There is absolutely no excuse!
Hiroshi Arashi, Gold Run, USA

I am no lawyer, I can't say whether or not the war was technically legal. However, if this war is deemed legal it certainly sets a dangerous precedent; other countries will feel that 'we'll get them, before they get us' logic is sufficient basis to go to war. If the war is deemed legal it would also seriously undermine the importance of the UN, who did not authorise the war.
Will Bugler, Hereford, England

It is important for Tony Blair to maintain the facade of a legal war, because otherwise the judgement of the Nuremberg Tribunal [which is now international law] will apply and he will be in big trouble indeed. "To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Karen Sellers, UK

As a British Soldier based in Baghdad right now I can see the good that we are doing
Dave B, Baghdad
As a British Soldier based in Baghdad right now I can see the good that we are doing and the local population we encounter only tell sad tales of the days under Saddam. To make things clearer to those at home, during excavations, we have even found Iraqi Fighter/Bomber aircraft buried deliberately under the sand dunes. Who's to say he hasn't buried the rest of his munitions or WMD?

I'm happy to be here and feel we did the right thing. We have been slow to move in before and watch atrocities take place before such as Bosnia or Kosovo. Our achievements in restoring Iraq to a prosperous, peaceful country with potential are thwarted by the various Anti-Coalition factions who set out to destroy any progress we or the people of Iraq are making. Look at what Iraq can be now it is free, not for the reason which may (or may not) lie hidden somewhere.
Dave B, Baghdad, Iraq

I believe the question should be: "Is it ok for US and UK to break International law?"
IF, Russia

I believe the war was legal (Saddam was in breach of many UN resolutions), & just & justified! Well if this has taught us anything, it is that the UN Resolutions are not worth the paper they are written on without American firepower.
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, England

Under what system of law could this war be regarded as legal?
Peter Nelson, Boston
The UN is not a lawmaking body, and anyway it didn't authorize this war. And there IS no other international law. So under what system of law could this war be regarded as legal?
Peter Nelson, Boston, USA

At first when I heard of WMDs obtained by the former dictator Saddam Hussein I saw it as a legal war; but of late with the inability of producing these weapons of mass destruction my mind has started judging the justification of the war.
Zachariahbah, Freetown

This war may have been technically legal, it may not. But are you seriously saying that you would prefer that all the people in Iraq who can now finally speak their minds and have their own opinions should have stayed under control of Saddam? If we had tried to remove Saddam without war, it would NOT have worked.

Also, now that the USA and the UK have shown that they are serious about their threats, a lot more countries will cooperate when asked to get rid of any WOMD that they have. Finally, if you do not trust your Prime Minister, why did you vote for him?
Andrew, England

If Blair government really believed that an old UN resolution acting under Chapter VII (allowing force) gave them legitimacy for invading Iraq, then why did they try to pass a second resolution, when resolution 1441 had no automatic trigger for use of force?
Mark, Ireland

Does it matter? There's no use crying over spilt milk. Much better to use resources to actually help the people affected.
Mags, Oxford, UK

Legal confirmation that the war was illegal will do more damage than good. What is in the open and can be seen is enough to convince me that the war was a bad strategic move in all its aspects even if it was legal
Artur Freitas, Johannesburg, South Africa

Thanks to Bush's policy things have gotten a lot more dangerous in Iraq
Brian, USA
Legal?! Thanks to Bush's policy things have gotten a lot more dangerous in Iraq, thus making the country extremely unstable. I hear about the daily killings of US troops; that made me upset. All of that would send President Bush out of office in November. It's the same way the brutal 1968 Tet Offensive ended LBJ's presidency!
Brian, USA

Simple: If you agreed with the war, it was legal; if you didn't it was illegal. The facts whatever they are on the legality of the war will probably be argued about forever.
Gary, UK

What if it was illegal? The damage has been done!
Tuncay, Paris, France

A living truth that with the sufficient power all rules of law and legality can be bent and even broken.
Omar, Egypt

Everything that I have read or heard about this war has convinced me that it was illegal. It appears that international law has been bent and twisted (just like the intelligence) to fit in with the decision, which had already been made, to go to war
Paul, UK

This war was/is not even close to being justified, legally or otherwise. It's a sham and a horrible, horrible foreign policy blunder that will haunt the US and the UK for a long time.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

When we complain about the pending introduction of ID cards, the cry from Government is "you have nothing to hide" etc. Ok if the Government has nothing to hide, then publishing the AG judgement should not be a problem - should it?
Maurice, Newcastle, England

From the strict legal point of view the answer is 'no'. The fact that Saddam was a murderous tyrant did not make a war against him legal as long as he killed only his own citizens ('internal affairs' as cherished by all repressive regimes). So the question is whether the war was justified (not the same as 'just'). To that my answer is 'no' but may have been 'yes' if the war had been much earlier or a few months later (WMD findings provided).
Hartmut, Berlin, Germany

Of course it was legal
Brian O'Hare, NY
Of course it was legal. Saddam Hussein, as a member of the UN, had already broke that charter by conducting genocide against the Kurds and the Shiites. So, what are we supposed to do if the UN wouldn't enforce its own laws?
Brian O'Hare, NY, USA

The Government has already published a summary of the Attorney-General's advice, so why can't we see the full version? Because, of course, the 'war' (or invasion, to give it its proper title) was based on the premise that we could make a pre-emptive attack since we were under imminent threat ourselves. If that turns out not to be the case, then the war would technically be illegal. No WMD, no lawful war.
Rob Griffiths, Bournemouth, UK

In a word, "no." This is because if you have to ask the question then, whatever the legal eagles tell us, the wider public will see the invasion and subjugation of Iraq as wrong.
Stephen, York UK

This war was illegal and unjust. Bush and Blair had no right to attack a helpless nation because they "thought" it had WMDs. Now thousands of deaths later we find we were misled with cherry picked, faulty intelligence. Iraq is more unstable and on the brink of civil war as today's deadly explosions prove, and the administrations responsible for this blunder should be held accountable.
Roseanne S, NJ, USA

The people of the UK have every right to information of this nature
NP, Birmingham
No. Seeing as democracy fell by the wayside over the whole matter (remember the poll results), lets put it in business terms. As a shareholder in this country I expect 100 percent transparency from both my board of directors and its solicitors. The people of the UK have every right to information of this nature.
NP, Birmingham, UK

Given the information provided by the UK, USA and Australian governments prior to the invasion, no. If they were more honest and clear on the reasons (and deliver the message accordingly) then the community would be in a better position to decide
Robert, Brisbane Australia

There are a lot of 3rd world countries out there. Iraq had sanitation; the people had food and jobs. The billions of dollars could have been spent to save and free so many innocent. Saddam was a bad guy, but at least his people were fed. A lot more good could have been done with a lot less money and a lot less violence. This war isn't justified. No WMD no need to invade.
Bill Tsoukalas, Australia, Sydney

Until WMDs turn up, which was the ONLY reason given to justify the war, then the answer has to be no. Toppling a regime is against international law. So unless the UK and US can prove that Iraq was about to attack either one, then there are no legal grounds for the war. Links to al-Qaeda were non-existent. And for all those that scream about freeing the Iraqi people, wake up to reality. I tend to doubt that most Iraqis feel free these days. Security is practically non-existent. And religious differences are becoming more pronounced..
Neil, Switzerland

My opinion as a lawyer is that the UN Security Council resolutions under discussion were either too old or too vague to justify the war on Iraq (or at least to justify the self-appointment of a coalition for war on Iraq led by the US and the UK). But even if you would accept that these resolutions would, technically speaking, allow the war, you still have to bear in mind that the purpose of Security Council resolutions is to voice the opinion of the Security Council.

And the opinion of the majority of the Security Council was very much against an attack on Iraq by the US and the UK at that point in time. That is why I strongly believe that the war on Iraq and its subsequent occupation were and still are illegal.
John, London, UK

To describe the patchwork of treaties, theories, accepted practice and philosophical discussion as international law is something of a misnomer
Hugh, London
To describe the patchwork of treaties, theories, accepted practice and philosophical discussion as international law is something of a misnomer - such 'law' is broad, vague and almost indecipherable, rarely yielding a definite answer which can be regarded as binding on the parties. Indeed whether or not there is even a 'law' as such is debatable. Furthermore, asking a lay person to comment on this issue is tantamount to asking them to comment on the mechanics of nuclear power or a jet engine. We are simply not qualified to answer. Was the war 'justified' might be a better question as that does not involve any technical discussion of law but rather a subjective value judgement where we all have and may express a view.
Hugh, London

In case of war in general legality is not the main issue and usually even irrelevant.
Jan Bukowsky, Santiago, Chile

The war is illegal, the majority of expert lawyers throughout the world know this. Some sort of honour, equivalent to the George Medal, should be given to whistle blowers who expose illegality in the civil services and the secret services. M/s Gunn and others should be honoured. Perhaps this should be awarded by the Eminent religious and moral leaders of all faiths, and marked by some sort of religious service.
John, Shifnal Shropshire

The government may exercise its right to silence. We may draw an inference from this silence.
Mike Holmes, Edinburgh, Scotland

I don't think the average Iraqi on the streets of Baghdad cares whether it was legal or not.
Giles Clinker, London, UK

The super powers decide what is legal
Btnay, Singapore
What does it matter whether it is legal or not. There is nothing the UN can change. The super powers decide what is legal.
Btnay, Singapore

Since I'm not a lawyer it's hard to say whether the war was legal or not. I do find it curious that whenever Blair is in a corner (such as here, and also whether Leo had the MMR for example) he starts to bluff and bluster and come up with one reason after another why he doesn't have to tell us. In the meantime his silence causes resentment, suspicion and mistrust while he wonders why people are cynical of politics.
John B, UK

If the war was legally justified Blair would publish the Attorney General's advice and all relevant documents. He would also agree into a full independent inquiry into the causes of the war. The fact that he refuses to do both of those things suggests that the war was illegal, immoral and based on lies about non existent WMD.
Richard Cotton, London, UK

Legal? I think not! The very fact that the UK Government refuses to publish the ruling speaks volumes.
john, Harrogate, UK

What legality is there to accept ? I'm not aware of any law in the UK that precluded the actions of the UK and parliament voted for action by a clear majority. I'm not clear what this "international law" is that we keep hearing about from opponents of the war. Who passed these laws and how do I vote against them if I disagree with them? Of course International Law actually means UN approval for the war, which actually means UN Security Council approval for the war.

So approval for the war is delegated to a seedy process of buying off opinion across a coalition of France, Germany, Russia, China, Guinea, Pakistan etc. This does not seem to me to in any way a legal justification for anything! I am far from an admirer of Tony Blair, but we elect politicians to make decisions. In less that 24 months you will have your say and if you disagree with the war then vote against Labour.
Mike, Brighton, UK

There was no legal justification for this invasion
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey
Some people could justify this war by removing a dictator. Although I don't agree with them, I can understand them. However, there was no legal justification for this invasion.
Mustafa Yorumcu, UK/Turkey

As much we can argue - the fact remains that the war has already taken place and there is not a lot that can be done about the loss of life and lives of the Iraqi people. Lets deal with the issue of trying to rebuild the country !
Rohan, UK

No, the war was not justified. We were told lies by both the Bush and Blair administrations. There are no WMD, there is no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and this war was not about the liberation of the Iraqi people. It is about paying off the businesses that supported the elections of the respectless administrations.
Doug Fisher, Asheville, USA

Personally, it will have been better to have finished the U.N inspections and have a broader world support before invading. However, as long as oil is involved the U.S will do whatever it wants to secure its interest.
Sal Moujaled, Raleigh

I certainly do not accept the legality of this war, and I never have done from the outset. The US and the UK should have learned from Afghanistan, which is clearly a much worse place than it was before the ousting of the Taliban regime. There has been far too much in the way of lies, spin, and cover-ups over this war, with even more still coming to light. Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush should do the honourable thing, and resign before things get any worse. They should then be made to explain their actions, and be punished duly for them!
Andy, Leeds, UK

How could this war be justified if it was never approve by the UN, the WMD was never found
Gabino, Panama
How could this war be justified if it was never approve by the UN, the WMD was never found, the real true story is beginning to come out of the dark and I am sure they would be more in the future." Hail Mr. Bush those who are going to die salute you."
Gabino, Panama

It was not legally justified. The reasons both governments give about the urgency of facing Saddam's danger against the world were simply lies or half truth manipulation. The real reasons were another: oil, power, hubris. And the meaning of set up a democracy there, was a clear misunderstanding of the real situation in Iraq. And the whole world is suffering the consequences of that illegal decision.
Hellen, Buenos Aires, Argentina

No not at all. Just as the leaders stay in power we are hearing few strange things. We may know many things after those leaders were defeated soon. A real question for the American people, really do you think the war is needed. You lost nearly 600 soldiers according to the official figures. Is it worth for what have been done or what you get from Iraq. I think the people with no thinking can agree to what Bush and Blair says about the war.
Mano, Japan

No. It was conducted without UN sanction. The signatories to the UN Charter reneged on their commitment to abide by its decision.
Tanveer K., Clinton, USA

The constitution of the United States says Congress shall pass no resolutions giving the president the power to make war. The congress must vote for and declare a state of war---such as in ww2.
CR Ketner, Clinton, Tennessee, USA





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