"Sir Malcolm Rifkind said that today’s evidence to the Iraq inquiry from Sir Michael Wood [chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office between 2001 and 2006] showed that Jack Straw had shown a disregard for the legality of law. Jack Straw rejected advice from Sir Michael in early 2003 that invading Iraq without UN backing would break international law. Sir Malcolm said Mr Straw had shown “a disinterest a disregard as whether what the government planned to do was legal or illegal”. He said today had been “the most important day of evidence so far” and had put the government in a “dangerous and damaging position”."
At the time Sir Michael had advised that "to use force without Security Council authority would amount to the crime of aggression."
There are all sorts of good reasons why good people oppose or opposed the Iraq war but the obsession with United Nations approval is driving me nuts. Free nations should certainly follow Just War criteria and build broad coalitions for major actions like the Iraq war but many great causes will never be advanced if we wait on the UN for a green light. Look today how it is dragging its feet on sanctions against Iran. Ask the people of Srebrenica (when Sir Malcolm was in the Major Cabinet), Rwanda and Darfur if they think the UN is a great moral authority. Too many members of the UN Security Council have blood on their hands and lack all moral authority. Too many are motivated by commercial interests (including the sale of arms and the purchase of oil).
International laws as defined by Sir Michael Wood deserve to be broken. I don't care about international law. I do care that the Iraq war was incompetently prosecuted. But that's another issue.