For neoconservatives the target of Iraq, strategically pivotal and rich in oil reserves, was irresistible. With this target as the principal agent the Bush Administration set out to undermine international institutions and refashion international law. In this endeavour, President Bush found in the present British Prime Minister an ever compliant ally. Our Prime Minister backed the Bush Administration in regard to its so called war on terrorism however lawless and outrageous the means adopted. Encouraged by the excesses of the war against terrorism many countries have adopted repressive policies, believing them now to be justified. Not surprisingly, millions of moderate muslims now regard protestations about the rule of law as selfserving hypocrisy.
Standard anti-war rhetoric? Perhaps, but remarkable for its source; Lord Steyn, until recently one of the Law Lords, giving the Annual Lecture of the Law Reform Committee of the Bar Council, Our Government and the International Rule of Law since 9/11.
Towards the end of his survey of
the modern international rule of a law which has in recent times been traduced by the Bush and Blair governments
Lord Steyn offers the excellent observation,
In the cabinet of Prime Minister Blair two things are apparently forbidden. The first is to say that the Iraq war was a disaster. The second is to say that the world has been made a more dangerous place as a result of the foreign policy of President Bush and the Prime Minister. The pretences must at all costs be kept up. But the public does not believe these fairy tales.
long after the Prime Minister and his present cabinet have gone, our country will pay a price for an abdication by our government of independent responsibility in foreign affairs and for playing a part with the Bush Administration in undermining the international rule law.