The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the end of UK combat operations in Iraq – an illegal war opposed from the outset by CND, which was one of the initiators of the biggest anti-war movements the country has ever seen. CND initiated several legal challenges prior to the 2003 invasion seeking to challenge the legality of the justification used for the use of force. CND now calls for a “comprehensive, open and credible inquiry into all factors leading up to and during the invasion and occupation”.

The recent suppression by Jack Straw of Cabinet minutes prior to the invasion is only the most recent example of the government seeking to cover its own uncertainty over the legitimacy of the invasion. The minutes may have shown that then-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith was initially in agreement with CND’s position, that UN Security Council Resolution 1441 was not sufficient to make an attack on Iraq legal. For details of CND’s legal challenges.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “We welcome the end of UK combat operations, but even after Barack Obama’s ‘withdrawal’ of troops, 30-50,000 American soldiers will remain in a country that will take years more to recover even the most basic of services. Electricity and water supplies are still unreliable for many and the country at the heart of the ‘fertile crescent’ is forced to import 70% of its food. The use of depleted uranium and cluster munitions will continue to take their toll for years with birth deformities a tragic reality in many areas of the country.”

She continued, “The illegality of the war on Iraq, and the crimes committed there, cannot be swept under the carpet. Six years does not erase the guilt of those responsible for breaking international law and bringing about the deaths of countless thousands of innocent civilians and 179 British troops. This will be a running sore, not only in British politics, but in international relations, until the truth comes out and those guilty are put on trial in an international tribunal. We demand the immediate start of a comprehensive, open and credible inquiry into all factors leading up to and during the invasion and occupation of a country that posed no threat to the UK and which even now, is years from recovering from the damage that our country’s actions inflicted.”