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The road to war

There are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made in the heart of government that led to Britain's defeat at the UN

By Charles Grant   June 2003

After the victory of coalition forces in Iraq, many people forgot the diplomatic defeat which preceded the conflict. With the benefit of hindsight, the US and Britain would have been better advised never to try for that second UN resolution, but simply to say-as they ended up saying-that resolution 1441 and earlier resolutions provided sufficient cover for military action. The fact that they tried and failed to win further UN backing made the war seem less legitimate than if they had never tried.

Britain and the US should have listened more attentively to the French, who by the turn of…

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