This Should be Worth Watching
Robin Cook, Jack Straw’s predecessor as Foreign Secretary and currently leader of the Commons resigned in protest over the impending war today. And he’s scheduled to give a speech, probably around 3:00 Eastern, after Jack Straw’s speech. It’s not on CSPAN’s web page and I’d be surprised but not shocked if CNN carries it, but it should be worth watching if you can find it. I’ll post a transcript when I find one. Why do I think it will be interesting? Here’s a quote from the Guardian describing Mr. Cook:
Mr Cook is now expected to make a public statement on his resignation in the Commons tonight, following Jack Straw’s address to MPs at 7pm.
This could be a highly dramatic moment, as Mr Cook is a veteran Commons orator, and is expected to take apart the legal basis for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq with forensic skill.
Here’s a quote from his resignation letter:
“In principle I believe it is wrong to embark on military action without broad international support. In practice I believe it is against Britain’s interests to create a precedent for unilateral military action.”
Update: Many “liberal hawks” on Iraq find solace in the fact that Tony Blair is in favor of the war. Their logic is something along the lines of “I don’t fully trust the current [U.S.] administration and I don’t think they’ve fully demonstrated the need for war. However, there is probably much evidence that isn’t being made public, for security reasons. Whatever that evidence, it is compelling to Prime Minister Blair. If Blair is convinced that Saddam has or will soon have WMD, then that’s good enough for me.”
It occurs to me that Cook’s resignation may do a lot of damage to this theory. This assumes that as a former foreign secretary, current Leader of the Commans and historical ally of Blair, Cook knows what Blair knows. This may not be a safe assumption though. Blair essentially fired Cook as Foreign Secretary (though Cook remained in the cabinet–the position he resigned today), replacing him (also see this) with the much less liberal and less Europhilic Jack Straw.