When a politician says that it is time to “move on” what he or she usually means that they want a public debate about a topic to stop, because they find it inconvenient to talk about it. David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, thinks that we should all stop talking about the war in Iraq.
With the wisdom of hindsight (and some of us never needed the wisdom of hindsight in the case of Iraq) it is now perfectly clear that the invasion of Iraq was the wrong thing to do.
It was an apparently illegal war, with no justification, in my view. I could be wrong about the illegality of law, but there is certainly overwhelmingly a case to answer.
Of course the war removed a wretched dictator who killed and impoverished his own people; that is what wretched dictators do. Removal of them is not a legitimate cause of war.
Now the way we “move on” from an illegal war is to see what international law requires us to do with those who create illegal wars. It seems, according to the judgment of Nuremberg the proper course of action is to indict those responsible for crimes against peace – those who fight wars of aggression. This is one of the seven principles that were found to apply. Another principle is that being head of state of a responsible government official does not relieve a person from being tried for waging an illegal war.
So it seems to me that before we can “move on” as Mr David Miliband suggests, we ought to provide a fair trial for those responsible for fighting the war in Iraq. A fair trial will decide their innocence or guilt. Then we can all move on.