This is one of the most astonishing political interviews I’ve ever read: Piers Morgan with the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg:
Piers Morgan: Was the invasion of Iraq illegal?
Nick Clegg: There’s a strong case to suggest it was in breach of UN resolutions, yes.
PM: So, assuming it was illegal, would it be justified for Iraqis to exact revenge on Britain?
NC: I don’t think you remedy an act of violence like that.
PM: If Iraq had invaded Britain illegally, you would have said it was morally justified for us to attack them back, wouldn’t you?
NC: Yes, I probably would.
PM: So why is it not morally justified for them to attack us back?
NC: I wish it was that simple.
PM: If it is morally certain one way, surely it has to be the other way, too?
NC: No, you are repeating the error of Blair and Bush, this Old Testament view of moral rigidity that says you compound one thing with another.
PM: If Iran illegally bombs London next month, should we retaliate?
NC: Of course we should.
PM: But you say it is not morally justified for Iraqis to attack us?
NC: Because foreign affairs cannot be driven with absolute moral precision.
PM: I don’t understand why Iraqis don’t have a moral right to attack us if you say we illegally invaded them.
NC: I can see how people could construct a moral justification. But I don’t think the morality of invading Iraq is expunged by them attacking us.
PM: I’m baffled. If Iraq invaded us, you would say it was morally justified to strike back, but it’s not morally justified for them to do it to us even if our invasion was illegal?
NC: If you are invaded illegally, then clearly you feel you have a moral justification. But that isn’t a sensible way to conduct foreign affairs. Bush and Blair waged war on Iraq through misplaced moral certainty.