The legality and legitimacy of the Iraq war in 2003 has been widely discussed before, during and after the hostilities. Though hardly anyone questions the lack of a legal basis for the military operation in Iraq, it has been argued that other grounds could have justified the undertaking of military action. The political support of the Dutch government for the American-led invasion in Iraq needs to be understood along these lines. This contribution focuses on the legal and intellectual trends that can be observed preceding the support given to the 2003 war. These trends could be summarised as a move from legality towards legitimacy, from positive law to morality, broadly understood. The support of the Dutch government for the war can be interpreted as a reflection of a certain discontent with existing international law and of changing attitudes vis-à-vis the international order. The following questions will be raised in this contribution: What was really relevant in this context: the international legal order of the Charter of the United Nations or some other international order dominated by certain values other than the ones embedded in the Charter? Moreover, what kind of a war was the invasion of Iraq: a legal war on the basis of international law broadly understood or an ethical war in accordance with the criteria of the just war tradition? These questions will be dealt with from the Dutch constitutional perspective and from the perspective of ethics.