International Law vs. The Iraq War

Essay by lifeless07University, Bachelor'sA-, November 2008

download word file, 18 pages 5.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 55 times

IntroductionA current hot debate in international politics is whether or not the United States-led war against Iraq is legal according to international law. When the United States launched a military attack on the dictator-regime of Suddam Hussein in 2002, it sparked this discussion in the international community which continues to trouble the United Nations as well as both the Bush administration and its opposition. Those who oppose the Bush administration's decision to take pre-emptive military action against Iraq argue that according to current international law, the intervention was not lawful. The Bush administration maintains that their actions were legal due to their own interpretation of the Charter of the United Nations and resolutions made in regard to previous international altercations. Who is right? Current international law allows military action to be undertaken under two circumstances. The first one is in unilateral or collective self-defence. If a military strike is launched against a state, it has the authority to initiate its own attack in order to defend itself.

The assumption here is that a state will unilaterally defend itself until the United Nations Security Council can organize more support for them. Secondly, a country may send military forces into another country in the case of a humanitarian intervention, but only in the case that it is rescuing its own nationals or it is invited in by the government of the country that needs the intervention. In both cases, the UN Security Council must give the intervening state the authority to take military action. Neither of these were the case in the United States-led attack on Iraq, and neither of these were even attempted to be used in the Bush administration's legal justification of their invasion of Iraq. In this fairly black and white argument, it is easy to show that the...