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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, March 12, 2003



Mark Kleiman Has Questions

Mark Kleiman has some questions about his newly adopted pro-war position:

1. Assume, as now seems at least plausible, that we can't get the next resolution through the Security Council. An invasion of Iraq without Security Council authorization (or, rather, in the teeth of the Security Council's refusal to authorize) would be a clear violation of the UN Charter, which is a treaty with binding force, and one that we virtually drafted as well as having signed. Is it really our position that treaties are mere scraps of paper? Is it really our position that it would be in the best long-term interests of the United States to discard the United Nations machinery?

Wow, I'm already jealous, because Mark must be going to cocktail parties that are a lot more interesting than the ones I attend. At a recent engagement, the most heated discussion of the evening centered on whether nine year old girls should be using deodorant soap. I regret that I am unable to report back as to the various viewpoints, or even my own position on this.

But do I have a positon on this "Ain't it illegal?" question? Oh, how cool would it be if I could drag a professor of international law into the discussion right now to buttress my "Don't be daft, we have current resolutions and past precedent on our side!" argument? Or even better, two professors!

A quick flip to my Daily Anti-War Reader, and I am good to go:

"I just disagree with the secretary general's legal view because there are fundamental Security Council resolutions that underlie this," said Ruth Wedgewood, professor of international law at Johns Hopkins University.

Richard N. Gardner, professor of international law at Columbia University, said that since Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated the conditions of the 1991 cease-fire, "the United States and other countries revert to their rights to restore peace and security in the area" under the resolution authorizing that war, passed in 1990.


Yes, they mention some shades of gray. But "clear violation of the UN Charter"? Hardly.

And nice slanted coverage at the Times, BTW. NO table-pounding prof supporting Mr. Annan's assertion. Couldn't Howell Raines evil minions find one? Andrew Sullivan will be shocked.


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