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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2237966
 
 

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The War in Iraq and the Dilemma of Controlling the International Use of Force


Arthur Mark Weisburd


University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law


Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2004, pp. 521-560

Abstract:     
War has been a principal focus of public international law since the discipline took shape. While lawyers have, over the centuries, concerned themselves with many aspects of war, the twentieth century was distinguished by an effort to establish international institutions intended to prevent states from initiating armed conflicts with other states without some form of international authorization. The longest-lived such institution is the United Nations; the most recent armed conflict that that institution has neither specifically authorized nor prevented is the attack on Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom.

This article advances two theses. First, the attack on Iraq was a violation of the Charter of the United Nations (the Charter). Second, the events leading up to that attack demonstrate that the system established by the Charter has flaws so fundamental that no government can reasonably rely on the United Nations to address its security concerns. That system, often characterized by its intention to subject international relations to the rule of law, is in fact entirely arbitrary at its core. Paradoxically, therefore, the legal obligation that Iraq's attackers breached was a requirement of submission to a system that is itself lawless. The article concludes with an effort to consider the implications of the inadequacies of the Charter system for any effort to control states' choices to go to war by legal means.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

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Date posted: March 23, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Weisburd, Mark, The War in Iraq and the Dilemma of Controlling the International Use of Force. Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2004, pp. 521-560. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2237966

Contact Information

Arthur Mark Weisburd (Contact Author)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-8515 (Phone)
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