The Post-9/11 Discourse Revisited: The Self-Image of the International Legal Scientific Discipline

Goettingen Journal of International Law, Vol. 2, pp. 893-949, 2010

Posted: 15 May 2010 Last revised: 28 Feb 2011

See all articles by Ulf Linderfalk

Ulf Linderfalk

Lund University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 11, 2010

Abstract

A few years ago, the legality of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was a topic much discussed in the international legal literature. This article approaches the problem from a new angle. Rather than investigating the relevant issue of legal substance – whether or not OEF was ever consistent with international law – the article focuses attention on the general scholarly performance in dealing with this issue. Scrutinizing the literature published immediately following upon the events of September 11, 2001, the author suggests that overall, the scholarly debate on the legality of OEF did not live up to the standards normally applied in serious legal analysis, and that hence, the debate should be characterized as poor science. The article presents this criticism in further detail. With said criticism as a basis, in a concluding part of this article, the author takes the investigation one step further. As he suggests, when scholars engaged in the post-9 11 discourse, there was something about the whole situation that greatly constrained them. They were obviously hesitant to conclude that in circumstances like those of 9 11, there would still not be any right of self-defense to exercise. So much did they hesitate that they thought the opposite conclusion worth the prize of far-reaching infringements of the most basic of scientific quality standards. Why this hesitation, the article asks. What force or forces are compelling international legal scientists? As the author suggests, this question bears directly on the particular self-image of the legal scientific discipline and the role it envisages for itself in the international community. He concludes the article by initiating a discussion on this very delicate issue specifically, introducing for this purpose a description of the international legal scientist as archetype.

Keywords: International Law, International Legal Science, Archetypes, Operation Enduring Freedom, Right of Self-Defence

Suggested Citation

Linderfalk, Ulf, The Post-9/11 Discourse Revisited: The Self-Image of the International Legal Scientific Discipline (May 11, 2010). Goettingen Journal of International Law, Vol. 2, pp. 893-949, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1604384

Ulf Linderfalk (Contact Author)

Lund University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Box 207
Lund, SE-22100
Sweden

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