Is a Syria Strike Illegal?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Oona A. Hathaway, professor of international law at Yale Law School, discusses a potential strike on Syria in the context of international and domestic law.


Oona Hathaway

Comments [19]

Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

> Mr. Bad from NYC

> But we know who wants to pay for this one, don't we Edward?

Sunni? Shiite? Wahabbi? Salifi? Soros? OPEC? CAIR? Islamist Regime of Iran? KGB Putins Russia? Some fake "anti-war" racketeer? neo-commies?

Tell us Mr. Bad.

Sep. 04 2013 06:08 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Nobody is being paid to post against "war", in general or specifically with regard to this new and improved Syrian war, that's the entire problem. But we know who wants to pay for this one, don't we Edward?

Sep. 04 2013 02:27 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


The tyrant Bashir Assad, son of the previous Assad tyrant Hafez, is a client of the KGB Putins Russia and protected by a KGB veto at the UN.

Sep. 04 2013 01:41 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Mr. Bad from NYC

> Great stuff, who's paying you to post? Is it the Saudi's or the Qatari's or the Israeli's or both?

Mr. Bad? Who's paying you to post?

Is it the Iranians or the George Soros or KGB Putins Russia or both?

Sep. 04 2013 12:43 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ kaya

Great stuff, who's paying you to post? Is it the Saudi's or the Qatari's or the Israeli's or both?

(You can tell when they're paid because they always point out America's biggest mistakes as a reason to go make bigger one's i.e. you've already invaded two countries and created two bloody messes, why not another 'murica?)

Sep. 04 2013 12:00 PM
RFK from Brooklyn

Ignoring moral arguments or legal justifications for intervention, if we attack Syria, why wouldn't Assad try to find a way to try to kill Americans? When that occurs, won't Obama be obliged to respond?

Any assault on Syria, even the most "surgical" strike, provokes retaliation. Would the bombing of an American airplane resulting in hundreds of deaths be an acceptable "price" for standing up for the thousands being killed by Assad's forces? If that happens, do we respond with more missiles, or do "boots" become justified?

Even if Assad lacks the capability to hurt America's forces or population, an assault by the US will provide rhetorical ammunition which will at the very least allow him to continue to justify violence within his own borders.

Sep. 04 2013 11:54 AM
Prezzy from United States of Lockheed Martin

Illegal?! Has that ever mattered to the U.S. Industrial Military Complex and the politicians who are beholden to them?!! I'd laugh if it weren't such a sickeningly sad joke.

Sep. 04 2013 11:53 AM

Kerry for president .Finally a voice of some moral clarity on this holocaust taking place before our very eyes. We should have come to the aid of the Syrians 2 years ago-as soon as it was obvious that this brutal regime would resort to mass murder of its own people to remain in power. Once the people rise up against tyrants we do have a responsibility to come to their aid. We have bases in this area, we've been meddling in that part of the world including propping up dictators there. It's about time the world put an end to this regime. The guest is basically aquiesing in a holocaust hiding behind legalism. This Syria situation separates the wheat from the chaff as it is exposing the anti arab genocidists who when visions of turning the mid east into a parking lot was dancing in their heads they supported the Iraq and Afghanistan invasion but now oppose stopping the gassing of arab men women and children . A few weeks ago these pundits and politicians had no qualms about publically saying they liked staning on the sidelines seeing arabs killing other arabs-and would joke about it. Now they're not saying that as that would be to admit publicaly they support the gassing of arabs. They're in a bind now so they resort to the only thing they have left; buying into Assad's disinformation campaign of vilifying the rebels; calling them alquada religious fanatics fighting to turn the world into a caliphate.[which is also a smear against alquada who are not necessarily religious fanatics but they are all freedom fighters]or hiding behind legalism of getting UN approval. Their false narrative is collapsing and these anti arab genocidists are are being exposed. Thanks Kerry!

Sep. 04 2013 11:49 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

What this guest high lights is that the UN is a fraud. An organization that simply works for the benefit of nation states seated permanently on the Security Counsel and a corrupt organization for the general assembly.
If international law on the use of chemical weapons can not be enforced by any one then what’s the use of having international treaties or better yet why have a UN?

Sep. 04 2013 11:38 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

The UN security council exists for a very good reason, namely the "world" is bigger than the "west". And when the West wants to do something and China or Russia veto's it because they have security interests that also need to be protected if there is to be world peace, at least nominally, it's a good thing. Because war is the worst thing and if you don't get that you just don't get international relations at a fundamental level. And the chemical weapons agreement has no enforcement clause for a country that is not a signatory like Syria, nor is there any new evidence. This is all about politics and hidden agendas.

@ jgarbuz from Queens

This has got nothing to do with the Spanish civil war where the US did in fact bankroll and supply Franco while refusing arms to the Republicans, as you no doubt are aware. There is no evidence of a legit chemical attack in the first place, there is no international will to intervene in Syria (Brits are out) and this is all about Qatari and Saudi $ bankrolling a regime change so they can run a natural gas pipeline into Europe. This is not about ideology. Get off your soap box, it's just sad warmongering.

Sep. 04 2013 11:34 AM
Julia Wagner from Highland Park, NJ

By putting a public time limit on military engagement, wouldn't Syria be encouraged to just wait it out?

Sep. 04 2013 11:31 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Barbara

I agree that more women should go and fight. Poor men have shouldered the burden and been the main casualties for too long.

Sep. 04 2013 11:31 AM

Hi: Why is there no discussion of what is really behind the U.S. desiring to participate in a war or making it into a war, in Syria? It is about the pipeline, the war is about oil. Why is there no discussion of the real politics in this situation. Read Juan Cole. Read the Guardian. The talk does not include the facts that are behind the scene. The bottom line was described quite eloquently yesterday by Congressman Charles Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War, who knows about war, and who are the ones paying for them, it is the little people, the sons and daughters of the non-elite who fight these battles, and suffer death, disability and lack of medical care, and return to no jobs. Wake up America!! Short term, limited wars, does anyone pay attention to the facts that we are still in Afghanistan and being asked to return to Iraq? Again, who are the individuals that will actually do the war for the U.S.???? in a tribal nest of vipers.

Sep. 04 2013 11:28 AM
Debra from Morris County, NJ

Am I missing something? WHY aren't we, and the rest of the international community, pressuring Russia and China to justify their position, that some kind of response is NOT justified??

Sep. 04 2013 11:27 AM
Ed from Larchmont

We could go to the UN. If they say no, we tried.

Sep. 04 2013 11:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Mr. Bad who apparently knows he's "bad."

I do agree that the Syrian civil war, like the Spanish Civil War of the mid 1930s, is an important test. During the Spanish Civil War, most of the people were caught in the middle between the Fascists, supported by Mussolini and Hitler, versus the Bolsheviks supported by Stalin. The people caught in between, like most of the Syrian people today, only wanted to be free and live in peace. The US was neutral and did not intervene. The League of Nations could do nothing and became impotent. WWII came soon thereafter.
If the US does nothing after the Fascist Baathist regime in Syria openly gasses large of its own people, the whole world will know that there are no longer any "red lines." All is permissible. There is no cop on the beat anymore. Obama understands this, and is therefore understands that the US cannot just do nothing because the country is war-weary, broke, and increasingly isolationist again. He understands there are bigger issues at stake, especially when it comes to proliferation of WMDs.

Sep. 04 2013 11:19 AM
Pilar from Brooklyn

I don't think they are insane, they just think we are all fools and it won't change their political support much.

Sep. 04 2013 10:15 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Unquestionably illegal under international law. We are transitioning the Syrian Civil War (defined as a non-international armed conflict)into an International Armed conflict (between nation states) hence we are "waging aggressive war". A War Crime they hung lots of Nazi's for. Using Obama's reasoning Germany was perfectly entitled to invade Poland in 1939 because the need for "lebensraum" was a protected national security interest.

Sep. 04 2013 10:13 AM
Cassy from Manhattan

I think we just witnessed another "I voted for it before I voted against it" moment. Either Kerry and Obama are incredibly disingenuous or completely insane. I don't know, but typically when a countries military decides to preemptively strike another country with bombs, it is considered and act of war, not a valentine.

Sep. 04 2013 10:06 AM

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