Is War Against Iraq Legal Or Not? a Debate Between Roger Normand and Ruth Wedgewood

March 19, 2003


War against Iraq is "unequivocally illegal under the UN Charter and international law." That is the conclusion of a new report by the Center For Economic and Social Rights.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for the U.S. and U.K. to base war on Resolution 1441 when they are fully aware that France, Russia and China approved that resolution on explicit written condition that it could not be used by individual states to justify military action," said CESR Executive Director Roger Normand, who recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq.

"This war violates every legal principle governing the resort to force. It clearly has little to do with disarmament, democracy, human rights, or even Saddam Hussein, and everything to do with oil and power."

The report warns that an illegal war in Iraq would threaten the pillars of collective security established after World War II to protect civilians from a recurrence of that unprecedented carnage.

Meanwhile other international law experts say the United States is well within its legal right to attack Iraq. Often cited is Iraq’s failure to abide by the ceasefire agreement that ended the first Persian Gulf War.

Today we are going to have a debate on the legality of a U.S. attack against Iraq.

  • Roger Normand, executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights.
  • Ruth Wedgewood, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor of international law at both Johns Hopkins.

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