My Audacious Hope: President Obama Will Respect the UN Charter

Speaking of the audacity of hope, here is my hope for the Obama
Administration. I'd like to see if we could get through four years of
the Obama Administration without invading, bombing, or threatening to
invade or bomb any other countries in violation of the UN Charter. Is
that too audacious a hope?

My audacious hope is that during the Obama Administration, we'll never
have to chant or sing "No Blood for Oil," as CodePink did Monday in
the "protest cage" at the DNC in Denver:

Democrats often fault the Bush Administration for rupturing our
relations with allies with its invasion of Iraq. The criticism is
correct, but it finesses a key point. Why did the U.S. invasion of
Iraq rupture relations with allies? Because the Bush Administration
thumbed its nose at international law and the UN Charter.

We need a very vigorous and sustained public education campaign in the
United States for the UN Charter, and particularly for its prohibition
on the use of military force against other UN member states. The
principal justification for the creation of the United Nations at the
end of the Second World War was precisely to create such a binding
prohibition on the signatory countries.

There are only two exceptions to the prohibition: immediate
self-defense against actual armed attack, and military actions
authorized by the UN Security Council. Since the US invasion of Iraq
was not in immediate self-defense against armed attack, and was not
authorized by the UN Security Council, it was illegal, as former UN
Secretary General Annan affirmed.

If we had a culture of intolerance in the United States for violations
of the UN Charter by our leaders - like the attitude we have towards
driving while intoxicated - the US invasion of Iraq could never have
taken place, and all those lives would have been spared. The U.S.
invasion of Iraq was only possible because we have a cavalier attitude
towards international law, at least as it might apply to the United
States. That's not for us, that's for the little people.

We need more Members of Congress like Dennis Kucinich, who, in his
powerful speech to the DNC, included violations of international law
in his litany of charges against the Bush Administration:

My guess is that Dennis' will be the only speech at the DNC that takes
note of the fact that international law also applies to the United
States. Let's get busy turning that around.

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