Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The attack on Syria and self defence

The Bush amplified definition of self-defense is simply a self interested definition that supports US aggression. It also removes any credibility that the US still has on the international scene. The same self-interested redefinition of terms has occured in the definition of torture. Experts can always be found to support these redefinitions and they are usually well rewarded for doing so. The second quote is from the NYTimes.
The first quote is from a widely accepted view of what would constitute justified anticipatory self-defence by the famous American Daniel Webster. The Syrian attack as the Pakistan attacks hardly fit the terms of this definition. Neither did the original invasion of Afghanistan let alone Iraq.

The most widely accepted modern standard for anticipatory self-defense was articulated by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster in diplomatic correspondence with his British counterpart over the Caroline incident (often mischaracterized as the Caroline "case") and consisted of two prongs. One was that the need to use force in anticipatory self-defense must first rise to the level of being a necessity, and one that is instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation. The other requirement was that the action taken must be proportionate to the threat and not be excessive.




But in justifying the attack, American officials said the Bush administration was determined to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent.
Together with a similar American commando raid into Pakistan more than seven weeks ago, the operation on Sunday appeared to reflect an intensifying effort by the Bush administration to find a way during its waning months to attack militants even beyond the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the United States is at war.
Administration officials declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside Iran that have been used to train Shiite “special groups” that have fought with the American military and Iraqi security forces.

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