Just Security Podcast: Oona Hathaway on the Bad Legal Arguments for Bombing Syria

Above: A U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber after refueling from a KC-10 Extender following its participation in strikes against chemical weapons targets in Syria, April 14, 2018. Image via DOD.

I spoke with Yale Law School’s Oona Hathaway about the legal arguments that have been put forth to justify the strikes launched on Friday night by the U.S., UK, and France against Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Hathaway walked me through the reasons why none of the arguments provided, so far, hold water. But a bigger theme emerged during our conversation — that of a serious threat to the system of international law that’s kept direct war between major powers at bay for more than seven decades. Friday’s strikes may have been a one-time violation of the law, but they also chip away at the legitimacy of the international system at a time when that system is under deliberate attack.

Enjoy.

Music: Autumn Leaves by Podington Bear

  

About the Author(s)

John Reed

Managing Editor of Just Security (2014-18). Follow him on Twitter (@ReedJustSec).