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Simpich writes: "During this momentary lull of US threats on Syria, this is the time for Americans to call on Obama to stop our country from acting as a rogue state. When you have momentum, use it. If not now, when?"

President Obama. (photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)
President Obama. (photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)

US Missile Threats Make Any Syria Treaty Illegal

By Bill Simpich, Reader Supported News

18 September 13


uring this momentary lull of US threats on Syria, this is the time for Americans to call on Obama to stop our country from acting as a rogue state. When you have momentum, use it. If not now, when?

The citizens of the world must make it clear that the USA has no right to make threats of force against nations that have not threatened the United States. Any treaty that results from a threat is unenforceable. Do we really want an agreement with Syria that is null and void?

Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter makes it plain. "All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations."

This rule is so strong that it explains why Obama recently announced that he will not seek a Security Council authorization of the threat of the use of force in Syria. Under international law, the necessary conditions do not exist for the Security Council to take any such action in this setting.

Article 53 of the UN Charter mandates that a nation cannot use force against another in a situation other than individual self-defense unless it is necessary to maintain collective peace and security, and unless said force is approved by the Security Council. The Obama administration cannot use threats of force to back up its credibility or to punish Syria for past acts. Neither one of those acts maintain collective peace and security, which is what is needed to even request Security Council approval.

It is common for people to argue that threats are what bring people to the bargaining table. It is one thing to promise to protect your interests - it's another thing to threaten to fire missiles at the other side. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties makes it clear that if threats of using force are made during diplomatic negotiations, then any resulting treaty is invalid: "A treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations." Although the US Senate has not ratified the Vienna convention, many of its provisions are considered to be customary international law.

The US itself has argued to the World Court that the prohibition of the threat of use of force is a principle of customary international law. The World Court has held on several occasions that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter retains its full force and effect as applicable international law.

Under the law of state responsibility, the state that has unlawfully made threats of force has the duty to halt the conduct, and provide appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition. If economic damage has resulted, the state responsible for making threats of force must make full reparations.

This is the moment to ensure that Obama takes missile strikes off the table. Otherwise, he could wind up with a chemical weapons agreement with Syria that is unenforceable. Threats of war have been condemned by the entire world community. What we need now is some dogged follow-up.

Constitutional law professors and their students might consider circulating a petition directed to the nation's most powerful constitutional law professor to halt this pattern and practice of illegal threats to wage war. Any world leader who is serious about peace should call for a halt to any and all threats of preemptive missile attacks. The Friends Committee on National Legislation has all the information you need to contact your member of Congress. Any peace groups that focus on being effective will take this issue head-on.

Instead of threatening war, why not threaten to begin an international arms embargo?

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+49 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-09-18 17:43
Great idea. An international arms embargo would be wonderful but has no chance of getting any traction in our rotten government. There is money to be made in weapons of mass destruction. Lots of money!! And our national mantra is, "Make a buck!! Anything is just fine as long as you make a profit. That is the only business left in our sorry nation. Making bombs and killing innocent people. Makes me so sad to be a citizen of this evil empire. We must change our government. We need REGIME CHANGE AT HOME!
+19 # reiverpacific 2013-09-18 18:17
You may have to establish a "Twelve-Step" program like A-A, along with an intervention coalition of the concerned to stop the US's addiction to war, call to war and threats of war.
Trouble is with intervention, it usually takes one or two strong but persuasive concerned people to get a drunk into A-A or any recovery program. What d'you do when the "Drunk's" muscle is bigger than the next 26 "concerned" countries combined?
Suggestions please?!
+2 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-19 09:24
We are faced with a perfect paradox. Underneath all politics are economics. Until we get our act together as a people, they have perfect control. The only viable constitutional sovereignty here is 1st Nation. As invaders we have no rights. As immigrants we can acquire rights. We all need to honour & respect 1st Nation cultural heritage of peace & prosperity.

Gandhi & India's 'Swaraj' ('self-sufficie ncy') & 'Satyagraha' ('truth-search' ) as well as 1st Nation 'Great Law of Peace based in living in proximity & welcoming inclusive economy in Production Societies, are 1st steps. We build mutual-aid, self-reliance, honest communication & participatory company ownership & management for all stakeholders, then 2nd we boycott hierarchal damaging monetary-capita l corporations. It only takes a 5% reduction of existing sales in order to bring down most of these top-down corporations. During the United Farm Worker Grape Boycott, we only touched 7% of the market at our maximum impact. If we make 'swaraj' permanent by employing the Great Law of Peace in every domaine of our lives, then it takes even less.
+6 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-18 19:11
It gets rather tiresome for this individual to be repeatedly referred to as "constitutional law professor" when, in fact, 'constitutional law lecturer' is all that was ever a proper description. OK? everyone?
+2 # Quickmatch 2013-09-19 09:14
A word search of this document reveals only one use of the word professor: in the next-to-last paragraph, beginning "Constitutional law professors and their students might consider circulating a petition..." This obviously refers to persons currently in academia, and not to "this individual" by which I take you to mean the POTUS. That places you in the position of a hair-trigger, anti-Obama critic who jumps at any misinterpretati on possible to use as a bludgeon against the president. Of course, it's your right and possibly pleasure, to do that, but in the situation at hand (the UC response indicates he did hold "professor status"--http:/ /www.factcheck. org/2008/03/oba ma-a-constituti onal-law-profes sor/)it makes you read like a nit-picker.
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-19 11:05
Quick(with the mouth)match, what are THESE words:"the nation's most powerful constitutional law professor". Where did they appear in this article? Your factcheck article is not authoritative as I have multiple references otherwise. You might as well be honest and divulge the koolaide content of your blood.
-2 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-19 12:39
And this article (from these pages) makes you look like an idiot, yes?:

Defend the poor, picked-on community organizer do you?
+3 # Timaloha 2013-09-19 14:40
Sorry, genius, Obama WAS a professor. Don't believe me? Well, here's what his employer at the time, the University of Chicago said on the record when asked about Obama's employee status...
: "The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a PROFESSOR in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times DURING HIS 12 YEARS AS A PROFESSOR IN THE LAW SCHOOL, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined." (emphasis mine)
As the employer, the University of Chicago is the ultimate authority on whether or not Obama was a professor and they say he WAS. Nice teabagger talking point though.
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-21 14:58
Nice flavor of Koolaide you're drinking. It is far from amusing how 'the left' covers the tracks of that pervert and that certainly includes you. Defend the poor, picked-on community organizer do you?
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-22 06:42
I should believe you when you defend the person who has done more to obscure his past than any public figure in recent history? Yeah, right, you and "it" just overcome my skepticism. Your "ultimate authority" does not overcome textbook definition, Tim. I DO endorse SOME of the things you have written in other posts --- when you are the skeptic.
+4 # tigerlille 2013-09-18 19:27
U.S. + Obama/Cheney = Rogue Nation.
+3 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-18 19:34
US self-declared Policy for a New American Century & New World Order outlined plans to invade Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Jordan etc. 'Nuclear-War in Syria' compiles US, Canadian, NATO, Israeli & Saudi deception over Syria's government's supposed use of Chemical Weapons by western financed, armed & sourced Foreign Mercenary (over 50% of supposed 'rebels').
Official US government supply of weapons is only the surface of massive CORPORATION arms, munitions & false-security flows of Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Legislative -Terror-Complex . Here are international UN, US Generals, Intelligence dissenters on our kill policy.

We've a case of 'Intellectual-C owardess', for western war-economy nations, who don't know how to engage perceived enemies in equal-time, recorded & published formal dialogues. All war is unnecessary when formal dialogues can bring to bear popular knowledge, resources & cultural action for resolution.
Dialectic ('both-sided') dialogue must become de rigeur in human relations as previously during 100s of 1000s of years of 'indigenous' (Latin 'self-generatin g') peace & prosperity. We need a culture of dialectic rights in every home, school, company, institution, law & government with processes for every person having the right to debate events & structures.
+1 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-19 11:10
Check out the wonderful article revealing the exact reason these countries were targeted. It was in these pages and concerns non-cooperation with the BIS and the derivatives scheme that has ruined bout everyone 'cept Germany --- and the targeted nations. There IS a money trail and cui Bono leads to the reasons and culprits - every time.
+1 # Douglas Jack 2013-09-19 15:31
John, Thank you for your reference to the Bank for International Settlements as the key World War driver which we face today. I am familiar with some of their nefarious scheming to destroy the world. It follows that a bank committed to colonialization (International Settlements) a la Israel has a deep misunderstandin g of the bio-physical world in which we live. Do you mean 'cui-bono?' as to 'who-benefits?'

Western colonials haven't matured to know that; 2-dimensional 'agriculture' (Latin 'ager' = 'field') is a huge purveyor of scarcity. Cutting down the abundant 'indigenous' (L 'self-generatin g') 3-D polyculture orchards has led to a vast drop in human ecosphere productivity. Results of 7 decades of UN research reports on Agro-forestry, permaculture, forest-gardens consider indigenous polyculture as 100 times or 10,000% more productive than agriculture. Tree-led production photosynthesize s 92 - 98% of solar energy & converts this into food, materials, energy & water-cycle. Tree roots descend 10s of metres into the earth's substrate to hold & pump water, mine-minerals & develop vast nutrient colonies.

Nature based biosphere aligned food production is the foundation is the abundant foundation of human economy. When we got this fact wrong after 1000s of years of imperial colonial aggression, then every other subsequent economic aspect has been warped.
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-22 06:38
Yep, going by the sound instead of looking it up. Thanks DJ.
+3 # geraldom 2013-09-18 20:12
It doesn't matter whether we have Obama as president or George W. Bush as president. There is no difference. Our true goal, no matter who the president happens to be, is to find some excuse, any excuse, to overthrow Assad as president of Syria and him with someone that we, the United States approves of, someone who will be what Nouri al-Maliki is and what Hamid Karzai is, a dictator under U.S. control.

So, even if Assad were to give up every single bit of his chemical weapons, the United States will find some other reason to attack him as we did Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. And when we achieve our goal in Syria of creating another puppet government only answerable to the United States, our next target will be Iran.

The only two countries that can stop the United States on it roll to take over every nation on earth is Russia and China, and they seem to be acting like wimps right now. They seem to be acting somewhat naive and ignorant of what the United States is out to do. Eventually, they will be on America's bulls eye if they continue to have their blinders on.
+2 # James38 2013-09-19 02:12
I find the following statement so inaccurate and untrue as to be disgusting: "It doesn't matter whether we have Obama as president or George W. Bush as president. There is no difference."

GW Bush, is clearly a War Criminal. He and his fellow war criminals Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and others who caused the "War of Lies" in Iraq, would certainly be convicted if brought to trial.

President Obama ended that war, and should not be mentioned in the same sentence with our list of infamy, our unpunished and unacknowledged war criminal past administration.

One of the policies of President Obama with which I disagree was his decision not to prosecute the Bush War criminals, but I understand that there were compelling political reasons for that policy decision. Politics is the art of the possible, and Obama has been forced to compromise in various ways that I am reasonably certain were distasteful to him - but the decisions allowed him to accomplish other goals that would not have been in reach otherwise.
-1 # geraldom 2013-09-19 17:48
One of the problems we have in this country when it comes to extremists is that there are people who are diehard supporters of a president, be it Bush or be it Obama. You happen to be a diehard supporter of Obama. As far as you're concerned, he can do no wrong. When he is wrong, it's not his fault. It can be blamed on others or it can be blamed on politics and not the man.

No matter how bad things got under Bush, Bush always had that hardcore 30% who supported him, no matter what, and you seem to be that hardcore group who will support Obama no matter what.

There's not enough space to detail it all here, but Obama has not only failed his Democratic voting base and the independent voters who made him president in 2008, he betrayed them in a massive way and he knew he was betraying them, and that truly adds insult to injury here.

You claim that Bush was a war criminal and I wholeheartedly agree with you and he should have been prosecuted as a war criminal and a traitor, but Obama is as much of a war criminal as Bush was and as much of a traitor to this country as Bush was when it comes to foreign policy and national security.

The NDAA and the NSA spying which Obama was well aware of and tried to lie his way out of with the American people makes him a traitor for violating the heart of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. His illegal drone warfare that murders innocent people almost everyday throughout the world makes him a war criminal.
+6 # rockieball 2013-09-19 06:35
With all the Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons we have stockpiles of, what would our reaction be if another country threatens to us force of we do not get rid of them? Monsanto aside we have used chemical warfare in the past. Example Agent Orange in Vietnam which still effects both plant and animal life including humans.
+3 # walt 2013-09-19 07:28
If the USA is so concerned that Assad used chemical weapons, why are we not making a case against him in the UN and at the Hague?

The reason is because it has nothing to do with the criminal act of gassing people, it has to do with where they might launch another attack.

That leaves this whole matter to serious questions for which Americans need to keep demanding answers.

And yes. The USA should never be acting the part of the bully. This must be a matter for the international community. Americans should never forget the lies told to invade Iraq. That was a lesson learned.
-5 # Patrice Ayme 2013-09-19 07:51
War against Assad will happen, no matter what. Why? Because Assad is a monster. He is nothing else. He caused the death of at least 110,000 already, and millions of refugee, just to stay in power, with the complicity of the world's richest man, Putin. An entire fourth branch of Assad's army exists: the chemical army. It has struck with gas at least 34 times.

It does not matter how much Putin pays pundits in the USA to say the opposite. At some point, striking Assad will become the obvious solution, to help children, even to cowards, and those who know little.

The pundit who wrote that piece omitted history: Assad threatened many countries in the past, including France and the USA. He also had Hariri, who was Lebanon most prominent politician (PM ten years, overall) assassinated. Why? Assad said it himself! Because Hariri wanted Assad's army out of Lebanon.

France, could well use Assad's threats as a casus belli (something that the UN Charter allows).

Another thing: UN Chapter VII allows for intervention for humanitarian reasons. France used that override many times (Bosnia, Libya, Ivory Coast).

Ultimately, even if the USA chickens out as it did in 1939-1940, the French Republic will go ahead, make her own coalition, and strike. If France had not attacked Hitler in September 1939, it would be a different world. One where human rights would be viewed as secondary.
+1 # Timaloha 2013-09-19 15:01
I'm sorry, but, "America chickened out" in 1939? Because we didn't want to jump into a another European war after we just bailed you out of one twenty years earlier? Maybe we thought that since you had a 10:1 numerical advantage on the Germans t you MIGHT be able to take care of yourselves. We were, of course, wrong. Your "attack on Hitler" was the botched Saar offensive (which would be better labeled a feint). France got its butt kicked and soon began a full scale retreat to Dunkirk and England where those Frenchmen willing to fight waited for the USA to build up the allies to the point where an invasion of Europe was possible. Those Frenchmen that did not fight, instead collaborated with the Germans by establishing the Vichy Government. The USA may not have joined the conflict until 1941, but in doing so we (and several allies) SAVED France. The French don't get to accuse anyone of chickening out.
+3 # Dale 2013-09-19 09:48
In the American construction of a New World Order, the United States in the aftermath of 9/11 drew upon the experience of 50 years of anti-communist interventions throughout the world and became a Super Rogue State. The Super Rogue under Bush and continuing under Obama with only minimal constraints declares its right to use unilateral preemptive military means against whatever nation or political group is deemed to present a challenge to imperial design. It uses economic and military aid to construct and fortify Client Rogues that pursue policies of official terrorism, Israel being a prime example. The Super Rogue uses terrorist means to wage a War on Terrorism. The root causes of the terrorism of the desperate are totally ignored. Terrorists are to be exterminated, the horror of which incites resistance, initiating an escalating chain of violence. The Super Rogue works to dominate international institutions, successfully with the IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organization and when it does not get its way, seeks to undermine or to make these institutions irrelevant to its actions, as in several UN agencies, even the UN itself. The Super Rogue violates international law, established treaties, and human rights at will and with impunity and then celebrates these violations as bringing freedom and democracy.
+2 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-19 10:53
"You can't even run your own life, I'll be damned if you'll run mine." applies. Threaten nobody. Threaten nothing. Mind your own business (of taking the log out of your own eye(for another good reference)).
+2 # JohnBoanerges 2013-09-19 10:58
PS. FCNL is composed of non-Christians who have lost their way and have allied with violence and coercion. Their credibility is exactly.... what?
PPS. "Christian" means conforming ones life and practices to the life and behavior of Christ (who was not known for proposing coercion on people).
+1 # mjc 2013-09-19 11:40
The US pays no more attention to the UN or its Charter or any of its resolutions than any other of the world represented there. There have been hundreds...thou sands?...of resolutions regarding Israel and its threats and military actions and lack of understanding of what a peace settlement means, and any resolutions that are not kind to Israel are voted down by the US in almost knee-jerk reaction. The Soviet Union has had an enormous amount of ill will expressed in the Assembly and in the Security Council but that has not bothered the USSR nor Russia. Anyone of the Security Council members just pose the question of "who do you think you are judging us?" to all critics and violators of the UNCharter. It is foolish to think otherwise in this day and age.

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