By Howard Zinn • The Progressive • August 2002

The Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war so flagrantly violates both international law and common morality that the American people must demand a real national debate. The discussion should begin with the recognition that an attack on Iraq would constitute an attack on the Charter of the United Nations, since the United States would be in violation of several of its provisions.

One such provision says, “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…” (Article 1, Section 4). But let us suppose that the principles of international law should not stand in the way when extraordinary circumstances demand immediate violent action. Such circumstances would exist if there were, in the language of our own Supreme Court, a “clear and present danger” represented by Hussein’s Iraqi regime.

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