Fletcher in the News

What Do Top Legal Experts Say About the Syria Strikes? Prof. Glennon Comments on Just Security

I asked several of the very top legal minds about their views concerning Thursday night’s airstrikes by the United States in response to the Syrian government’s reported use of chemical weapons. I have provided their verbatim responses below, and will be adding more...

...Michael Glennon, Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Legal Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1977-1980):

While it may be a good idea to punish Assad for using chemical weapons and to deter their use in the future, military action against Syria exposes the United States to the risk of retaliation and involvement in a wider war. No national emergency requires that the decision to incur those risks be made by the President alone. The Constitution places that decision in the hands of Congress, not the President.

It’s equally clear that the missile strikes against Syria violated the United Nations Charter, given that there’s no plausible case to be made for self-defense or Security Council approval. The real question that’s raised – – yet again – – is whether the Charter restraints haven’t been violated so many times by so many nations that they no longer constitute good law.

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