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A masterly account of morality and war! Its central argument is simple: the impartial exercise of international law is needed to control abuses of state power and to govern foreign policy. Richard Falk brilliantly demystifies how recent practices of geopolitics have overridden and manipulated international law and how many of the crimes of the powerful have been obscured in the process.

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In "The Costs of War: International Law, the UN, and World Order After Iraq", Richard Falk, brings together some of his recent essays, published and unpublished, examining the impact that the Iraq War has had and will have on international law, human rights, and democracy. A new introduction provides an overview as well as a sense of the current context and reflects on the internal prospects for Iraq and on the logic of an early U.

Having been revised and updated to take account of the march of events, the essays are organized into the following sections: Part 1 addresses the effects of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq on the current dimensions of world order; Part 2 provides a normative inquiry into the larger intentions and consequences of the Iraq War; and, Part 3 considers the more fundamental implications of the Iraq War, especially on our understanding of war as an instrument for the solution of conflict. Read more Read less.

The Costs of War: International Law, the Un, and World Order After Iraq by Richard A. Falk

Special offers and product promotions Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more. See all free Kindle reading apps. Start reading The Costs of War on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? As the Obama administration moves forward with the military trials at the detention facility, it is difficult to see how the President is fulfilling his commitment to "re-establishing our [US] credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law.

The maintenance of Guantanamo is just one of the ways in which this administration continues to resemble that of George W. Crimes of War Project. The Time Magazine's cover story on the plight of Afghan women contributes to justifying the war on humanitarian "civilizing" grounds instead of criticizing it on the same grounds. Military solutions to social problems fail to make the distinction between Islam and the Taliban or explain how women's rights can be attained by such means.

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This author suggests that "the war to liberate the women of Afghanistan," is more concerned with promoting "men's wars" rather than women's rights, whilst Muslim women are being progressively silenced in this discursive battle. This author suggests Pakistani women are central to the ideological battleground between the Taliban and the US military: the former using Islamic extremism to exclude women from the public sphere, the latter using western notions of liberation and progress to orchestrate women's unveiling.

Although driven by contrasting ideologies, both serve to further disempower women from decision making. Security Council Resolution highlighted the contributions that women can make to conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

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Yet this suppression of female agency in Pakistan denies the importance of women's equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security. The Express Tribune. A photograph on the cover of a recent issue of TIME Magazine depicts an Afghan woman whose nose and ears were cut off by the Taliban when she was caught trying to escape from abusive family members. The image is intended to remind the reader of "what happens if we leave Afghanistan.

However, despite the lofty rhetoric about "freeing" the women of Afghanistan, the US-supported government of Hamid Karzai has not implemented policies to help women in any substantial way. In this Brave New Films video, numerous experts show that conditions for women have actually deteriorated as a result of the US-led occupation. The CIA uses unmanned drones to carry out targeted killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan raising serious questions of legality.

The report says that the "life and death" power of drones should be entrusted to regular armed forces and not intelligence agencies like the CIA which have much less transparent oversight. It is unlikely that the Obama Administration will alter its policy, as drone attacks have become an increasingly important tactic in US "counter terrorism operations" in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A US Court of Appeals ruled that three men, who were captured outside Afghanistan and have been detained for years without trial, have no right to habeas corpus hearings in US Courts as Bagram is "on the sovereign territory of another government.

New York Times. Pakistanis learn nothing of the attacks, and U. Victims and witnesses of these attacks openly question the legitimacy of a strategy that kills many innocent civilians and only serves to instill anti-American hatred in the local population. These victims link indifference and inaction on drone warfare to the state of U. Six former Guantanamo Bay prisoners are claiming civil damages against the UK Government alleging that the MI5 and MI6 "aided and abetted their unlawful imprisonment" at numerous locations around the world, including Guantanamo Bay, where they were tortured.

Controversially, the UK Government asked for the trial to be heard under the "closed material procedure" meaning that the claimants would not see large parts of the evidence being used by the Government to defend the allegations. The High Court denied the Government's request, with Lord Neuberger stating that "it would undermine one of the most fundamental principles of the common law," the right of a party to know the case again him. The Times. After his inauguration, President Barak Obama signed an Executive Order mandating more humane conditions for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the closure of the prison within a year.

With the January 22 deadline passed, the detention camp reflects the Obama Administration's failure to change US national security policy from the framework of the Bush Administration's "War on Terror. The American Prospect. According to Wilkerson, they feared that releasing these prisoners would jeopardize their push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror. This is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush administration. The US administration has been exploiting a recently foiled terrorist coup, the Najibullah Ziza case, to justify the Patriot and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Acts.

Such fear mongering resembles the behavior of the previous administration. By publicly connecting the Patriot Act with prevented terrorist attacks the administration misleadingly suggests that the plot could not or would not have been thwarted without recourse to such extreme surveillance measures. In the British police thwarted a terrorist plot with the help of US and British electronic surveillance. Some polemicists used this to justify illegal government surveillance programs.

However the information used in had been obtained legally, thus invalidating this justification. This foiled attack shows that governments do not need to resort to illegitimate activities to successfully fight terrorism. Russia recently agreed to allow US troops and weapons to fly over its territory on the way to war in Afghanistan. Washington's war in Afghanistan is likely to last longer than the Soviet Union's war in the country, which began in late and ended in early Governments that divert aid relief funds to anti-terrorism efforts exacerbate the suffering of the world's poorest people, argues Christian Aid.

Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Global Policy Forum. Picture credit: Reuters. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, , the Bush administration declared a worldwide "war on terror," involving open and covert military operations, new security legislation, efforts to block the financing of terrorism, and more. Washington called on other states to join in the fight against terrorism asserting that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. Critics charge that the "war on terrorism" is an ideology of fear and repression that creates enemies and promotes violence rather than mitigating acts of terror and strengthening security.

The worldwide campaign has too often become an excuse for governments to repress opposition groups and disregard international law and civil liberties. Governments should address terrorism through international cooperation, using international law and respecting civil liberties and human rights. Governments should also address the root causes of terrorism, notably political alienation due to prejudice, state-sponsored violence and poverty. This site deals with the idea and practice of the "war on terrorism.

The site looks at terrorism's history and root causes and how the concept has been used and abused.


The targeted elimination of US citizen and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki for his alleged role as a terrorist affiliate raises troubling international legal questions. With those stakes off the table, the arena of foreign policy became completely accessible to antagonists in the cultural wars that had been burning brightly in America since the Vietnam era.

In that arena, the sort of unashamed definers of national interest in brutally competitive terms who echoed the contempt of the turn-of-the-century German elite for the arbitrament of law in international relations could coalition with right-wing religious groups sympathetic to manichaean imagery and, opportunistically, with libertarians hostile to public regulation and management whether national or international but also dubious about overseas adventures and ethnic diasporas anxious to employ American power to defeat adversaries of their overseas kin, rather than to manage international conflict in accordance with general behavioural norms.

And for reasons too complex to summarisehere 36 and, for that matter, not entirely clear, 37 during the two decades before the Clinton presidency, they had increasingly influenced the tone and imagery of political discourse. The disputed presidential election of brought these disparate antagonists of the international-law-and-institution-building project to the centre of world power. Out went Clinton's mild incrementalism. In came a ferocious assault on the International Criminal Court, followed quickly by rejection of the proposed enforcement protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention, abortion of efforts to increase the transparency of the global financial system in order to reduce its complicity in official corruption, tax evasion and money laundering, 38 and repudiation without tender of alternatives of proposed restrictions on activities contributing to global warming i.

These and other acts and omissions, however inimical to the vision animating the founders of the UN Charter system, did not yet challenge the system itself. As a kind of corollary of its preventive war doctrine, the Bush administration announced its intention of restarting nuclear weapons development 40 in order to create very low yield warheads that could notionally be used against buried command posts and laboratories. Simultaneously it violated at least the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in which non-nuclear states relinquished the right to acquire such weapons in return for a promise of the nuclear powers to reduce their nuclear weapon stockpiles and work toward nuclear disarmament.

Unilateral enforcement of a selective non-proliferation regime challenged not just the Charter but the entire four-century old system of state sovereignty with its corollary of equal legal rights. For what is more central to the idea of sovereignty than discretion to determine how best to defend the sovereign state's political independence and territorial integrity?

It is one thing for states to relinquish by treaty the right to choose weapon systems most likely to deter attack. What is left of sovereignty if a single state, acting unilaterally, can deny to others the one weapon which might deter it from imposing its will on any and every issue? The prospect for international legal order in light of Iraq. The escalating costs of the Iraq occupation and the refusal of certain important states to contemplate helping bear them without the Security Council's assuming a prominent role in overseeing the political transition in that country has to be a learning experience, however unwelcome.

One lesson is that most of the world, the developed as well as developing, clings to the essential elements of the system of order provided by the Charter's substantive and procedural rules. Above all, there remains powerful support for the presumptive invalidity of any armed intervention by one state in another without Security Council authorisation or, at least in Africa, without authorisation by a regional organisation.

The Bush Administration has given no indication that it is unsympathetic to this broad consensus in favour of restraints on unilateral recourse to force, so long as the rules do not apply to it. That is hardly surprising. From the parochial perspective of a Unipower, the happiest normative world is one in which it alone or it and whatever other country it anoints, are uniquely licensed to use force for purposes other than self defence against an actual or imminent attack.

Most other countries, however, seem indisposed to license exceptions for the countries that deem themselves exceptional. So we are, for the moment, at an impasse. Normative dissonance in the core security realm coexists, of course, with the diurnal invocation of allegedly authoritative rules and principles in the various parts of the archipelago of transnational regimes.

Governments process asylum and extradition requests, enforce fishing regulations in zones defined by the Law of the Sea Treaty, try in some measure to protect endangered species, comply in varying degrees with the rules of the World Trade Organisation, and so on. The dynamics of transnational social life generate expectations, and the power of reciprocity enforces a fair measure of respect for norms just as convenience and efficiency and inertia foster a degree of support for the institutions in which many of them are embedded, elaborated and executed.

But in the absence of any collective experience of being part of an integrated system of order reflecting and protecting the deepest values of its subjects, respect for expectations, I propose and fear, rests only on immediate calculations of utility, and that is precarious ground on which to stand in hard times or when faced with issues that cut across the grain of important domestic interest groups.

A generalised reduction in the authority and hence pull toward compliance of international law and multilateral institutions is only one of the possible costs stemming from the present reluctance of the United States to accept normative restraints on its own choices concerning the ends and means of statecraft.

More immediately important is its potential impact on the norms and processes for limiting the use of force and on the efforts to strengthen restraints on the further development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction. But the gravest probable side effects stemming from the Bush administration's hostility to the international-law-and-institution-building project are what the economists call 'opportunity costs'.

The states with the collective capacity to act are not addressing effectively either the misery scattered in wide swathes around the globe or the not wholly unrelated sources of both nihilistic and instrumental violence that are ravaging human and eroding the foundations of national security. The diffusion and stunning enhancement of technological knowledge and its products, along with the population explosion, urbanisation, increased environmental pressures, wrenching challenges to traditional belief systems and identities and unprecedented levels of political, economic, social and cultural inter-penetration will continue to generate or intensify pathologies, including searing inequalities in life chances that will not heal themselves.

Going to the roots requires levels of resources, human and material, that no one state or even the NATO states together can deploy. In a sense, the concert would be a multilateral hegemonic project, but the hegemon in this case would be constituted by elites governing, in most but not all cases democratically, a majority of the world's peoples though only a small number of its national states.

At the time of its adoption, the U. Charter purported but actually failed to embody great-power commitment to global governance at least in the key area of peace and security, because the two superpowers were already girding for a traditional great power grapple and lesser states were clinging to their empires. And shortly thereafter, when the current American administration replaced Clinton's, the United States began withdrawing even from the incipient order-building project that had lumbered glacially forward during the Cold War and accelerated very modestly in its immediate aftermath when the 'like-minded' medium and small states, led by Canada and Norway, 44 tried to improve human security through an International Criminal Court, the Conventions on Child Soldiering and Landmines, and other initiatives rejected by American conservatives.

But instead of animating a renewed search for a co-operative order, it initially empowered U. That loss could be temporary, however, awaiting only a new act of catastrophic terrorism. For the warriors of the right, unlike many of their scattered opponents, recognise the volatile and dangerous conditions in which we live and offer a transformational vision. An anarchical system of sovereign states is compatible with American and, indeed, human security, they argue, only when all its constituents are capitalist democracies.

Iconic invocations of the United Nations as an alternative means of order cannot compete with this proactive project. As presently constituted, the institution, despite its brilliant Secretary-General, does not measure up either to the immediate or to the deeper threats to order sketched above.

Invoking it amounts to nothing more than an affirmation of sluggish incrementalism in the face of catastrophic risks. Calls for institutional reform, particularly of the Security Council, also have little political traction particularly within the unipower, at least in part because the envisioned reforms by themselves adding members and possibly limiting the veto appear to be and are largely formal responses to a substantive challenge.

The multilateral alternative to the unilateralist project must match the latter's visionary response to the present and prospective danger. In order to match, it too would have to move beyond Westphalian anarchy, but the departure would be far less abrupt and the break more narrow.

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From the beginning, after all, there were hierarchical elements in the Charter system coinciding with its purification of the Westphalian paradigm. How else can one describe the Charter's allocation of enforcement powers to a Security Council of only fifteen members, five of them permanent and endowed with veto power and, as originally conceived, power to direct UN military operations through the medium of officers drawn from their respective armed forces?

Over the past decade or so, the Council has authorised the use of coercion, economic sanctions and force in pursuance of ends going well beyond the prevention, limitation or termination of inter-state conflicts and the full-scale civil wars spilling dangerously across borders that were the focus of concern at the time of the Charter's adoption. In doing so, it built on a precedent from the s when it had found the white racist de facto government of Southern Rhodesia now Zimbabwe to be a threat to the peace even though at the time it was facing little internal resistance and so did not need to pursue its dissidents across neighbouring frontiers.

Only such a leap, however, is likely to reach the accumulating challenges of our era. With the exception of Rhodesia a residual case of decolonisation , and the first intervention in Haiti where in effect the U. But it has never authorised intervention to deal with the chronic violators of human rights; regimes that survive through such regular applications of torture, arbitrary detention and exemplary assassination that they come to seem normal, much less regimes like the Angolan that torture and maim their citizens indirectly by stealing the national patrimony rather than producing public goods or, like the Libyan one, appropriate much of the patrimony to support a dictator's fantasies.

As far as one can tell, no proposal for threatening the delinquents in any such case with ejection and the transitional placement of their battered polities under United Nations trusteeships, possibly coupled with positive incentives to the miscreants for pre-emptive reform, has ever been contemplated, much less put on the agenda.

And for that there have been at least three reasons. One was the previous lack of American interest in the reconstruction of awful but not utterly failed states. Another was the certain opposition within the Council both from one or more of the Permanent Members and of representatives from the developing world, filled as parts of it are with regimes of the sort just described.

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A third was the absence of a mandate or a mechanism for developing comprehensive plans for the correction of those state structures that guarantee the perpetuation of mass poverty, joblessness, functional illiteracy, chronic illness and accumulating alienation from the new global order.

At least with respect to the Middle East, the first of those reasons no longer prevails, possibly pending the outcome and ultimate cost to the United States of intervention in Iraq. The second and third, the latter being largely determined by the former, remain bars to action. A multilateral project liable to compete politically with the unilateral one that dominates the present Presidential Administration in the United States must include a strategy for inducing their removal.

The only conceivable means to that end would be an historic compromise between the American Unipower and the next stratum of consequential states. Rejoining requires that the United States surrender its claim of entitlement to exceptional status and its disinclination to reconcile its preferred means and goals with those of other states.

The latter would have to embrace the idea that the primary purpose of governance must be positive action by all means necessary to protect the common good, whether in the face of immediate or of merely developing threats to peace and security, and the relevant security would be declared that of human beings, not merely of 'states' which has been a euphemism for any elite in control of a determinate national territory.

Such a compact between the hegemon and the next tier of consequential states would carry the seed of a real legal order encompassing and vitalising the current archipelago of regimes. The historical conditions in which the elites of potential concert members find themselves give them a breadth of common interests without historical parallel and yet they continue to rely primarily on the antiquated instrument of bilateral diplomacy to co-ordinate co-operation, where they are inclined to co-operate, and to avoid or mitigate conflict.

The move to collaboration can be accomplished within the framework of the United Nations and without reform of the Security Council. If there can be a Group of Eight self-tasked primarily with co-ordinating action in the economic realm, there can be a Group of Ten, Twelve or Fifteen, for that matter, accepting wider responsibilities, meeting regularly at the Ministerial and even more frequently at the higher bureaucratic levels to co-ordinate policy. It could be supported either by an independent secretariat or one custom-built within the U.

Once approved by the relevant governments, where the execution of plans required armed intervention, they would be brought formally to the Security Council for authorisation. Since in the first instance, the concert would certainly include all of the Permanent Members plus India, Japan, Germany, Brazil and possibly such emerging market states as South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia and Mexico, one could reasonably anticipate approval even from an unreformed Council.

The concert would be open to additional members sharing its commitments and able to contribute substantially to extending the benefits of a globally integrated economy, mitigating the painful incidents of growth and planetary integration, limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction, battling transnational terrorist groups and commercial mafias, and deterring illicit force and crimes against humanity. Based on those constitutive principles, a group of such diversity, size and power should be able to endow decisions of the Security Council reflecting the group's previously negotiated consensus with greater legitimacy than those decisions enjoy today, in part because the concert's backing would induce the expectation of effective enforcement.

Legitimacy, of course, is a matter of degree. The concert and its purposes are expressions and instruments of the humanist project.