Bush asserts legality of military action against Iraq

[JURIST] Watch recorded video of President Bush's Monday evening address to the nation on Iraq, now available from the White House. The President issued an ultimatum to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face military action.

President Bush defended the legality of military action against Iraq both with respect to his constitutional authority and international law:

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep. Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq.... Under [UN Security Council] Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will. Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm. Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed.
A complete transcript of President Bush's address is now available from the White House.


 

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