alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.15 No.9 | March 2 - 8, 2006 

Book Review

Frontier Justice

War Law: Understanding International Law and Armed Conflict

Michael Byers
Grove Press
hardcover
$24

Each time the United States goes to battle, the president must make two cases for war—one to the American people, the other to the world. Since 9/11, the U.S. has worried much more about the former than the latter, and in War Law, Michael Byers reveals just how radically the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive action departs from the international norm.

His source is the United Nations' founding charter, which commits members to prevent "the scourge of war" by binding them to settle disputes by "peaceful means" and to "refrain in international relations from the threat or use of force." Two exceptions to this rule were allowed: A U.N. Security Council vote could be made to use force to settle a dispute, or a nation could use force in self-defense.

As Byers shows, the changing nature of international politics has tested this resolve—especially in light of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and elsewhere—but nations have consistently rejected "humanitarian concern" or even "democratic reform" (a rationale the U.S. floated during its invasion of Panama) as sufficient rationale for intervention.

The least popular of any new argument has been that of preventive defense. It's not hard to see why, Byers argues, for it takes the world back to pre-1945 rules of engagement, when nations squared off against one another to murderous effect.

It also locks the United States into a role of permanent militarization, as U.S. power is the only thing stopping this rationale from being abused by other nations. Can you imagine, for instance, what would happen if France performed a "targeted assassination" on American soil? It's no wonder that Byers compares this concept to frontier justice: There is indeed a new sheriff in town.

Today's Events

Chatter: Late Works at Banque Building Event Center

Featuring music from David Lang, Magnus Lindberg and Salvatore Sciarrino.

Edgewood Music and Arts Fest at Wildlife West

The Jayhawks at Railyard Community Room

More Recommended Events ››
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Low Life Vids'n'Vinyl
    Low Life Vids'n'Vinyl8.11.2016