Check out the conversation on Syrian intervention at Notes on Liberty, “A Few Remarks on Interventions in Syria and Iraq.” And feel free to check out last year’s conversation on the same subject here, from the now-defunct Institute for Objectivist Studies blog (11 posts). If I can change one mind on the subject, I’d count my efforts as a success.
P.S.: In an earlier post, I described Bruce Ackerman as a strange bedfellow in the debate over Syrian intervention. But I think I’d have to kick Howard Friel, Noam Chomsky, and Edward Herman out of bed, despite agreeing with them on the narrow question of the need for a Congressional vote on Syria, and on the potential applicability to the case of Syria of the War Powers Resolution. In a letter published in today’s New York Times, Friel, Chomsky, and Herman casually (but dogmatically) assert the following:
While the president must request and receive congressional approval within the strictures of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, as both Mr. Ackerman and your editorial rightly demand, neither Congress nor the president is free to violate the United Nations Charter’s prohibition “against the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Individual nations are bound by their international obligations regardless of their constitutional law. Thus, the reach of law here goes beyond the War Powers Resolution to the United Nations Charter.
It’s a claim to confirm the most paranoid fears of the most paranoid right-winger: the United Nations Charter supersedes the U.S. Constitution. On the face of it, I don’t see how the United States (or any other country) can be “bound,” whether legally or morally, to adhere to the terms of a document when doing so would violate its own constitution. The perplexity is increased when you consider that it’s obvious how and why the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land, but not obvious that international “law” is law at all. Though it’s a bit of a distraction from the issue directly at hand, I’d be curious to see an argument for their claim.