Why Obama’s Drone War Is Illegal

Richard and Eric Posner take turns weighing in.
Oct. 8 2012 3:32 AM

Obama’s Drone Dilemma

The killings probably aren’t legal—not that they’ll stop.

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It is curious that there is not a global outcry about the illegality of the wars in Pakistan or Libya, as there was about the illegality of the recent war in Iraq, which the Bush administration dubiously justified on the basis of Iraq’s violations of earlier U.N. resolutions that had suspended hostilities after the first Iraq War. Maybe the world doesn’t care as much about Pakistan, which has no oil. Or maybe people have finally realized that the United States, which has been almost continuously at war since the collapse of the Soviet Union, will not be swayed by legal arguments. A powerful army is too useful not to use, whether you are a Republican president or a Democratic one.

Eric Posner, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, is a co-author of The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic and Climate Change Justice. Follow him on Twitter.