Friday, April 7, 2017
WASHINGTON- President Trump ordered the military on Thursday to carry out a missile
attack on Syrian forces for using chemical weapons against civilians. The unilateral attack
lacked authorization from Congress or from the United Nations Security Council, raising
the questions of whether he had legal authority to commit the act of war.
The strike raises two sets of legal issues. One involves international law and when it is lawful
for any nation to attack another. The other involves domestic law and who gets to decide-the president or Congress-Whether the United States should attack another country.
Did Trump have clear authority under international law to attack Syria?
No. The United Nations Charter, a treaty the United States has ratified, recognizes two
justifications for using force on another country's soil without its consent: the permission
of the Security council or a self-defense claim.