In my April 1st, 2003 column, “The US should withdraw from the United Nations,” I said that the “UN was never meant to be a place where the President of the United States needed to go to get approval for anything.” I ended that comment by saying the place where he (and hopefully someday soon, she) needed to go for that was to the Congress.
Now that the presidential campaign is under way, it has become a mantra that President Bush committed some egregious act by not attaining UN approval before going to war in Iraq. I’ve even seen it written in several places in the last year – and most recently in these hallowed pages – that this lack of UN approval makes that war “illegitimate.”
The concept of “legitimacy” implies that there exists a lawful convening authority to determine said “legitimacy.” Such a body would, as a matter of practicality, wield authority over us. It would in fact subordinate our sovereignty to its will. Is there anyone out there that actually, honestly believes this to be the case? Or that the UN fits this description? It most certainly does not. The President of the United States is responsible to one group of people and one group of people only – The American people. Not the people of France, Germany, or the over-bloated UN bureaucracy.
I find it humorous that so many people think that the vague and nebulous concept of “International Law,” is something we should even acknowledge any longer. There is no global law enforcement mechanism, so it is up to the participants of the multitude of international treaties to either adhere or not to adhere to said treaties. Doesn’t sound like the law to me. The concept of “law” implies that which is mandatory and binding, not that to which we have an option. Therefore, “International Law” is not really law at all; it’s just some sort of loose set of treaties nations can throw about whenever it suits them.
The war in Iraq was not “illegitimate.” The war in Afghanistan was not “illegitimate.” These were absolutely necessary and proper endeavors for our government to undertake, for our protection and our interests. Why is this? As the only superpower, we are indeed “superior to every other nation on the world’s stage.” And we have the right to act accordingly.
Scott Wacholtz is a senior amd can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.