No UN, No NATO: US and Britain Mull Legal Justification for War

Growing Unease in Britain Over Shaky Arguments

With no UN authorization and not even the relative rubber-stamp of a NATO authorization the legal justification for the upcoming Syrian War under international law is on extremely shaky ground. Both British and US officials are tackling that question, but in very different ways.

For Britain the question is a pretty huge one. With ongoing investigations over Tony Blair’s involvement in the illegal attack on Iraq, Prime Minister David Cameron is drawing uncomfortable comparisons.

That’s led Britain to seek parliamentary approval for the war, something which is liable to delay the war an extra day or two, but which will provide Cameron at least a little cover to argue that there was some legal process.

That may sound like a ticket to another protracted investigation in another 10 years, but it’s a lot more seriously than the Obama Administration is taking the matter, as US officials have no intention of asking Congress and seem to be placing the sum total of their legal argument on the idea that the attacks are going to be relatively small, at least to start with, and therefore its no big deal that there isn’t an endorsement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of