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The War on Terror and the Laws of WarA Military Perspective$
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Geoffrey S. Corn, James A. Schoettler, Jr., Dru Brenner-Beck, Victor M. Hansen, Dick Jackson, Eric Talbot Jensen, and Michael W. Lewis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199941452

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199941452.001.0001

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Legal Basis for the Use of Armed Force

Legal Basis for the Use of Armed Force

(p.1) 1 Legal Basis for the Use of Armed Force
The War on Terror and the Laws of War

Geoffrey S. Corn

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses how the international legal authority for nations to resort to military force to protect their security interests—generally known as the jus ad bellum—impacts use of force against al-Qaeda and associated forces. The chapter explains how traditional notions of national and collective self-defense focused on threats posed by other States evolved to address the threat posed by transnational nonstate groups. The chapter reviews U.S. interpretations of this law and explains how these interpretations frame the legal authority for contemporary counter-terror military operations in various locations around the world. It also discusses the role of the United Nations, specifically its Charter prohibiting the use of force by States and the exceptions to that prohibition.

Keywords:   Jus ad bellum, U.N. Charter, Article 51, armed attack, imminent attack, unwilling or unable, proportionality, sovereignty

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