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White House report on authority to use military force against Iraq

[JURIST] The White House has issued a 7-page report outlining US authority to use military force against Iraq. The report was released Wednesday in connection with the President's transmittal to Congress [JURIST report] of legal determinations required under the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces. In respect of law, the report states:

The President has full authority to use the armed forces in Iraq under the US Constitution, including his authority as Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. This authority is supported by explicit statutory authorizations contained in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243).

In addition, U.S. action is consistent with the UN Charter. The UNSC [United Nations Security Council], acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, provided that member states, including the United States, have the right to use force in Iraq to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Council authorized the use of force in UNSCR 678 with respect to Iraq in 1990. This resolution - on which the United States has relied continuously and with the full knowledge of the UNSC to use force in 1993, 1996, and 1998 and to enforce the no-fly zones - remains in effect today. In UNSCR 1441, the UNSC unanimously decided again that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions and would face serious consequences if it failed immediately to disarm. And, of course, based on existing facts, including the nature and type of the threat posed by Iraq, the United States may always proceed in the exercise of its inherent right of self defense, recognized in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Read the complete text of the White House report, now online from the State Department.

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