Sample Research Paper

Words 2,200

Playing on the world’s fear of terrorism and trumped up claims of weapons of mass destruction, the United States began Operation Iraqi Freedom much to the dismay of the United Nations. Applying the current principles of international law, including the use of force established in the U.N. Charter, the United States may have illegally invaded Iraq, but its actions illustrate the need for revising laws as the global society evolves.

In making the claim that the United States overstepped its bounds by invading Iraq, it is important to first examine what international law states regarding the use of force. Up until the Second World War, customary international law deemed the right to use force as “an essential attribute of every state” (Ackerman, 1). In his book, International Law Chiefly as Interpreted and Applied by the United States, Volume 3 published in 1945, Charles Cheney Hyde stated:

It always lies within the power of a State to endeavor to obtain redress for wrongs, or to gain political or other advantages over another, not merely by the employment of force, but also by the direct recourse to war (Hyde, 1686).


Times have changed and the “legitimacy of the use of force by individual states under international law has been substantially narrowed” (Ackerman, 3). According to the U.N. Charter, which “obligates the Member States of the U.N. to settle their international disputes by peaceful means” (Article 2(3)) rather than promote the destruction and slaughter that occurred over two world wars, there are only two circumstances in which the use of force is permissible:

“In collective or individual self-defense against an actual or imminent armed attack and when the Security Council has directed or authorized the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. (LCNP, 1).

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