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The Just Demands of Peace and Security: International Law and the Case Against Iraq

In his dramatic speech to the United Nations on September 12, 2002, President Bush declared that Iraq must comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions and with the terms of the 1991 cease-fire agreement, or face the consequences. Vowing that the United States will not "stand by and do nothing while dangers gather," he urged that the terms of the Security Council’s previous resolutions against Iraq be enforced — and with them "the just demands of peace and security." Recalling the ineffectiveness of the League of Nations, the President emphasized that the Security Council framework was established precisely so that UN "deliberations would be more than talk," and Security Council resolutions not be "cast aside without consequence." The President catalogued the major actions taken by the Security Council following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and chronicled Iraq’s notorious and continuing non-compliance. He argued forcefully that Iraq’s actions are more than "a threat to peace," they are a threat to the very "authority of the United Nations" itself.