San Francisco Gate

David Ray Griffin: Bush Doctrine enters American vocabulary (San Francisco Gate)

David Ray Griffin
Friday, September 26, 2008

Thanks to the Sept. 11 interview of Sarah Palin by Charles Gibson of ABC News, the Bush Doctrine has become part of the American vocabulary. Although it has been a fateful doctrine - it was used to justify the attack on Iraq - many Americans reported that they were as clueless about it as Gov. Palin.

So what is the Bush Doctrine? According to international law as generally understood since the creation of the United Nations, a pre-emptive attack is legal only if a country has certain knowledge that an attack on it is imminent - too imminent for the matter to be taken to the U.N. Security Council.

Pre-emptive war is different from preventive war, in which a country, fearing that another country may become strong enough to threaten it at some time in the future, attacks it to prevent this possibility. Preventive wars are illegal under international law.