The San Francisco-based War and Law League has just released a survey of this year’s presidential candidates, who are actively questioning whether the U.S. is now conducting an illegal war in Iraq that should be ended or properly authorized immediately. Or least that was the basic position taken by the only three candidates to respond: Democrats Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards and Republican Ron Paul. Kudos to the trio for stating their positions on a controversial question that might become painfully relevant in the coming years: Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq legal? Because if it wasn’t, as many legal scholars believe, then the leaders who started it might someday be called to account for war crimes and other violations of international law.
The questions and issues raised, which were vetted by Golden Gate University of Law professor Peter Keane and touch on everything from the legality of nuclear strikes to Bush’s preemptive war doctrine, are fascinating to read and consider. And the answers — as well as the lack of answers from strong anti-war candidates like Barack Obama and Bill Richardson — are telling indicators of where our country could be headed.