Executive Power

Heller Responds to Berkowitz on Legality of Iran Strike

By Jack Goldsmith
Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 12:04 PM

Kevin Jon Heller at Opinio Juris responds to Peter Berkowitz’s critique of Bruce Ackerman’s argument that a self-defensive attack on Iran would be unlawful.  Heller maintains that Berkowitz’s response is “unconvincing.”  I will try to weigh in to this debate later, but for now I would note that President Obama has already proclaimed that he is prepared at some point to use military force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that his leading counterterrorism advisor has already argued in the context of terrorist organizations that “the traditional conception of what constitutes an ‘imminent’ attack should be broadened in light of the modern-day capabilities, techniques, and technological innovations,” and has maintained (in that context) that “the international community” increasingly agrees with that position.