Center for Global Affairs

U.S. Use of Force and the "Global War on Terror"

This course introduces some of the key challenges the U.S. faced in responding to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and analyzes the U.S.¿s response from a legal framework. We will cover basic principles on the use of force, and then apply them to examining the legal foundation for the coalition interventions in Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan (2001, etc.). We will discuss whether the situation should be understood as a ¿Global War on Terror¿ (¿GWOT¿), ¿war against Al Qaeda and associated entities,¿ or something else. We will discuss some of the difficult issues as to the conduct of the ¿war¿¿including the responsibilities of an occupying power, permissible targets, means of targeting, the scope of the ¿field of battle,¿ and legal issues related to conducting counterinsurgency operations. We will cover the various options for U.S. terrorism trials¿military commissions, federal court trials, or whether ¿national security courts¿ should have been created. We will discuss the International Criminal Court¿s ¿crime of aggression,¿ as well as drone strikes, and cyberattacks. Another focus will be the use of ¿enhanced interrogation¿ techniques and ¿extraordinary renditions,¿ and the extent to which there should be accountability as to U.S. practices. Finally, we will examine the domestic ramifications of the ¿GWOT,¿ as well as how other countries have addressed counter-terrorism post-9/11, critically examining practices through a human rights perspective. Throughout the course, we will consider a broad range of academic, military and government perspectives on the above topics, and a broad diversity of viewpoints is encouraged.
Course Number
Associated Degrees