In June of 1945, world leaders, even before the use of nuclear bombs on Japan, gave the world in the Charter of the United Nations, an institution that, if implemented and followed diligently and enforced as law (which it is under the US Constitution), can help us avoid the worst prospect of the reality King articulated in the new nuclear age after 1945: "We must learn to live together as brothers or we shall perish together as fools."

In their wisdom, the formulators and signers of the Charter decided that ("to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war") armed force "not be used save in the common interest." They seemed convinced that unilateral use of force by nations severely leads to competitive use of force that leads to chaotic violence and massive killings and not brotherhood, justice and peace.

So they provided that only the Security Council be given the right "to take effective collective measures (especially when the use of force may be required) for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace" (Article 1) and that "all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state" (Article 2). They provided a lone exception, the "right of individual or collective self defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations" (Article 51).

Several US senators, during the hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (on Sept. 3) questioned the earnestness of the administration's attempt to engage the Security Council and it is likely that the majority of nations will consider the US bombing of Syria another unilateral use of force that is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and the rule of law.

At least one member of the hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (on Sept. 4) "echoed Rep. Nolan's belief that Assad" should be charged and tried in an international court of law." This approach conforms to the goal of the Charter which is to replace the war system with the rule of law.

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Robert K. Johnson,