So-called War on Terror has damaged law on a global scale

The U.S. war on terror has done “immense damage” to international law, lacks a credible legal basis and should be repudiated by the administration of President Barack Obama, said a panel of eminent judges and lawyers.

The panel, organized by the International Commission of Jurists, a nongovernmental human rights group, also criticized the culture of secrecy associated with the violation of international laws, which it said afforded impunity to those acting unlawfully.

The report also said abuses were becoming pervasive in democratic as well as repressive states

The “war paradigm” adopted by the administration of former President George W. Bush to combat terrorism after 9/11 “has done immense damage in the last seven years to a previously shared international consensus on the framework underlying both human rights and humanitarian law,” the report said. “This consensus needs to be recreated and reasserted.”

The panel recognized the threat posed by terrorism and that states have a legal duty reinforced by UN resolutions to protect their citizens. But their actions must be in accordance with the requirements of international law, Chaskalson said. “Otherwise they become lawbreakers” with serious consequences for their own societies and international order, he said.

The United States sets the standards for a great many ethical questions – including, apparently, unethical and criminal behavior.