A controversial issue in the news is whether under international law, it would be lawful for the United States, either alone or as a member of an international coalition, to use lethal force against Saddam Hussein personally or against Iraq. Under international law lethal force can never be used unless it is necessary and proportional. If nonviolent remedies are available that can protect a nation's rights, they must be pursued. Force cannot be used to resolve traditional political or economic grievances. It is permitted only when necessary to protect against the threat or use of unlawful force. Thus the key issue here is whether Iraq's current regime constitutes a threat to the peace against the United States or other countries. Furthermore, the purpose of the United Nations, as set forth in Article 1 of its charter, is "to maintain international peace and security, and to that end, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace." The Security Council has made it clear that Saddam Hussein is a major threat to international peace and security.
Naval War College Review (Autumn 2002), v.55 no.4 p.72-75