The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

The Post 9/11 Discourse Revisited - Self-Image on the International Legal Scietific Discipline

Ulf Linderfalk



A few years ago, the legality of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was a topic much discussed in the international legal literature. This article approaches the problem from a new angle. Rather than investigating the relevant issue of legal substance – whether or not OEF was ever consistent with international law – the article focuses attention on the general scholarly performance in dealing with this issue. Scrutinizing the literature published immediately following upon the events of 11 September 2001, the author suggests that overall, the scholarly debate on the legality of OEF did not live up to the standards normally applied in serious legal analysis, and that hence, the debate should be characterized as poor science. The article presents this criticism in further detail. With said criticism as a basis, in a concluding part of this article, the author takes the investigation one step further. As he suggests, when scholars engaged in the post-9/11 discourse, there was something about the whole situation that greatly constrained them. They were obviously hesitant to conclude that in circumstances like those of 9/11, there would still not be any right of self-defense to exercise. So much did they hesitate that they thought the opposite conclusion worth the prize of far-reaching infringements of the most basic of scientific quality standards. Why this hesitation, the article asks. What force or forces are compelling international legal scientists? As the author suggests, this question bears directly on the particular self-image of the legal scientific discipline and the role it envisages for itself in the international community. He concludes the article by initiating a discussion on this very delicate issue specifically, introducing for this purpose a description of the international legal scientist as archetype.


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