News Release

In Defending Saudi Veto, Is Obama Acknowledging U.S. Criminality?

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CNN reports on Congress overriding President Obama’s “veto of a measure that allows families of those killed during the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.” CNN quotes Obama: “The concern that I’ve had has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia per se or my sympathy for 9/11 families. It has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world.”

JOHN QUIGLEY, Quigley.2[at]osu.edu
Professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, Quigley has written extensively about international law. His books include The Ruses for War: American Interventionism Since World War II.

He said today that President Obama’s statement is “at least an acknowledgement that the U.S. has engaged in conduct that could plausibly involve U.S. responsibility: drone strikes, bombing from aircraft — even potentially wars of aggression.

“President Obama is right that opening U.S. courts to suits against foreign governments may lead courts in other countries to allow suits against the United States.”

Quigley added, “Whether this would actually happen is speculative.”

Quigley notes several possible suits, including from government or victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and other countries. He also cites the recent U.S. bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. See news releases from the Institute for Public Accuracy: “Will Victims of U.S. Hospital Bombing be Heard?” and “U.S.’s Unreported War in Afghanistan.”