Michael Rozeff brings an interesting insight into Obama’s use of the word “norms” as justify bombing Syria. Essentially, the argument Obama is making isn’t based on any sense of law, but is one of a totalitarian:
If there is a rule or a legal proclamation that states have made against chemical weapons, that is one thing. Such a rule if disobeyed is subject to punishments. That is how states ordinarily behave within their own notions of legality (to be distinguished sharply, I might add, from the natural law and justice advocated by libertarians). Obama is going way beyond this state-devised legal framework when he advocates punishments based on norms, not legal rules or what is called “international law”. A norm has no sanctions attached to it. Breaking it may be thought wrong by those who believe in the norm. The norm is a moral, not a legal, standard. If Syria is bombed by other states because it has broken a moral, not a legal standard, then this means that these bombing states have assumed a moral authority that they will enforce with arms. This is totalitarian. It means that they do not even have to pass one of their so-called “laws”, which are already from the libertarian standpoint not justified and not real laws anyway. It means an even flimsier excuse for applying force, and an excuse that can be spun in any number of directions and alter with the peculiar moral fashions of the times, the places and the rulers. What state cannot easily generate many such moral excuses for intervening in the affairs of others states and nations?
Whole thing here.