From Chomsky’s book, “9-11.”
“When countries are attacked they try to defend themselves, if they can. According to the doctrine proposed, Nicaragua, South Vietnam, Cuba, and numerous others should have been setting off bombs in Washington and other U.S. cities, Palestinians should be applauded for bombings in Tel Aviv, and on and on.
“It is because such doctrines had brought Europe to virtual self-annihilation after hundreds of years of savagery that the nations of the world forged a different compact after World War II, establishing – at least formally – the principle that the resort to force is barred except in the case of self-defense against armed attack until the Security Council acts to protect international peace and security.
“Specifically, retaliation is barred. Since the U.S. is not under armed attack, in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter, these considerations are irrelevant – at least, if we agree that the fundamental principles of international law should apply to ourselves, not only to those we dislike.” Chomsky, 9-11, p.66
He also points out that Bush rejected the offer by the Taliban to turn over bin Laden: