The military conflict continues in Iraq. Thousands of displaced Iraqis have abandoned their homes as fighters of the Islamic State group advanced and the extent of the involvement of the United States military continued to evolve.

Mike Newton, ( professor of the practice of law at Vanderbilt Law School, can comment on international war crimes and atrocities. He is an expert on accountability, transnational justice and conduct of hostilities issues. He is an elected member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Bar Association.

Along with helping to establish the Iraqi Special Tribunal that convicted Saddam Hussein and leading the training in international criminal law for its judges, Newton served in the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State and was one of two U.S. delegates who negotiated the Elements of Crimes document for the International Criminal Court. He also coordinated the interface between the FBI and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and deployed into Kosovo to do forensics fieldwork to support the Milosevic indictment. Here’s a link to Newton talking about the trial of Saddam Hussein. (

At Vanderbilt, Newton developed and teaches the innovative International Law Practice Lab which provides expert assistance to judges and lawyers, governments, and policy-makers around the world.

Thomas Schwartz,( professor of history at Vanderbilt University, says President Obama should deepen the United States’ commitment to defending the Kurdish region of Iraq from the radical Islamic group ISIL.

Even though Obama was elected and re-elected on promises to get and keep America out of Iraq, the evolving situation there calls for a new direction, Schwartz said.

“The United States would be acting in defense of democracy, human rights and humanitarianism against a genuinely evil force,” Schwartz said. “For once, an American president invoking the Nazis and Hitler would not be rhetorical overkill.”

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