Was the war on iraq justified essays

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These commitments have been predicated on basic religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise decisions and mutual restraint. Our apparent determination to launch a war against Iraq, without international support, is a violation of these premises. As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards.

This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology. The war can be waged only as a last resort, with all nonviolent options exhausted. In the case of Iraq, it is obvious that clear alternatives to war exist.

These options -- previously proposed by our own leaders and approved by the United Nations -- were outlined again by the Security Council on Friday. But now, with our own national security not directly threatened and despite the overwhelming opposition of most people and governments in the world, the United States seems determined to carry out military and diplomatic action that is almost unprecedented in the history of civilized nations.

The first stage of our widely publicized war plan is to launch 3, bombs and missiles on a relatively defenseless Iraqi population within the first few hours of an invasion, with the purpose of so damaging and demoralizing the people that they will change their obnoxious leader, who will most likely be hidden and safe during the bombardment. The war's weapons must discriminate between combatants and noncombatants.

Extensive aerial bombardment, even with precise accuracy, inevitably results in ''collateral damage. Tommy R. Franks, commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf, has expressed concern about many of the military targets being near hospitals, schools, mosques and private homes.


Its violence must be proportional to the injury we have suffered. The attackers must have legitimate authority sanctioned by the society they profess to represent. Learn more. It concludes that for empirical and moral reasons, the Iraq war lacks a just cause. In the course of making that judgment, the article explores moral and practical implications of a preventive war policy. It also examines efforts to invoke one justification—rescue—retrospectively to justify the war. The article claims that such ex post justifications confuse the meaning of intention and, wittingly or unwittingly, allow leaders to authorize a resort to force in bad faith.

Retrospective justifications also fail to understand that different burdens are attached to ad bellum rationales. Corporal Greene returns to the United States in a body bag having been killed by an elite armed guard in a war that had been officially authorized as a defense of her country against foes who have the capability and desire to attack her fellow citizens and soldiers at home and abroad with acts of terrorism.

Such foes may either be planning eventually to launch their own attacks or to facilitate attacks by others who have an established record of using terrorism against U. Private Smith returns to the United States in a body bag having been killed by a roadside bomb in a war that had been authorized as enforcing international law against a rogue state with a recent history of ignoring or avoiding U. Sergeant Jones returns to the United States in a body bag having been killed by a suicide bomber in a war that had been officially described to him as a rescue operation aimed at saving citizens in another country from human rights abuses carried out against them by a despotic regime.

The deaths of Greene, Smith, and Jones are equally tragic. All three soldiers had been fighting in the same conflict, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Assume for the sake of argument that they were motivated by the causes for which they each understood themselves to be fighting. Are their deaths, then, morally the same? I raise this question in part to frame an ethical analysis of the war in Iraq.

I ask that we imagine Greene, Smith, and Jones for two reasons: one, their cases reflect different rationales offered for the Iraq war; and two, their deaths are arguably not morally the same. The goods for which they have been asked to risk their lives not only differ, they are not on par with each other. Nonetheless, they have been sent to war on the premise that the goods for which they are risking their lives are of the same gravity.

On that premise, the risks taken by Greene, Smith, and Jones shoulder different burdens of proof. In this essay I will do two things in light of these ideas. First, I will critically assess claims on behalf of the Iraq war made by the Bush administration and by various defenders of the war. Second, I will step back from the specifics of these three rationales to ask whether they are in fact of the same sort. One of my points is that debate about the Iraq war has been muddied by the notion that these rationales stand on the same footing.

On the assumption that nonaltruistic risks are more intelligible than altruistic risks, we can presume that each set of risks shoulders different burdens of proof. Put more abstractly, reasons for war are not interchangeable, not convertible to the same currency. That fact, I will argue, ought to frustrate those who wish to substitute one rationale for another in the effort to provide a retrospective justification for the Iraq war. In the argument that follows, I defend these ideas by evaluating the case for the Iraq war within the framework of just war doctrine, concentrating on ad bellum issues.

I focus largely on whether a just cause exists for the war in Iraq. The ad bellum criterion of just cause has us look back to the occasion of war, the infringement of justice that war aims to rectify. To frame this discussion I will distinguish between two models for classifying the war in Iraq. The other reason for invasion will require us to examine legal justifications of the war and will recall the case of Smith. A rescue operation might seem to be a form of invasion, but it has some distinctive features: unlike an invasion, a rescue mission presupposes the oppression of defenseless people within a state or region who need help.

An invasion, in contrast, needs no such assumption.

The events that led to war in Iraq - BBC News

When considering rationales for rescue, I will point to two possible reasons and then raise doubts about each as they pertain to the Iraq war. Here we focus on the war as it was justified to Jones. Preemptive war is a response to an imminent danger, a real and tangible threat. The second component is more difficult to establish: postwar intelligence failed to corroborate that Saddam was planning to mobilize an arsenal of WMD against the United States. That said, it might be argued that he was working to acquire weapons and weapons programs. Given this report, we might say that it seems reasonable to think that Baghdad posed a real and imminent danger to the United States, even if we know now that no WMD existed.

On this line of argument, the Bush administration was subjectively reasonable although objectively wrong. We might say, then, that the Bush administration was a victim of bad luck of the sort that exonerates them from acting on their mistaken views. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence. Even more damning is evidence against the Bush administration from the Duelfer investigation and report of fall Led by Charles A. Indeed, the Duelfer report contradicts virtually every prewar claim by Washington about the danger that Saddam posed to the United States.

The findings are virtually identical on biological and chemical weapons. Saddam destroyed his arsenal of biological materials in the early s, well before the U. Given these facts, it seems unlikely that there was an immediate and mounting danger to the United States. We should be clear about how these facts bear upon moral judgment. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report and the Duelfer report are not saying that invading Iraq was justified in March but is not justified now. Nor are they saying that the Bush administration was a victim of bad luck.

Rather, these two reports strongly suggest that the Bush administration suppressed and manipulated data to support its case. Thus, we might claim that, because of the special nature of WMD, a preventive war is justified. Prevention is a key feature of the U. National Security Strategy NSS policy statement, providing the defining rubric in two of its nine sections. Released by the White House without much fanfare in September , 14 this policy statement appears to depart dramatically from basic assumptions regarding the ethics of war.

The core idea is that states have the right to attack other states in order to stop the proliferation of WMD, especially those weapons that would enable a state to carry out a surprise and devastating attack. Performing an act while claiming to prevent that same act seems incoherent. Perhaps preventive war might be understood and defended on analogy with prophylactic measures. Consider controlled fires. In those instances, small fires are created in order to reduce the occasions or risks of greater fires.

But controlled fires require planners to carefully calibrate levels of damage, not burn down whole forests. Better yet is the analogy with preventive medicine, which could involve enduring a minor illness in order to guard against more serious risks, as when we use vaccines. But typically such preventive measures involve few and controlled risks and never the intentional loss of individual life as a means to an end.

Preventive war does not allow for such a finely tuned balancing of risk and benefit. Its justification involves three steps. The central premise is that as a matter of justice states cannot be expected to suffer an attack without acting to protect their territory, citizens, and institutions from further danger. A justified war need not only be a reflex action. Requiring states to wait until they are attacked before allowing them to use force would be to require them to operate at a disadvantage, and that seems unfair. On this line of reasoning, states have the right to use force when strong evidence indicates that they will soon be victims of aggression.

In brief, the criteria are cause, intention, and proportionality. President Bush used something like this framework to extend U. For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack.

Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat—most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.

Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning…. The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.

Although the president uses the language of preemptive war, he organizes his comments under the rubric of prevention. Preventive war relaxes the notion of imminent danger. The idea is to move us along a spectrum from thinking reactively to thinking proactively, but not in a way that moves us along a spectrum from thinking defensively to thinking aggressively. Rather, the hope is to conceive of a proactive policy that is also defensive. I believe that a moral case for preventive war, if one is possible, would include several conditions. Toward formulating a justified preventive war doctrine, consider these criteria:.

Leaders embarking on a preventive war must identify and target a significant, ongoing danger to a nation or alliance of nations. The opponent must have a considerable capacity and intent to attack or support hostile plans by others. That threat cannot be vague, but must rely on genuine evidence of a real and credible danger. The danger may be distant rather than imminent, so long as it is real. Character of enemy.

Justification of the War in Iraq Essay

The opponent must have an established record of belligerency. Beyond hope of deterrence. The opponent must have an ideology of militancy and be difficult to deter with threats of retaliatory action in response to bellicose actions. The best way to handle such actors is not to increase disincentives to act—the standard goal of deterrence—but to deny them the ability to act.

Military doctrine would supplement the threat to retaliate if deterrence fails by assigning states the right to strike first if a dangerous actor or organization seems undeterrable. Seen in light of this fourth criterion, preventive war could be either a new part of, or a replacement for, U. At one level, both strategies seem structurally the same insofar as each involves a paradox: With preventive war, we seek to prevent a greater war later by going to war now; with deterrence, we threaten to wage war in order to prevent war from being waged.

Each plan is held together by the aim of reducing risks. Yet these policies differ in that deterrence involves a threat whereas preventive war involves using force. More important, preventive war doctrine presumes not the strength but the weakness of deterrence. Preventive war is an option for dealing with rogue or other actors who cannot be restrained with conventional threats of retaliation. Still, that difference is less important than the fact that Washington threatens preventive war as a feature of policy, and such threats may work to augment deterrence in an international environment of rogue states, terrorists, and WMD.

I will return to this connection between preventive war doctrine and deterrence below.

BBC NEWS | Interactive Essays | Post Saddam Iraq

One lesson we can take from this experience concerns the idea of last resort in just war doctrine. Preventive war doctrine wreaks havoc with the just war criterion of last resort. That criterion requires states to embark on war when they have no other reasonable options at their disposal to defend themselves, enforce the law, or protect human rights. It is meant to signal the radical change that happens when states move from diplomacy to war—to indicate that war is not a preferred option, but a regrettable necessity.

In an important sense, a just war is coerced. In his speech before the war, the president indicated that the United States had exhausted all other options, that it had no choice but war. Even if we grant some permissiveness when it comes to the urgency of war, we cannot relax the demand for information. Instead, U. Beyond the particular question of the Iraq war and the jus ad bellum , there are dangers surrounding the Bush doctrine of preventive war more generally.

The Bush doctrine assigns to the United States the prerogative to strike first, a dangerous prerogative when we understand how others might perceive and react to it. Asserting the right to carry out a first strike creates incentives for others to acquire the capacity to neutralize any advantage that one may gain from striking first.

The effect is to create incentives for arms competition, where no sides feel safe if they are not militarily superior.

Was the iraq war justified essay

It creates the illusion of safety while increasing incentives for war preparation and a quest for advantage. Consider the case of North Korea. But the United States is unlikely to attack North Korea, because it has nuclear weapons. And herein lies another outcome of preventive war doctrine: it gives nonnuclear states a powerful incentive to acquire nuclear weapons to deter aggression. In this way, too, the doctrine makes the world more dangerous. It provides a stimulus for nuclear proliferation among states that fear other, more powerful states.

Ironically, preventive war doctrine generates incentives for states to create precisely the weapons it seeks to protect against. Preventive war doctrine is not generalizable to situations of parity between states.

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It ignores problems that would arise if other states claimed a similar right. Stated differently, preventive war doctrine presumes U. The problem here is not political but moral. Apart from these political and moral issues, preventive war is problematic because it makes war easier in principle.

It weakens the barrier to war that the criterion of last resort imposes. Note how far the logic of preventive war can take us down a permissive line. From there we can plausibly take one more step toward war against rogue states that do not pose a threat, but that harbor terrorists who do. And from that step we can move one more increment to preventive war against other states, not rogue states but failed states, that harbor terrorists.

From that footing we can move one more step to preventive war against states that wish to increase their military capacities and challenge American dominance.

liamyacomsukol.ml It is difficult to stop on such a slippery slope. Finally, there is the problem of applying preventive war doctrine to other regional contexts. Imagine Pakistan and India, for example, adopting a preventive war policy by modeling their doctrines on that of the United States. The potential for conflagration is obvious. Taking these problems together, we can say that preventive war doctrine, far from being a prophylactic measure, exacerbates the disease that it presumes to guard against. Imagine a rogue state researching and developing a strain of Ebola virus to use as a biological weapon.

The new virus could be released on a large population with relative ease by terrorists, who could infiltrate the United States through one of its many unprotected harbors. After indubitable intelligence makes this research and its whereabouts known to the world, individual countries and the United Nations pressure the rogue state to cease its research and development, but to no avail.

Waiting only increases the threat. Here preventive force seems justified by my four conditions.

was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays
was the war on iraq justified essays Was the war on iraq justified essays

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