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Paper2Revised - The Illegitimacy of the War in Iraq 1 The...

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The Illegitimacy of the War in Iraq: A Review of the Just War Theory March 20, 2003 marked a day in history that would haunt the United States for years to come. On this day, American troops invaded Iraq with the goals of ending a dictatorship, establishing a democracy, and enforcing resolutions of the United Nations (DeCosse, 2003). The United States is no stranger to war. This country has participated in epic wars, many of which have been justified by extreme circumstances and their beneficial outcomes for both this country, as well as US allies. However, the war in Iraq does not fit this mold. Application of the Just War theory to the facts surrounding the Iraq War demonstrate that the war was unlawfully waged. The Iraq War undeniably failed to meet the conditions which must exist before war can be morally waged, including the criteria for just cause, last resort, proportionality, and probability of success. The Just War theory provides an important framework for analyzing whether or not warfare can be considered morally justified and lawful. Historically, there have been several schools of thought regarding the morality of war. First, “pacifism,” also known as the restrictive option, holds that wars are never morally permissible. A second form of pacifism, referred to as “modern-war pacifism,” holds that killing is permissible, but only when it is essential to ward off an unjust attack. (Kemp, 1992, p. 2). The other alternative to the Just War theory, known as “permissivism,” holds that a state has the inherent right to go to war whenever it deems war to be necessary. Although many other theories and perspectives on war exist, the Just War theory, along with pacifism, modern-war pacifism, and permissivism have become the most notable. The Illegitimacy of the War in Iraq 1
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Recent critics of the Just War tradition dispute whether or not the theory remains viable in today’s “new era of warfare,” in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the United States. Such critics question whether the Just War theory has any relevance in the face of an enemy who does not respect the traditional moral parameters of warfare which, for example, prohibit an attack upon innocent civilians (Bell, 2006, p. 35). The Just War theory has bee dismissed as antiquated by these critics, who argue that notions like legitimate authority and last resort do no fit in an era where our nation is in a “perpetual color coded state of emergency.” In this post-9-11 era, some view the Just War theory as “an ecclesial discipline” rather than a doctrine of the government to be applied by statesmen (Bell, 2006, p. 39).
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This note was uploaded on 09/01/2009 for the course WRIT WRIT 2 taught by Professor Traga during the Spring '09 term at UCSB.

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Paper2Revised - The Illegitimacy of the War in Iraq 1 The...

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