If Iraq is a hard case that must be dealt with, yet going to war to overthrow the Iraqi regime is morally problematic, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11th attacks or a grave and imminent Iraqi threat, what is to be done? If the burden is on those advocating war to justify it morally, the credibility of those opposing war depends on their ability to provide a realistic alternative. There are never easy or perfect answers to hard cases, but a strengthening of current efforts at enforcement, containment, and deterrence would seem to be more realistic than resorting to war, with all its troubling precedents and potentially negative consequences. In fact, this is essentially the approach the Bush administration is following in response to what it acknowledges is a similar but more immediate threat from North Korea.
Enforcement, containment, and deterrence have worked to a significant extent over the past decade, though more should be done. The inspections regime was one of the most intrusive and effective disarmament efforts ever mounted. Despite Iraq's defiance of the UN and the failure to achieve a full accounting of Iraq's WMD, inspectors were able to discover and eliminate far more weapons of mass destruction than all the bombing during the Gulf War. Iraq's nuclear program was discovered and dismantled; tens of thousands of chemical munitions were eliminated; some progress was made in uncovering the biological weapons program; and all but 2 of 819 SCUD missiles were destroyed. The new, tougher inspections regime now in place might not be able to disarm Iraq completely, since chemical and biological weapons are easily concealed, but it should be able to keep Iraq's biological and chemical weapons capabilities in check and prevent Iraq from the more serious threat of developing a nuclear weapons capability. Containment and deterrence of Iraq have also been relatively successful. Because of deterrence, the arms embargo, UN control over Iraq's oil revenues, and the no fly zone, Iraq's military is a shell of its former self and is no longer a serious threat to its neighbors.
Obviously, more must be done. Existing efforts to contain and deter Iraq, and the new inspections regime could be augmented by tighter enforcement of the arms embargo and the ban on unauthorized oil exports.28 While it is important that the Iraqi government not be allowed to use oil revenues to rebuild its military, the morally intolerable economic sanctions, which have caused so much death and suffering for so many years, need to be much more narrowly focused, so that they no longer threaten the lives and livelihood of ordinary Iraqis.
Finally, these efforts of enforcement, containment and deterrence against Iraq must be part of a much more serious global effort to strengthen the non-proliferation regime based on the principle of mutual restraint. Improved intelligence, expansion of the cooperative threat reduction program, stricter controls on export of missiles and weapons technology, improved enforcement of the biological and chemical weapons conventions, and fulfillment of U.S. commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are some elements of this broader non-proliferation effort.
This essay was written in conjunction with a symposium entitled, "Would An Invasion of Iraq be a Just War?" The symposium, held on December 17, 2002, in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the Religion and Peacemaking Initiative of the U.S. Institute of Peace. The essay uses the public statements of the United States Catholic Bishops on Iraq as a starting point for developing my own moral argument on the use of force against Iraq.
Against a War Against Iraq Essay - 825 Words | Cram
The US would have most likely not attacked Iraq if it was a democracy. Mature democracies never fight one another and the US should have not attacked Iraq. The Congress and the general public would never agree to the invasion if Iraq was a democracy. The difference in types of government was the least viable excuse to go to war.
ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE IRAQ WAR
September 11th has dramatically changed the way our country thinks about war and peace. The world has changed. The threat of mass terrorism by global terrorist networks is no longer just a thing of the latest Hollywood thriller or some arcane Pentagon war game; it is a reality that must be dealt with. But much of what has changed is not the world but our perceptions of the world. Because the unimaginable happened, we have, not surprisingly, become radically risk averse in our assessment and tolerance of threats around the world.
Iraq is Exhibit A. The threat from Iraq has not changed in the past year, yet it no longer seems incredible to believe that, just maybe, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction might be used against us and we cannot wait, as Bush administration officials have said, until we see the mushroom cloud to act against this threat. Based on available information, however, there is no new evidence, no new precipitating event, no new threatening actions by the Iraqi government, no new reason to go to war that did not exist one, two, four, or even six years ago. It is entirely legitimate to ask, therefore: Why now? What is the basis for claiming a unilateral right to use preventive force to overthrow the Iraqi regime? What would be the consequences for Iraq, the Middle East, and international relations?
As the bishops make clear, there are no easy answers to these and other questions. As religious leaders, the bishops offer a moral framework that can contribute to the formation of a community of conscience and can inform the momentous decisions being taken about possible war against Iraq. These decisions are especially consequential because they could set a precedent and justify a strategic doctrine that would weaken existing moral norms in unnecessary and inappropriate ways. The heavy burden is on those advocating the use of force to provide clear and convincing moral justification before the power of the world's preeminent military is unleashed on Iraq.