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Iraq War and Morality

Describe about the Report for Morality and Iraq War 2003.

The great concern has been spread over the discussion of morality and the death of Iraqis, by the US invasion in the year 2003. The scholars have used various methods to analyze the death rate and destruction in Iraq. The scholars have used the data provided by the Ministry of Health, media reports and morality tallies. The best known data is about the Iraqi Body Count,, which stated that till year 2006 43491 and 48283 Iraqis were killed. The action of Iraq invasion has been criticized by many people all over the world. It is because this action leads to massive destruction and death of many innocent people. Just to kill some of the wrong people, the aggressive action could not justify the reason. This paper will analyze the just war theory to discuss the action taken by US was not morally justified. It is believed that action taken by US was not necessary; also the paper will explain the democralization could not be a justified reason for aggression, either from the ethical perspective, or from the legal point of view. This war has been very crucial, because it had a very low level of support from the public and also lead to the failure of the American military and other coalition. Thus, testing the morality of the “Iraq war is very significant.

Iraq War and Morality

The Iraq war in the year 2003 has given rise to the plethora of the analysis in many fields. The analysis of the war is done in the disciplines of media, social science, international relations, international laws, political science etc. One of the major issues associated with the war is the issue of morality. Many scholars and thinkers are adamant about analyzing the effect of war because of the consequences it created. The effect of the war has forced people to think about the unipolar system in terms of the international relations. It is also believed and discussed that power of USA was overestimated before the initiation of the war. The discussion over morality of the war was initiated by the journal of Ethics and International Affairs. This journal raised the discussion about morality in the war against Iraq. Anti? (2009) states that, “the name of the tradition ‘just war’ is rather unfortunate due to the massiveness of the issue. What is really being addressed is the moral justifiability of the use of force. Also it is not really a theory of just war. It provides more of a moral calculus for the determination of the moral justifiability of the force, than a theory of war” (p 121).

Just War Theory

One of the recurrent and permanent realities about the existence of the humans is war. According to the earliest records from the history of humankind, humans have been found to be engaged in the armed conflicts, and have considered war as the main method of the conflict resolution. However the perpetrators of the war seem to be effectively analyzing the armed violence, due to the fact that there is no justified reason of violent actions. The Iraqi war was a major operation to attain Iraq freedom. UK and US forces invaded Iraq and had gained control over most of the Iraq in very few days. The forces had gained the rapid conventional military victory, but he guerrilla war was continued over the US and UK army troops. The number of deaths was estimated to increase till the time these wars were continued. The case of morality is major issue to be discussed, because 30% of the people killed in the war were civilians (Gordon, 2003, 1117).

The discussion of the morality of the Iraq war is also discussed because of the ethical questions it raises. The mass destruction in Iraq has been very massive and also proved to be wrong. The morality had to be justified because of the reason that number of terrorist has not been decreased since the massive destruction. Also, American troops had been killed in large number and many of them had been lost. The most basic ethical value that has been discussed is due to the barbarous and systematic abuse of the Iraqi detaniees. The people in many of the cities had suffered allot, also nationwide insurgency was portended by Shiites and Sunnies (Tapp et al, 2008). They had stand against the presence of US army in Iraq. Thus, there was not only a war that America was fighting against the terrorists, but also an internal war, in which people had been involved to gain their freedom from US invasion. The morality of the War is major issue not only the high death rate, but also due to the torture that Iraqi prisoners had to face. Even after all this destruction and torture half of the Americans believed that war was morally correct. The repressive and most aggressive actions of US army against Iraqis are the major moral challenge over their action (Powers, 2003). In order to end the Saddam Hussein’s regime, the US invasion was decided. However, it can be argued that does the capture of Saddam Hussein have changed the life of Iraqi people?

The theory of just war was found to be coined in the works of St. Augustine. The most important criteria about any war are that the war had been occurred for the justified purpose or for the selfish purposes. According to Chambers (2004), “The United Nations Charter also has contributed to just war theory by recognizing the intrinsic right of each sovereign nation to self-defense” (Chambers, 2004, 3). Outlawing the use of the military power in order to resolve the conflicts, or more appropriately the international conflict is the decision of the UN charter. According to UN charter, every nation has the equal rights to defend themselves from the attack of the other forces. Elshtain (1992), explains it as “which is by the very nature unlawful” (p. 205). Thus, it is unlawful to invade a nation and creating massive destruction to eliminate few terrorists.

Just war theory also deals with the “the legitimacy of killing noncombatants, the treatment of prisoners, the use of poisons, appropriation of property, and the use of especially terrible weapons” (Elshtain, 1992, 203). Another purpose of this theory is to govern the alternatives of the war at the first place and justify the conditions under which the war has been done. The just war theory is based on six main conditions. The first condition is that the reason of the war must be justified, second is that the right authority must make the decision to go for the war, third is that the people going for war must have the right intentions, fourth is that the war must be undertaken only as the last alternative, fifth is that the aim of the war must be to restore emergent peace and the last condition is that war must be proportionate (Chambers, 2004).

According to the first condition of the Just war theory, the reason of the war must be just. According to the scholars the most justified reason is to undertake in response of the aggression. Thus, the question is that US invasion in Iraq was undertaken as the response towards Iraq’s aggression? The justified reason towards the war, as presented by President Bush, was that the aggressive behavior of Iraq was twofold (Tapp et al, 2008). The first was that Iraq had produced the concealed weapons, which could have been used to harm American people or other innocent people of the world. The justified reason was that people in America were terrified and were the victim of the Iraqi aggression, as Saddam Hussein could have done mass destruction. The second justified reason given by Americans was that Iraqi had a great link to the terrorists groups, who had attacked US in 2001 (Chambers, 2004).

The second condition was that the right authority must make the decision about going on the war. Some of the scholars believe that US action to invade Iraq were legitimate and right. According to American constitution, The President of the country has the right to use the military actions against other nations. The third condition was that people going for the war must have the correct intentions. The justified intention of the war must be to do the right and to bring peace. The public speeches of the President Bush had claimed that the major justified reason of Iraqi invasion is to reduce the terrorist actions. However, there is still a question about the morality of the actions and intentions. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein and destruction of the weapons were not the only intentions of US. Some of the scholars claim that the true intentions of America for invading Iraq were to acquire the oil supply of Iraq (Chambers, 2004). Novak (2003) has stated that “the fundamental motive seems to be the geopolitical position that Iraq holds in the Middle East [as one of] the three major oil and natural gas producing states (Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia)”.  US claimed that their main intention was to restore peace, by eradicating terrorism, but US also had the desire of national self interest and thus ‘right intentions’ are not justified (Anti?, 2009).

The fourth condition of just war is that war should be considered as the last resort. However, it has been found that war was not considered as the last resort y US. American Government could have tried the non violent ways. Taking away the consent of the general public can collapse the regime. If the Iraqi people had been encouraged to take part in non-violent actions against terrorism, the war could have been avoided (Chambers, 2004). Thus, the morality could not be justified by these intentions of US. Iraq war had not been associated with any kind of moral actions and self interest was the main agenda. The fifth condition of just war theory proposes that the goal or the aim of the war must emergent peace. It can be accepted that US motive was to establish peace, by reducing terrorism, dismantaling the supply of weapons and saving the lives of millions of people all over the world (Gordon, 2003). However, this act can be questioned under morality and ethics, because upheaval of Saddam Hussein has not been able to reduce terrorism. Although, the revenge killing, new tyranny and anrchy has been increased. The stability and peace could not be achieved till date. Many innocent people had lost their lives and many have to be displaced from their land (Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group, 2008).

Conclusion

Iraq War and US invasion in 2003 has raised many questions about the morality and ethics. The war occurred due to the American intentions to kill Saddam Hussein and to lessen the terrorist activities all over the world. The war could not be considered as moral. The paper used the just war theory to determine the morality of Iraq war. According to this analysis there was no morality in the Iraq War, because the war seems to be derived from personal interest and intentions of America. America could not completely justify the correct reasons for war, which could have been avoided.

The sixth condition of the just war theory states about the proportionate war. The destruction and evils of the war must not overshadow the achieved goods (Murray, & Scales, 2003). The Iraq war can be seen as just as it resulted in the destruction of Saddam Hussein and weapon mass destruction. The war ended a cruel and tyrant dictator, who had killed thousands of innocent people. His removal from the Iraq was done to ensure that such atrocities must not occur in future (Burnham et al, 2006). However, the war resulted in humanitarian trouble for thousands of innocent Iraqi people, many of the people lost their loved ones, their homes were destroyed and prisoners faced extensive torture. Thus, the Iraq war could not be considered as morally and ethically justified, nor it could be considered as proportionate.

References

Anti?, M. (2009). Iraq War (2003-): Was It Morally Justified?. Politi?ka misao, 46(1), 88-113.

Burnham, G., Lafta, R., Doocy, S., & Roberts, L. (2006). Mortality after the 2003 invasion of

Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey. The Lancet, 368(9545), 1421-1428.

Chambers, R. (2004).  Just War theory and the US-led War on Iraq from 2003. University of

Wollongong, 1-18.

Elshtain, J. B. (1992). Just war theory. NYU Press.

Gordon, D. (2003). The Cost, Consequences and Morality of War in Iraq1. Age, 18(24), 16.

Gordon, D. (2003). Iraq, War and Morality. Economic and Political Weekly, 1117-1120.  

Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group. (2008). Violence-related mortality in Iraq from 2002 to

  1. N Engl J Med, 2008(358), 484-493.

Murray, W., & Scales, R. H. (2003). The Iraq War. Harvard University Press. 43

Novak, Michael. (2004). “Asymmetrical Warfare” & Just War. Retrieved from:

https://www.nationalreview.com/article/205864/asymmetrical-warfare-just-war-michael-novak

Powers, G. F. (2003). An Ethical Analysis of War Against Iraq. Blueprint for Social

Justice, 56(7).

Tapp, C., Burkle, F. M., Wilson, K., Takaro, T., Guyatt, G. H., Amad, H., & Mills, E. J. (2008).

Iraq War mortality estimates: a systematic review. Conflict and health, 2(1), 1.

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