The picture up above shows the Marine Corps flag being carried out of the Pentagon on 9/11. I know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but I like the picture, and I couldn’t find any suitable ones pertaining to Iraq off hand, so sue me. (See Update.)
I made the mistake of starting to read the letters to the editor in the local paper today. One letter writer started off by saying that the war in Iraq was illegal under international law, and immoral under just war theory. Most writers that begin this way then proceed as if their assertion of illegality and immorality means that the question is settled, and does not need to be proved. On the contrary, however, is the view that the writer cannot assume that everyone will agree that these statements are self-evidently true. They remain to be proved. However, they cannot be proved.
First, the current action in Iraq is not a new war, but a continuation of the war that began in 1991. That war ended not with a peace treaty, but with a cease fire. That means that if the 1991 war was legal, then it’s 2003 continuation is legal. In fact there were a total of 18 resolutions that said Iraq was in violation of the cease-fire agreement. There was a warning that they must comply or face the consequences. If the consequences are more resolutions, well then, what good are they. The consequences must be severe, and disastrous, war, in order to be meaningful. As to a declaration of war, that is not necessary in order to wage military action. Declarations have been used only 5 times, and were not thought necessary by Adams or Jefferson in waging the quasi-war against the French or against the Barbary pirates. Nor was a declaration of war issued against the Confederate States of America.
The existence of the United Nations does not mean the surrender of American sovereignty. The US still retains the right to go to war in its own defense.
Second, the idea that the war is immoral, presumably because it involved supplanting Saddam, and represents an interference in the internal affairs of another nation. This does not seem to bother people, often the same ones protesting Iraq, who urge us to do something about Darfur. Now we really have no interests in Somalia, but we do have interests in Iraq and the Middle East, so if Saddam or someone else is threatening those interests, it is to our best interest to end those threats.
Some of the tests for a just war are:
- Just Cause—Violation of numerous resolutions pertaining to the cease fire of the 1991 war. Human rights violations.
- Legitimate authority—Congressional authorization, and the president’s authority as Commander-in-Chief.
- Right intention—Removal of tyrant. Restoration of civil liberties.
- Last resort—18 UN Resolutions.
UPDATE: I replaced the picture from 9/11 with a current picture that shows a Blackhawk over Baghdad.