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On March 20th, 2003 President George W. Bush and his administration, with fears of nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction had declared war on Suddam Hussein and his regime. The majority believe that the removal of Hussein was for the best, but the question of “was war with Iraq really necessary?” Still persists. I believe that war must only be used if there is immediate danger to those going to war. I have a just war theory view on the war with Iraq and I believe that the war was not just as I can’t see how it meets all the criteria of the just war theory. For a war to be just it must have a just cause, it must be a last resort, must have a reasonable chance for success, have proportionality, right intention.
The first of the criteria for the just war theory is that that there must be a just cause. With over 16 years since the war began and 8 years since it had officially ended, there is still an overwhelming lack of evidence of so called weapons of mass destruction. David Kay who at the time of the war was the head of the CIA’s Iraq survey group, which is tasked with finding the alleged weapons of mass destruction. stood before congress 6 months after the war had begun and reported his team’s findings thus far. Kay stated that the team had not found any substantial evidence of stockpiling any weapons while also cautioning that there could still be a threat as the investigation had not yet been completed. It is no doubt that Hussein needed to go but according to the Council on Foreign Relations, the administration had exaggerated how much of a threat he truly was. Omar Taspinar told the CFR that nobody in the bordering countries of Iraq and those in Europe found Hussein to be a real threat as the felt that he could be contained. Jhon Nixon who is a former CIA analyst which interrogated Hussein on multiple different occurrences, Nixon reported that when asking Hussein about his intentions with chemical and nuclear weapons he admittedly didn’t expect to hear what he did, the supposed leader of the biggest current threat to the American people had no intentions in using weapons against us. Hussein told Nixon that the American people had made a major misjudgment because we did not listen or try to understand. This to me is evidence enough that Hussein and his regime were no immediate threat to us and those around him.
Along with a just cause there must also be comparative justice. This means that the outcome of going to war with Iraq must outweigh the benefits of not going to war and leaving them be. There is no doubt Saddam Hussein was an evil human being that repressed his people, but Iraq before the US invasion is considerably better than it is today. The amount of lives lost as a result of the war is rose to over 4,000 and close to 32,000 injured according to the casualty status provided by the US department of defense; this is a tragic fact of war that could have been avoided. There must also be right intention. According the general Tommy Franks the US wanted to end Hussein’s regime, eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction and drive terrorists from the lands and lead Iraq down a democratic path. Hussein was eliminated and the world is better off for that, but weapons of mass destruction were never found. As a result of Hussein’s execution the amount terrorists and the organizations controlling them had risen considerably. A study done by Jessica Stern from Harvard found that terrorism was relatively low up until the war started, from there on the rates of terror rise dramatically and continue to stay at these levels even today. Instead of decreasing terrorism it had been increased, and let’s not forget the fact that Iraq was an oil hotspot. CNN reports that in 2000 oil conglomerates such as Shell, BP, and Exxon spent more money on Bush’s campaign than they ever have on any other campaign. According to CNN and Paul O’Neil, the treasury secretary, Bush had already begun asking questions not about why to invade Iraq how they could and how quickly they could do it. According to the guardian, at the time of the war Hussein controlled a quarter of the world’s oil which 60% of the world’s total reserves. President Bush plainly said that the war would be paid with Iraq’s oil. In 2007 general John Abizaid says “of course it’s about oil, we can’t deny that”.
Next there must be a probability for success. If you look at the lives lost and the money spent in the war it’s obvious there was no real hope for success long before the war was over. According to reports from the US department of defense the casualties neared 1,000 in 2005 and would continue to rise which is not a sign of success. Before the war had begun President Bush stated that Iraq’s oil would pay for the war but according to the Washington Post terrorists and insurgents received 40-50% of the oil profits. In another report from the San Francisco Chronicle, in the 20 billion in reconstruction funds given to the concrete plants in Iraq they were working at a capacity of 25% with an average of 9.9 hours of electricity due to terrorist attacks. According to Ethics Daily the US army was had become a thin green line and could not continue the same deployment patterns long enough to defeat terror. The fact that there vision of success shows in the support the continuation of the war. The Council on Foreign Relations stated that polls conducted by ABC news and the Washington post found that in the months following the beginning of the war, the 71% of people who favored the way president Bush was handling the war had dropped to 58%. Jump forward 15 years, another study done this time by the Pew research center found that 48% of the American people feel that the war with Iraq was obsolete, while only 43% of people felt that the war was justified. If you look at the studies done by gallop just four days after the war had begun the was an overwhelming 72% of Americans in favor of the war with 59% strongly in favor and 13% not strongly but still in favor and the remaining 28% not in favor. 3 years later gallop reassess the views of the war finding that the majority of Americans see the war as a mistake.
War must also be the last resort. From earlier statements about the exaggeration of evidence of weapons of mass destruction and the threat level of the Hussein’s regime clearly shows that war with Iraq was not the last resort. Finally there must be proportionality, the gains from going to war must be even with the losses no less than the losses. Economically, what should have been an easy smash and grab for the US army turned into an endless pit that would end up costing the US government billions. At the start of the war Bush had an estimate of between 50 and 60 billion, while in fact it cost upwards of 2 trillion dollars with speculation saying that number may be closer to 4 trillion which he stated would be paid for by massive amount of oil located in Iraq as I stated earlier.
We can look back at the loss of not at only American but also Iraqi lives, and lack of success in our goals in Iraq. For many of us it would be hard to feel the true impact of war as it has never been in our front yard other than Pearl Harbor. For those that are living in the epicenter of a war it is a different story. In an article done by the global policy forum, an estimated 2 million Iraqi citizens were displaced by the 8 year conflict. This total translates to a whopping 50,000 who have to abandon their homes and lives a month according to Iraq’s government.
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