Was the U.S.

Invasion on Iraq Justified

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Was the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified?
Even before the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, the prospect of a U.S. invasion was controversial, with millions of people around the world taking part in street demonstrations in protest. Since the invasion, U.S. military forces have faced a counterinsurgency that has killed thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Was the invasion justified? Michael T. Klare, a professor of world security studies, argues in this Point/Counterpoint that the invasion was not justified and that it has made the United States more vulnerable to terrorism. Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), counters that the invasion was justified and that it may pave the way for a new era of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. The U.S. Invasion of Iraq Was Not Justified To pose the question, “Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq justified?” is to ask, above all else, whether the death of more than 1,500 American soldiers (the death toll as of March 2005) along with tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians was justified. These losses may seem smaller than those of other major wars, but every human life is precious, and so we must set a very high standard for the justifiable use of military force. The U.S. invasion of Iraq does not meet this standard. In reaching this conclusion, it is essential to understand that the war in Iraq was not a matter of necessity, but of choice. Unlike most other foreign wars in which the United States became involved, the invasion of Iraq was not preceded by an attack on this country or on one of its allies. World War II (1939-1945) commenced for the United States when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor; the Korean War (1950-1953) when North Korean troops crossed into South Korea; and the 1991 Persian Gulf War when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait. In each of these cases, the outbreak of hostilities was precipitated by the aggressive action of a hostile power, and thus the decision to respond in a military fashion was justified by legitimate self-defense or the obligation, embedded in the United Nations (UN) Charter, to aid the victims of aggression. But this justification cannot be used in the case of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, as the Iraqis did not attack the United States or invade another country; the decision to initiate hostilities was made by the United States alone, and without being triggered by the hostile action of an aggressor state. That the United States invaded Iraq as a matter of choice rather than of necessity is further Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 2 of 21 demonstrated by an assessment of the military equation in the Persian Gulf area at the onset
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of hostilities. While it is true that Iraq had once posed a significant threat to its neighbors— most notably in August 1990, when it invaded and occupied Kuwait—the Iraqi army of 2003 was but a pale shadow of its former strength. For 12 years, the country had been subjected to rigorous economic sanctions imposed by the UN, substantially degrading the combat effectiveness of its once-vaunted war machine. In addition, repeated attacks by U.S. and British aircraft enforcing the “no-fly” zone over southern Iraq had enfeebled Iraq’s air defenses and command/communications systems. By the time George W. Bush entered the White House, U.S. intelligence reports (as summarized in the New York Times) were describing the Iraqi army’s “spiral of decay under the weight of economic sanctions and American military pressure.” Under these circumstances, Iraq was in no position to initiate an attack on this or any other country, and so the United States had the luxury of standing back and allowing sanctions and other forms of pressure to hasten the decline of Iraq’s military capabilities. Iraq was further enfeebled at this time by the conspicuous presence of UN weapons inspectors. These specialists had been deployed in Iraq at the end of 2002 and were dispersed throughout the country—providing a strong deterrent to aggressive action by Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, who desperately sought to prevent the emergence of a unified anti-Iraq bloc in the UN Security Council. The longer the inspectors remained in Iraq, moreover, the greater the likelihood that they would discover and destroy any hidden arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (collectively, weapons of mass destruction, or WMD). By allowing time for sanctions and inspections to do their work, therefore, the United States would have strengthened its relative military advantage over Iraq, not weakened it. Given the lack of a credible threat of aggression by Iraq at this time and the presence there of UN inspectors, most members of the UN Security Council, along with many members of Congress, preferred to wait before initiating any military action against Iraq. Indeed, the Security Council refused to support a U.S.-backed resolution that would have declared Iraq in full breach of its obligation to destroy all WMD capabilities and invite the use of military force by member states to achieve this objective. Despite this, the Bush administration chose to initiate military action, thereby incurring substantial anger and disapproval from the international community. In taking this unpopular step, the White House insisted that Iraq posed a threat to U.S. security of such magnitude and immediacy that any further delay in attacking it would be unacceptable. The question of whether the U.S. invasion was justified, Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 3 of 21 therefore, hinges on the accuracy of the administration’s claim that Iraq posed a clear and
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present danger to America’s national security. In making this claim, the administration repeatedly charged that Saddam Hussein’s relentless pursuit of WMD represented an imminent threat to the United States and its allies, and so justified the use of military force in a preemptive mode—that is, a military action conducted in anticipation of an enemy assault with the aim of preventing it or reducing its eventual severity. In explaining the logic for this sort of action, President Bush told a national radio audience on September 14, 2002, “Saddam Hussein’s regime has proven itself a grave and gathering danger.... To assume this regime’s good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk that we must not take.” The legitimacy of preemptive action of this sort is a matter of considerable debate in the international legal community. Some experts contend that it is not permitted by international law , while others argue that it is permissible under certain circumstances—notably when a potential victim of assault has unimpeachable evidence that a hostile state is on the brink of launching a deadly attack and can show that nothing short of preemptive action will prevent such an assault from occurring. But even if we accept the latter view, it cannot be said to apply to Iraq in March 2003, when the United States initiated hostilities against Iraq. At that time, UN weapons inspectors were deployed throughout Iraq and were reporting back that there was no sign of a concerted Iraqi effort to gear up for attacks on neighboring countries, whether with WMD or any other weapons. So the U.S. invasion of Iraq cannot be justified as a legitimate response to an imminent Iraqi assault. When challenged on this point, the Bush administration asserted that even if Iraq was unable to launch an attack at that moment in time, it was secretly developing a potent WMD capability that would be ready at some point in the future, at which time the level of casualties inflicted by Iraq in any military strike would be infinitely greater than in any action taken to destroy this capacity while it was still undeveloped. Such an action—usually described as a preventive rather than a preemptive assault—was justified by the White House in terms of lives saved in years to come. “We are acting now because the risks of inaction would be far greater,” Bush explained on March 18, 2003. “In one year or five years the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.... We choose to meet that threat now where it arises before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.” Unlike some types of preemptive action, preventive attacks of this sort have never been considered legitimate under international law. This is so because they represent an Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 4 of 21 unprovoked assault on a sovereign state in the absence of any evidence of a severe and
Was the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified

immediate threat of aggression on that state’s part. But even if we choose to overlook international law and claim that a preventive strike was in the best interests of U.S. security, the use of military force by the United States would only be justified if preceded by the release of irrefutable intelligence showing that Iraq was, in fact, one to five years away from raining WMD on American skies and cities. And, in fact, the White House did claim to possess evidence of this sort. “For the past 12 years, [Saddam Hussein] pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons,” Bush declared in his State of the Union address of January 28, 2003. “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.” But subsequent investigation by U.S. weapons specialists revealed that these and other such claims were based on fraudulent documents or on the unsubstantiated assertions of unreliable Iraqi defectors. For example, it was learned that the evidence of an Iraqi interest in African uranium was counterfeit and that the aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq were not suitable for use in manufacturing nuclear weapons. At no point was the administration able to provide irrefutable evidence that Iraq was actively pursuing WMD at that point in time. So the U.S. invasion of Iraq cannot be justified in terms of eliminating a future WMD threat. As we know, President Bush chose to commence the invasion of Iraq despite the lack of evidence of active Iraqi WMD production, insisting that such evidence would be discovered after Iraq was occupied and U.S. weapons inspectors were able to examine suspect munitions sites. “I’m confident that our search will yield that which I strongly believe: that Saddam had a weapons program,” he declared on July 30, 2003. To conduct this search, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) and deployed hundreds of weapons specialists in Iraq under its aegis. But after scouring every inch of Iraq for over a year and a half, the ISG came up empty-handed. In testimony before Congress, the group’s chief investigator, Charles A. Duelfer, told Congress on October 8, 2004, that “Saddam Hussein ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf War,” and that U.S. inspectors had found “no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program” in the years following. Similarly, the group found “no indications” that Hussein had attempted to reconstitute a secret biological warfare program that had been shut down by UN inspectors in 1996. The ISG was finally disbanded in Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 5 of 21 December 2004, without having discovered any evidence to support the administration’s
Was the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified

claims that Iraq was vigorously pursuing weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S. invasion. In yet another attempt to justify the invasion, the administration charged that Hussein was providing substantial aid and comfort to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and so posed a severe if indirect threat to U.S. security. “He has trained and financed al-Qaeda-type organizations before, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations,” Bush avowed on March 6, 2003. By removing the Hussein regime, therefore, the United States would strike a deadly blow against international terrorism. “The use of force against Iraq will directly advance the war on terror, and will be consistent with continuing efforts against international terrorists residing and operating elsewhere in the world,” he told Congress at that time. Such an assault would also eliminate any possibility that Hussein might someday turn over WMD materials to al-Qaeda, thus posing an especially fearsome threat to the United States. Were it true that Hussein was assisting al-Qaeda in its terror campaign against the United States, and had there been a genuine threat of WMD passing from one to the other, an invasion of Iraq could conceivably be considered a legitimate act of self-defense. As in the case of a U.S. strike against alleged Iraqi WMD capabilities, however, this argument would only hold merit if evidence had been provided showing that there was, in fact, a significant and sustained relationship between the Hussein regime and al-Qaeda. And, as with its WMD allegations, the administration did attempt to supply such evidence. “Iraq has in the past provided training in document forgery and bomb-making to al-Qaeda,” CIA director George Tenet told Congress on February 11, 2003. “It has also provided training in poisons and gasses to two al-Qaeda associates.” But, in this case as well, the administration’s claims were later found to be fraudulent or lacking in substance. No convincing evidence of Iraqi aid to al-Qaeda was ever produced, and the staff of the 9/11 Commission that investigated the September 11 attacks on the United States concluded in June 2004 that there does not appear to have been a “collaborative relationship” between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization. So this justification for the U.S. invasion, like the others, lacks any validity. Despite the absence of any evidence for a significant Iraq-al-Qaeda connection, President Bush attempted to revive this justification for war after Iraq had been invaded and the Hussein regime had fallen. With Iraq now under U.S. occupation, he asserted, that country could no longer be used as a base of operations for terrorist organizations, making the world considerably safer. “The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 6 of 21 terror,” he declared aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. “We have
Was the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified

removed an ally of al-Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding.” In the months that followed, however, Iraq became a haven for terrorists from all over the Middle East as hundreds—perhaps thousands—of extremists flooded into the country to take part in the armed insurgency against the U.S. occupation. As of March 2005 (when this commentary was composed), that insurgency was exhibiting no sign of weakening or decline. Indeed, more American soldiers have died in fighting the insurgency than in the initial invasion of Iraq. At this stage in the conflict, it is impossible to determine the precise nature of the insurgent forces or the relative representation within them of former Hussein regime loyalists, native Sunni militants resentful of the American occupation, and foreign jihadists like Abu Musab alZarqawi of Jordan. But one thing is certain: The insurgency in Iraq has proved to be an irresistible lure for Muslim extremists who seek everlasting glory by killing Americans and their Iraqi collaborators. As one young Lebanese man told a reporter for the New York Times after serving with the insurgents in Iraq, “Zarqawi addressed himself to all Muslim youth, saying that the Americans had come [to Iraq] and come with all their armies, they attacked us, so we should go ourselves to take our revenge.” This is a message that appears to be attracting a growing number of recruits among disaffected Muslim youth in Europe and the Middle East. Indeed, intelligence officials in Europe fear that Iraq—like Afghanistan before September 11—is serving as a training ground and laboratory for violent extremists who will employ their deadly skills in other countries. “We consider these people dangerous because those who go [to Iraq] will come back once their mission is accomplished,” a French antiterrorist expert declared in October 2004. “Then they can use the knowledge gained there in France, Europe, or the United States. It’s the same as those who went to Afghanistan or Chechnya.” This being the case, it is very difficult to portray the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a victory in the war on terror. Even if the insurgency is eventually defeated—and at this point in time there is no indication of how or when this will be accomplished—the current fighting will spawn a new generation of battle-hardened terrorists with the determination and capacity to employ violent means of attack. All this being the case, it is fully evident that the U.S. invasion of Iraq cannot be justified for any of the reasons advanced by the Bush administration before and after the initiation of hostilities. Iraq had not attacked another nation nor was it on the brink of doing so; it did not Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 7 of 21 possess nor was it pursuing weapons of mass destruction; and it was not associated with or
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providing assistance to al-Qaeda. As if in recognition of the complete hollowness of its original justifications for the invasion, the White House has since devised yet another reason for its decision to attack: that by toppling the tyrannical Hussein regime and helping pave the way for democracy in Iraq, the United States has advanced the cause of democracy elsewhere in the Middle East and thereby diminished the risk of anti-American violence. As explained by President Bush in his State of the Union address of February 2, 2005, “The victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehrân. [the capitals of Syria and Iran, respectively], bring more hope and progress to a troubled region, and thereby lift a terrible threat from the lives of our children and grandchildren.” Certainly, the advancement of freedom and democracy in the Middle East is a worthy objective. But the assertion that the U.S. invasion of Iraq will further this goal, and thus produce a decline in anti-American violence throughout the region, must be viewed with considerable skepticism. To begin with, it is not at all apparent that the January 2005 elections in Iraq and the transition process now under way there will lead to meaningful democracy, under which the rights of minorities are fully protected. A government composed largely of Shiites and Kurds, for example, would undoubtedly be viewed as illegitimate by the minority Sunnis and invite strong opposition; one dominated by conservative Islamic forces, meanwhile, could result in the imposition of Iranian-like curbs on the rights of women and non-Muslims. But even if Iraq does move in the direction of true democracy, it is not at all apparent that this will foster the rise of democracy in neighboring countries, or produce a reduction in anti-American extremism. The fact that democracy in Iraq is associated with American military occupation has robbed it of appeal for many people in the Middle East. Furthermore, the holding of elections in, say, Saudi Arabia or Egypt, could well result in the ascendancy of militant Islamic parties with a virulent anti-American message. It is not possible to conclude, therefore, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq will, in the end, result in the triumph of democracy and a substantial reduction in violence. Indeed, one must question whether it is even possible to promote democracy through the application of military force. The original founders of this nation—leaders such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson—believed that freedom and democracy were noble ideals that had to be nurtured in the minds of people through education, persuasion, and an appeal to reason. While they certainly believed that men and Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 8 of 21 women inspired by these ideals were justified in using force to eliminate the yoke of tyranny,
Was the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified

they would be horrified at the thought of using force first and then seeking to inspire a belief in democracy. The abuses committed by American troops in Abu Ghraib prison would also cause them great distress. It is hard to imagine that they would conclude that true democracy could take root in Iraq so long as American troops patrolled its streets and guarded its polling places. Much has changed since these great men walked the earth, but their belief that a genuine commitment to democracy must spring from people’s hearts and minds rather than be imposed at the point of a gun is just as valid today as it was in their time. And so, in the end, it is impossible to find a persuasive justification for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This is not to say that no good whatsoever has came from U.S. action: The demise of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime is certainly to be applauded. But when war is initiated as a matter of choice rather than necessity, and American soldiers are sent into harm’s way, the president must demonstrate to the American people that such action is absolutely essential to protect the nation’s security. As has been shown abundantly above, President Bush has not been able to do this in the case of Iraq. Hence, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not justified. The Invasion of Iraq Was Justified Any justification of the invasion of Iraq must meet two tests: Was the invasion—and the subsequent war against guerrilla insurgents—wise policy? And was the war morally right? What distinguishes war from simple murder is its essentially political character and the just purposes for which it is waged. Consider first the question of the war’s wisdom. Did the invasion advance American political and strategic interests? Have the benefits outweighed the costs? Indeed, given the fact that the guerrilla war in Iraq has continued since the invasion in March 2003, is it even possible to assess these questions? What is clear is that the invasion of Iraq is also part of a larger conflict across the “greater Middle East,” a euphemism for the entire Islamic world, stretching from West Africa to Southeast Asia and centered in Arabia. Many observers believe that the invasion of Iraq reverses decades of U.S. strategy in this region, and that the basic American approach was still valid after the September 11 attacks. Perhaps most notable among these is Brent Scowcroft, the retired Air Force general who served as national security adviser in the Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 9 of 21 George H. W. Bush Administration and who shaped that administration’s policy during and
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after the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on August 15, 2002, Scowcroft, a longtime member of the Bush family inner circle, argued that: any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time… Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the [United States]. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict—which the region, rightly or wrongly, perceives to be clearly within our power to resolve—in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest. What Scowcroft and like-minded critics missed was that President Bush’s “global war on terror” was in fact a reappraisal of past U.S. strategy toward the entire Middle East, not simply a narrowly focused effort against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Scowcroft also misunderstood the political significance of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden; their hatred of the United States and Israel was only an element of a larger view of the region. Theirs was truly a revolutionary movement, an attack on the longstanding and autocratic order, first and foremost questioning the legitimacy of the existing Arab and Islamic governments. It marked a civil war among Arab Muslims of the majority Sunni sect in which the revolutionaries sought to establish a region-wide order inspired by strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. In other words, the attacks of September 11 were a new chapter in the political upheaval in the Middle East that first erupted in 1979. In that tumultuous year the old order of the Middle East, first established after World War I (1914-1918), began to crumble: Saddam Hussein openly came to power in Iraq, the Islamic Revolution toppled the shah of Iran, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and, perhaps most fatefully, in November a cell of Saudi Arabian dissidents seized control of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing dozens of pilgrims while denouncing the Saudi royal family for its dissolute and Westernized ways. The group’s leader, Juhayman al-Utaybi, called for the “purification of Islam” and the overthrow of the House of Saud. Once the immediate crisis passed, Saudi leaders worked furiously to tighten their links to the extreme Wahhabi clerics that had long been the keys to the regime’s power. Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 10 of 21 The road from 1979 to 2001 was full of twists and turns, but through the entire period one
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constant was the American strategy of promoting stability—and low oil prices—by creating alliances with regional governments. At one time or another, almost every country in the region had been a candidate for strategic partnership, from Saudi Arabia and the shah’s Iran to Saddam’s Iraq. But none of these proved truly lasting, so that by the time of the Clinton administration, U.S. policy had become one of “dual containment” of both Iran and Iraq. Prior to September 11, George W. Bush followed this traditional policy. Beginning almost immediately after the terrorist attacks and maturing as planning for the Iraq war evolved, the new “Bush Doctrine” echoed past American strategy from the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 to the Truman Doctrine that guided U.S. policy during the Cold War. The Bush Doctrine reached full flower two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, in a speech given to the American Enterprise Institute. It is worth quoting at length: The current Iraqi regime has shown the power and tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America’s interests in security and America’s belief in liberty both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq…. There was a time when many said the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq—with its proud heritage, abundant resources, and skilled and educated people—is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom. The world has an interest in spreading democratic values because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologues of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the “freedom gap” so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab character that champions internal reform, greater political participation, economic openness and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward political reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world—the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim—is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 11 of 21 a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will
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always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and tactics of terror…. Much is asked of America in this year 2003. The work ahead in Iraq is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times and we will meet the tests of our time. By contrast to past strategies that sought only to achieve stability and to preserve the status quo, the president was offering a new strategy intended to promote freedom and democracy even at the cost of short-term instability and revolutionary change. Recognizing the fundamental political upheaval at work in the Islamic world and the inherent weakness of the status quo, Bush offered a liberal, democratic revolution as an alternative to the harsh Islamist revolution offered by Osama bin Laden and Sunni fundamentalists. Indeed, the Bush solution, in a region of political stagnation, was for more radical change than the terrorists. And, as might be expected, there is undeniably great risk in promoting revolutionary change. Bush’s opponent in the 2004 presidential contest, Massachusetts senator John Kerry— ironically for the supposedly “liberal” candidate—argued during the campaign for a more “realistic” policy in Iraq and the Middle East. “I have always said from day one that the goal here is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that’s a full democracy.” Brent Scowcroft, perhaps not surprisingly, continued to disapprove of the Bush policy in 2005, long after the initial invasion but as the guerrilla war continued without a decisive outcome. “With Iraq, we clearly have a tiger by the tail,” he told the New America Foundation. Speaking just prior to the January 31, 2005, elections in Iraq, he argued that democratic practices there “are turning out to be less about a promising transformation, and it has a great potential for deepening the conflict. Indeed, we may be seeing an incipient civil war.” Yet the true strategic choices in the Islamic world are between the Bush Revolution—the promotion of liberal political principles and democratic governance—and what might be called the “Osama Revolution”—the promotion of a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam and autocratic, clerical governance. The desire of Scowcroft, Kerry, and the “realists” in the United States and Europe is to prop up an authoritarian status quo that is cracking at its Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

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foundations. The reconstruction of Iraq has provoked a violent insurgency but, more powerfully, has brought a renaissance of political dialogue not only in the country itself but around the region. The January 2005 elections not only confirmed the toppling of the Baathist and minority Sunni power structure that ran Iraq for almost a century—while violently repressing the majority Shia and the ethnic Kurdish populations that comprised a good 80 percent of Iraq. They also ushered in genuinely pluralistic politics, led by the formerly suppressed Shia majority but determined on national reconciliation and uninterested in following Iranian dictates; indeed, the longer-term likelihood is that Iraq’s free Shia majority—the Shia are a distinct sect of Muslims, often at odds with and oppressed by the Sunni majorities in other Arab countries—will spread their ideas of democracy to Iran, undermining the rule of the mullahs in Tehrân. The taste for liberty clearly has spread to Iraq’s neighbors. The assassination of Lebanese political leader Rafik Hariri in early February 2005, almost certainly at the behest of Syria, sparked continuous public protests, strikes, and calls for Syria to get out of Lebanon, with the result that the Syrian-backed government resigned at the end of the month. Even Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze Muslim leader, member of parliament and no friend of the United States, felt the winds of political change: It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world…. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it. Seemingly inspired by the Lebanese, Egyptians likewise took to the streets, in defiance of the police, to shout the slogan kifaya—“enough”—at President Hosni Mubarak. A few days later, Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand for more than three decades, withdrew his plan for yet another term in office through an uncontested, up-or-down referendum. He announced that the Egyptian constitution would be amended to allow for a multiple-candidate presidential election. “Mubarak’s reform may prove to be little more than a ruse,” observed journalist Jackson Diehl. “But the old autocrat’s attempt to crush the opposition movement [liberal Egyptian dissident Ayman] Nour helped to create has clearly backfired.” The movement for political change in the region is, in part, enabled by the slow but steady spread of the Internet. Many U.S. strategists have noted how al-Qaeda and other terrorist Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 13 of 21 organizations use the World Wide Web to spread propaganda and communicate through eWas the U.S. Invasion on Iraq Justified

mail, but the region is also alive with democratically inspired “web loggers, also known as bloggers.” Thus in Egypt, the blogger “Big Pharoah” writes that “something is beginning to happen in Egypt.” The message is the same: “People have had enough of political and economic stagnation in the region. There is growing frustration at the lack of political participation in government. In greater numbers Middle Easterners are saying ‘kifaya.’” Europeans and Germans in particular saw the analogy to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that marked the end of the Cold War and the coming of liberty to Eastern Europe. “When analysts are confronted by real people,” wrote Claus Christian Malzahn in the magazine Der Speigel, “amazing things can happen.” And maybe history can repeat itself. Maybe the people of Syria, Iran, or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did. When voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of November 9, 1989, when the wall fell. To be sure, the process of political change in Iraq and around the greater Middle East is the work of decades. The cost to the United States thus far has been dear, about 1,500 soldiers killed at this writing [March 2005] and perhaps $300 billion spent, with more casualties and other costs to come, certainly. Although the bravery of Iraqis in voting—and dying in even greater numbers than Americans—has had an inspiring effect throughout the Islamic world and has opened some minds in Europe and elsewhere, much of the rest of the world, including many U.S. allies, is fearful of change in the Middle East. Perhaps least appreciated but of gravest strategic concern is how a democratic revolution throughout the oil-rich Middle East would be perceived by China, with its rapidly growing economy and increasingly powerful military. There can be no guarantees that China will easily acquiesce to greater American influence in such a vital region—one upon which China relies for energy to continue its economic modernization. In weighing the benefits thus far and likely in the future and also the costs, what perhaps tips the balance in favor of the Iraq operation is the almost certain consequences of failing to act. As argued above, the predictable course in the Middle East was that the repressive, status quo regimes of the region were failing the test of legitimacy and power. Not only were they all tyrannies, differentiated only by their corruption and effectiveness at murdering, torturing, and Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 14 of 21 otherwise oppressing their own citizens. They were and remain what strategists have come
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to call “failing states”—simply unable to secure their own borders and interests. Responding to the dangers of failed states has long been a centerpiece of the American strategic tradition. In 1818 John Quincy Adams wrote to his friend George W. Erving to complain about the problems of Florida, then a part of the Spanish Empire. Spain must either get control of the Indian tribes, sponsored by British agents, who were staging raids into the state of Georgia, or “it must cede to the United States a province … which is in fact derelict, open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them.” Almost a century later, Theodore Roosevelt made the same point. “Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of a civilized society, may … ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere … may force the United States, however reluctantly, … to the exercise of an international police power.” In sum, the strategic case for intervention in Iraq is strong. The greater Middle East, and its Arab heartland in particular, have long been of central importance in international politics. In the post-Cold-War world, the region is the world’s most volatile and violent; maintaining the status quo is all but impossible and to refrain from acting forcefully in the region is to increase the chances that radical Islam will come to power and control the region’s energy resources. What are now terrorist organizations will become the Islamic world’s most powerful governments, creating even harsher domestic societies and, it is certain, greater problems internationally. They are also likely to use oil revenues to buy armaments and, in particular, to pursue nuclear weapons. Attempting to transform the region from a locus of repression and increasing threat by liberalizing its political practices and liberating oppressed peoples is a strategy attended by risk—but far less risky than any alternative. Yet no war, no matter how politically advantageous or strategically wise, is justified unless it satisfies the tests of morality. Soldiers and statesmen are enjoined to act in accordance with principle, and never more so than when their decisions and actions are nearly certain to result in killing and maiming of both foe and friend. The moral dimension of war has been a subject of philosophical and religious reflection for millennia. Indeed, there is a long tradition of “just war” debate, intended to provide politicians and generals with a moral framework to guide their actions and help them do their terrible business with justice. Just war theory accepts the necessity of warfare—or at least acknowledges the persistence of armed conflict—as part of the human condition, and seeks Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 15 of 21 to limit combat to proper ends and appropriate means. It is a historical product of Western
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civilization but has achieved wide international acceptance and is certainly the most universally recognized method to determine the legitimate use of military force. It is also a complicated tradition that has evolved through time while remaining essentially consistent. Certainly, it is the only useful way to assess the justification for any war. Just war theory has its roots in the classical traditions of Greece and Rome. Aristotle argued in his Nicomachean Ethics, “We make war that we may live in peace.” Thus, for the Greeks, war was not simply a practical necessity but, in certain circumstances, morally correct and even imperative. The Roman Cicero—philosopher, orator, statesman and also deeply influential on the American Founders’ views of the importance of liberty—might be regarded as the true originator of just war thinking. His fundamental insight was that there was a moral code that transcended formal and customary international law, there was a universal humani generis societas, a “society of mankind rather than of states.” Cicero elaborated a set of criteria which was to echo down the centuries: War could only be waged by a legitimate authority and be prosecuted within certain limits. Classical principles formed the basis for the most important Christian writings on just war. While the earliest Christians tended to be pacifists, the “conversion” of the Roman Empire required the church to provide moral guidance to rulers and strategists. Thus in the 5th century, Saint Augustine, the bishop of Hippo, a town in North Africa, allowed that war was inherently an element of national life and thus part of natural law. “The natural order,” he wrote in his magisterial work of political philosophy, City of God, “which is suited to the peace of moral things, requires that the authority and deliberation for undertaking war be under the control of a leader.” In addition to legitimate authority, a just war also required “right intention,” serving the common good. Thus, for Augustine, the morality of war was essentially a political question; a just war was one fought to preserve tranquillitas ordinis, or, as Roman Catholic theologian George Weigel has understood this idea, the “peace of a dynamic and rightly ordered political community.” Augustine’s precepts were confirmed as the continuing basis of Catholic just war tradition—a tradition that has continued almost until the current moment—by Saint Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. In the late 1200s Aquinas identified three principles of just war. Proper authority: It is “lawful” for political leaders “to have recourse to the sword in defending the commonweal.” Just cause: “[N]amely, that those attacked should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault.” And rightful intention: “So that belligerents intend the Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

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advancement of good or the avoidance of evil.” The final developments of modern just war theory came from the pen of Hugo Grotjus, a Dutch Protestant whose Jure Belli ac Pacis —On the Rights of War and Peace—translated the natural-law ideas of Cicero, Augustine, and Aquinas into an Enlightenment political framework. Most importantly, Grotjus reasserted the principle that morality in war existed quite separately from any particular legal or political framework and that the principles of just war were universal and eternal. Taken together, the just war tradition rests upon two fundamental points, expressed in Latin as jus ad bellum—a morally grounded approach in deciding to go to war—and jus in bello— conducting the war in a morally correct manner. As elaborated in modern philosophy, jus ad bellum consists in the actions of a legitimate authority, pursuing a just cause, having a right intention, going to war as a “last resort,” going to war with a reasonable chance of success and using force “proportionate” to the nature of the war so that going to war does not make things worse. Jus in bello consists in two important measures, protecting noncombatants and the proportionate use of force, such as in using the minimum amount of firepower needed to achieve a tactical objective. Both the “war on terrorism” and the invasion of Iraq sparked a renewed debate about just war theory and its applicability to 21st-century warfare. The challenges of terrorism and failed or derelict states stretched traditional definitions to new dimensions. The response to terrorism, including the invasion of Afghanistan, provoked a new consensus among many philosophers and religious leaders. As Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University, put it: The use of military force against terrorist networks and regimes abetting their crimes is certainly justifiable. These networks and regimes have, by their repeated attacks, made it abundantly clear that they will not be deterred from anything short of force. Our leaders are, in my judgment, morally obligated to use as much force as necessary, subject to the principles of just warfare, to protect innocent Americans and other potential victims of terrorism. It would be an injustice for them to fail to employ the necessary force. The Iraqi campaign was far more controversial. Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote an open letter to President Bush in September 2002 expressing “serious questions about the moral legitimacy” of a war “to overthrow the government of Iraq…. We fear that resort to force, under these circumstances, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

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presumption against the use of military force.” Yet the bishops’ letter is a very questionable reading of the Catholic, larger Christian, and indeed secular tradition of just war. To begin with, it is clear that there is no “strong presumption” against the use of force; from Aristotle to Grotjus the great theorists all accepted that war was part of the human condition—they agreed with the greatest philosopher of war, the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz, that war was the continuation of politics by other means. Just war theory has always been intended to give moral guidance to statesmen, whose greatest moral obligation is to protect their peoples. Consider Iraq in light of the other principles of jus ad bellum and jus in bello: Legitimate authority: Many critics and indeed many governments believed that, absent another specific United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution authorizing a U.S.-led attack on Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime, that the invasion did not meet this test. However, by traditional just war reasoning, it cannot be claimed that the United Nations meets the test of legitimate authority. The UN’s ability to defend any “commonweal” simply does not exist; the United Nations bears no real responsibility for maintaining international order, let alone a “rightly ordered political community.” Moreover, as a collection of sovereign states, the United Nations cannot by its very structure—and certainly it does not in practice—recognize a higher or prior standard of morality or law other than the law of states; state sovereignty is the measure of legitimacy at the UN, where democracies and tyrannies are equally admitted, even into the Security Council. Thus the decision to go to war in Iraq was part of the legitimate authority of President Bush, who operated with the approval of and in accordance with a resolution of the U.S. Congress. In effect, the United States had been at war with Iraq since the first Gulf War, which was punctuated by a “cessation of hostilities,” not a formal peace treaty, and which Iraq constantly violated through the 1990s by such acts as the attempted assassination of the first President Bush and the continuous targeting of U.S. aircraft enforcing the UN “no-fly zone” mandate. By any reasonable interpretation, President Bush—acting well within his constitutional powers—represents exactly the sort of legitimate authority envisioned in just war theory. Just cause: The Bush Administration’s rationale for the invasion more than satisfies the traditional definition of a just cause. In addition to acting in accordance with the leader’s obligation to protect his people and their interests against aggression, the ending of one of the most repressive regimes of the era fits the most expansive definition of a common good. To allow evil to be done is itself an evil. As the Roman Catholic theologian George Weigel Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 18 of 21 observes, “[T]here are circumstances in which the first and most urgent obligation in the face
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of evil is to stop it.” Stopping Saddam’s evil is exactly what the international community— including the United States—had previously failed to do, with mortal results for hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Indeed, given the past U.S. history with Iraq, it is arguable that America faced an even more pressing obligation to remove the dictator from power. Right intention. The stated intent of President Bush in going to war in Iraq had several dimensions. Initial arguments focused on preempting a potential Iraqi attack employing weapons of mass destruction. Despite being ultimately incorrect, this fear was more than reasonable at the time; it was broadly shared by intelligence communities worldwide and was thoroughly consistent with the Iraqi regime’s past practices—such as the use of poison gas on the Kurds at Halabja—and with the discovery after the first Gulf War that Iraq’s nuclear program was more advanced than intelligence estimates allowed. Moreover, Iraq had violated the restrictions placed on it as part of the Gulf War ceasefire agreement, for example in regard to the range of its ballistic missiles. But disarming Iraq was far from the full intent of the Bush administration in opting for war. As discussed above, the United States rightly understood Operation Iraqi Freedom as an extension of the hostilities of the past, the completing of the unfinished business of eliminating Saddam Hussein as a threat to regional stability—as expressed in the invasions of Iran and Kuwait. The intent to remove the danger posed by an obviously aggressive power is the most righteous response to aggression, and in Iraq’s case, serial aggression. Finally, as indicated by the long quotation from President Bush cited above and as proven by American policy since the invasion, a primary intent of the invasion was to replace a dictatorship with a democracy. In the ultimate, it is hard to conceive a clearer indication of right intent: President Bush declared his cause to be the advancement of human liberty— despite the insistence of many of his own advisers that Iraqis, Arabs, and Muslims more broadly were unready if not unfit for liberal governance—and was true to his word. Last resort. This principle of just war theory is often misunderstood. “Last” in this case does not mean last in a temporal sense; there is always a possible diplomatic response, even in the face of clear aggression; witness the European response to the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland in the 1930s. In just war theory, this tenet means “only effective.” By 2003 it was unrealistic to imagine that international diplomacy would moderate the behavior of the Iraqi regime, let alone remove it. Saddam had gradually turned the UN sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War into a tool of regime propaganda by shifting the Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 19 of 21 burdens to the Iraqi people; as investigations are now revealing, the UN’s “oil-for-food”
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program was corrupt and many of the proceeds went to prop up the regime. Even the Bush administration was readying a new U.S. policy of “smart sanctions” which would acknowledge Saddam’s retention of power. In sum, the United States and the international community had tried for years to employ all means—from diplomacy to economic pressure to repeated limited military actions—short of invasion and regime change to deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, with no lasting result. Nor was there any reason to believe that continued weapons inspections or modified sanctions would produce an effective result or that delaying the decision to begin the war would either have seriously pressured Saddam or enlarged the coalition opposed to him; more likely, it would have ended with Saddam’s final escape from sanctions and the evaporation of any international consensus for containment. Reasonable prospects for success: Given the outcomes of past U.S.-Iraq combat, the initial invasion was considered likely to succeed. Indeed, the debate in the Pentagon was over how few troops would be required to march to Baghdāad. And in the event, not even the refusal of Turkey to allow a northern invasion force to be launched from its soil could extend the contest beyond three weeks. Of course, the invasion has been followed by an extended guerrilla war. While it was not at all certain that such an insurgency was inevitable, it was always a possibility, and the Bush administration has deserved criticism for its poor planning against such an eventuality. Nevertheless, the prospects for victory in the “war after the war” have always been bright and the Iraqi elections of early 2005 are an indicator of great progress. The outcomes of counterinsurgencies have historically depended on just a few important factors. The most important elements in Iraq are the political will of the American and Iraqi peoples. In Vietnam, for example, it was ultimately the loss of public support in the United States that led to defeat. Thus far—and the 2004 presidential campaign was nothing if not a referendum on the Iraq war—American political will is holding firm. Iraqi political will is firmer still; the bravery showed on election day and indeed, every time there is a terrorist bombing is a stirring signal of what Iraqis are willing to pay for a better future. So the longer-term prospects for success in Iraq are, in fact, rather bright. Strategic proportionality. It is far to early to say with certainty whether the long-term benefits of removing Saddam Hussein from power and provoking a democratic revolution across the greater Middle East outweigh the costs. It is even too early to calculate the long-term costs Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 20 of 21 per se. That said, the task of engendering a democratic transformation in the Islamic world is
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both inherently costly and inherently worthy—this is a region noted for constant violence and widespread repression. Further, previous U.S. strategies for the region have been abject failures, producing neither stability nor liberty, neither peace nor prosperity. Finally, recent events in Lebanon and Egypt do suggest that the human desire for liberty is contagious and spreading from Iraq. Put it this way: if the Bush project of Middle East transformation succeeds, it will also transform the world for the better. Protecting noncombatants. Differentiating civilians from combatants is a central measure of how a just war is to be waged. It is also an increasing concern of U.S. military forces. For one, the exponential improvements in precision-guided weapons simply allows military commanders and planners to be more discrete in applying firepower than in the past, and as the ability grows, so does the appetite and so do the consequences of the capability. In air campaigns, for example—and even the “shock and awe” opening air attacks in Iraq—it is now routine to have target lists reviews by military lawyers to verify the relative safety of civilians near the target. In many cases, targets close to mosques or churches, or hospitals have been taken off targeting lists; a fact, indeed, now well known to U.S. opponents and exploited as a means of protecting military targets. Secondly, sound counterinsurgency doctrine seeks to separate guerrillas from noncombatants and to “win the hearts and minds” of the local populace. This cannot be done with the indiscriminate use of firepower. Despite the stresses of the Iraq war and initial unfamiliarity of many units with these doctrines, they are now widely applied in Iraq. Again, the Shia and Kurdish peoples of Iraq remain America’s most steadfast allies not simply because of common interests but because they have seen U.S. forces exercise considerable discipline in the toughest kind of urban combat situations. Operational and tactical proportionality. Even from the earliest stages of planning for what was to become Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. commanders insisted upon using the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve their objectives. The strategic purpose, it was quite clear, was to liberate Iraq from a dictator, not conquer and subjugate the Iraqis. Indeed, a major criticism of the campaign was that too little force was applied, that the invasion force was too small; that it did not move quickly enough to suppress post-war looting, to “deBaathify” the government, and to disband Saddam’s army. Many critics have continued in this vain as the guerrilla war has continued. Yet even the sharpest of these criticisms have been military rather than moral. To be sure, Malik Rizwan Yasin Chhina 0092 300 9289949

Page 21 of 21 the price paid for using minimum force has been in American lives and the lives of America’s
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allies in Iraq. It remains the height of self-sacrifice to put American lives at risk in hopes of preserving Iraqi lives and property. If anything, the moral justification for the invasion of Iraq is more compelling than the strategic justification. Yet in the absolute, both arguments are quite strong. Prior to the war, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a constant menace to American interests and allies and the delicate balance of power in the vital Persian Gulf region. He was also one of the world’s worst tyrants. Subsequent to his overthrow, Iraq is clearly on a path to democracy, and hopes for liberty are flowering across the region.

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