Just war, unjust war?

In a democracy, citizens have to keep themselves informed about key events and issues. That’s why I’ve been working my way through the Duelfer Report, the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. And from a religious point of view, this report poses the difficult question — is the second Gulf War a just war?

The report now available on the Web in HTML and as extremely large PDF files. Forget the PDF files, they’re too big — go straight for the HTML version of the report at http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html

I was struck by this passage:

Saddam did not consider the United States a natural adversary, as he did Iran and Israel, and he hoped that Iraq might again enjoy improved relations with the United States, according to Tariq ‘Aziz and the presidential secretary. Tariq ‘Aziz pointed to a series of issues, which occurred between the end of the Iran-Iraq war and 1991, to explain why Saddam failed to improve relations with the United States: Irangate (the covert supplying of Iran with missiles, leaked in 1986), a continuing US fleet presence in the Gulf, suspected CIA links with Kurds and Iraqi dissidents and the withdrawal of agricultural export credits. After Irangate, Saddam believed that Washington could not be trusted and that it was out to get him personally. His outlook encouraged him to attack Kuwait, and helps explain his later half-hearted concessions to the West. These concerns collectively indicated to Saddam that there was no hope of a positive relationship with the United States in the period before the attack on Kuwait.

Although the United States was not considered a natural adversary, some Iraqi decision-makers viewed it as Iraq’s most pressing concern, according to former Vice President Ramadan. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam and the Ba’th Regime considered full-scale invasion by US forces to be the most dangerous potential threat to unseating the Regime, although Saddam rated the probability of an invasion as very low.

Clearly Saddam Hussein misjudged the political situation in the United States. As I work my way through the rest of the report, perhaps I’ll have additional comments. You look at the report, too, and tell me what you think….

2 thoughts on “Just war, unjust war?

  1. Administrator

    Comments transferred from olb blog

    Our Congretation rid itself of it’s minister in the 1850’s because we opposed a threat of Civil War created by abolitionists. I gathered from new UU class that our minister during the 40s opposed participation in the Second World War (as did many of us in the midwest then). Our record on use of force to liberate the oppressed not good.

    After 911 under President Bush, the risks to dictators and tyrants of being vague, evasive, and belligerent about possession of WMDs increased many times over. It didn’t matter if Saddam –or anyone else– had them or not. Saddam acted as though he had them. He expelled the UN inspectors. He offered sanctuary to Zarqawi. That’s enough right there.

    The great risk to the world now is tyrants misunderstanding America’s response. (Or the US not making itself clear). Saddam clearly misunderstood, just as Hitler and Japan before them. Our slowness to react to attacks baffles those who don’t know us. Our flip culture deceives others thinking we’re frivolous people.

    Couple the threat with the realization that the only security we have now against terrorism is democratic social revolution –that the old Foreign policy of status que balance no longer works or very just itself– then the wars in Iraq, Afganistan, and our continuing efforts throughout the world were just, worthy, and noble efforts. That this is unclear to so much of the left is sad and disturbing.

    Comment from baarswestside – 4/29/05 6:18 PM

  2. Administrator

    I think, at the risk of offending many, that before the US can criticise and attack other countires for having weapons of mass destruction it ought to get rid of its own.

    With this disarment it would be justified to complain of other countries having them. However at present I would argue that other countries are justified in having them as the US’s arsenel is so big and as a defense to this and of their own assests such as oil they have cause.

    The causes of the Iraqi war need to be closely reviewed in relation to what did happen in the Iraqi war and maybe the US’s opposition to Iran then be looked and this be taken in to consideration.

    In my opinon the Iraqi war was fought over for the oil there and to stop another emerging superpower. If a war with Iran transpires this is definately the reason.

    In the modern world cooperation and tolerance is needed, and there is no reason for nuclear weapons , especially since no one can use them for fear of world destruction. The larger established powers will need to give theirs up first to set an example of trust and as calling for the disarment of lesser countries is unfair and can be seen as a wish to have dominance over them.

    Therefore as the world superpower the US should disarm its nuclear weapon first.

    Comment from christineleckey – 6/21/05 1:58 PM

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