Reasoning about war

Violence as a last resort
In the course of defending U.S. policy in Iraq, President Bush admitted several times in December that faulty intelligence led the U. S. to overestimate Saddam Hussein’s weapons program. Bush said the invasion of Iraq was nevertheless justified, because “the world is better off” with the tyrant removed from power and with Iraq on its way to democracy.

The world is indeed better off without Saddam Hussein in power. And the rise of a stable, democratic Iraq, if it can emerge, would be a force for reform in the Middle East. But such benefits do not constitute a moral case for war. A preemptive attack on a nuclear-armed Iraq about to launch its weapons may have fit under the criteria for a just war. An invasion aimed at remaking the political culture of the Middle East clearly does not.


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