Like many Americans, I decided in early 2003 that a war with Iraq was increasingly necessary. War seemed justifiable because of the intelligence reports concerning Iraq’s weapons programs and because Saddam Hussein, who had committed atrocities in the past, was likely to be highly dangerous if he acquired weapons of mass destruction. The arguments for war could be supported by reference to the well-known just war theory.
I now believe that the war was deeply misguided. For just war theory—a framework of ethical reasoning with a long history in Christian thought—to remain plausible, its advocates need to acknowledge the weak arguments that they have embraced. Only by coming clean on our errors can we think more clearly in the future.