The Iraq War Was a Just War
by Laurence M. Vance: Janus
The Iraq War
began in Iraq on March 20, 2003, at about 5:30 a.m. In the U.S.,
it was still March 19. So that means that it was ten years ago today
that the Iraq War began.
Iraq War is now officially over, it actually ended three times.
The first time
was on May 1, 2003, when President Bush announced – in front of
a "Mission Accomplished" banner – that "the United
States and our allies have prevailed" and "major combat
operations in Iraq have ended."
time was on August 31, 2010, when President Obama proclaimed that
"the American combat mission in Iraq has ended" and "Operation
Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility
for the security of their country."
The third time
was on December 15, 2011, when a flag-lowering ceremony was held
at Baghdad International Airport in which Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta said: "The cost was high – in blood and treasure for
the United States and also for the Iraqi people, but those lives
have not been lost in vain."
I have argued
for many years just the opposite – that those lives have been
lost in vain (see "They
Died in Vain" and "Why
They Died in Vain"). But that’s not all. I have also said
that the War in Iraq was immoral, unconstitutional, unjust, senseless,
unholy, unnecessary, unscriptural, aggressive, offensive, and evil.
I have also said that the U.S. troops killed in Iraq did not die
for anyone’s freedoms; they died
for a lie.
I wrote about
the Iraq War on its third anniversary in 2006 ("Weapons
of Mass Distraction"), its fourth in 2007 ("Four
Years, Four Plans"), its fifth in 2008 ("Five
Years and Counting"), its sixth in 2009 ("What
Happened to the War?"), its seventh in 2010 ("The
Forgotten War"), its eighth in 2011 ("When
Will the Iraq War Really End?"), and its ninth anniversary
in 2012 ("A
Day of Dishonor").
But now, on
the war’s tenth anniversary, I have come to my senses: The Iraq
War was a just war.
In its essence,
just war theory concerns the use of force: when force should be
used and what kind of force is acceptable. The timing of
force relates to a country’s justification for the initiation of
war or military action; the nature of force relates to how
military activity is conducted once a country commits to use force.
The principle of the just war is actually many principles, all of
which must be met for a war to be considered just. A just war must
have a just cause, be in proportion to the gravity of the situation,
have obtainable objectives, be preceded by a public declaration,
be declared only by legitimate authority, and only be undertaken
as a last resort.
A war that
is not justifiable is nothing short of mass murder. Killing in a
war that is unjust or not a war of genuine self-defense is wholesale
above all, a just war is a defensive war. As G. K. Chesterton once
said: "The only defensible war is a war of defense." This
is why I now say that the Iraq War was a just war. Even President
Bush once said that the War in Iraq was a defensive war.
In fact, the
Iraq War was such a just war that I see no need to write anything
else about it again. No more articles on the anniversary of the
war. No more articles about the origin of the war. No more articles
about the duration of the war. No more articles about the cause
of the war. No more articles about the morality of the war. No more
articles about the cost of the war. No more articles about the architects
of the war. No more articles about the effects of the war. These
things are all so unnecessary because the Iraq War was a just war.
The Iraq War
was a just war – if you were an Iraqi.
Iraq was not
responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks – as the U.S.
intelligence community briefed Bush ten days after September
11, 2001, and as Bush
None of the
hijackers were from Iraq. And even if one or more of them were
from Iraq, that still doesn’t justify the Iraq War. If an American
citizen hijacked an Air France jet and crashed it into the Eiffel
Tower, that wouldn’t justify France attacking the United States.
Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were just a ruse for war. The
speech that then Secretary of State Colin
Powell gave to the United Nations in 2003 in which he gave a
detailed description of what turned out to be Iraq’s non-existent
weapons programs was later said by Powell to be a permanent "blot"
on his record and said by his chief of staff Lawrence
Wilkerson to be "a hoax on the American people, the international
community, and the United Nations Security Council." According
to the Duelfer
Report – the final report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
by the Pentagon and CIA organized Iraq Survey Group – Iraq had no
deployable weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the U.S. invasion
in March 2003, and had not produced any since 1991.
Street Memo (2002), which was made public in 2005, showed Bush’s
long-standing intent to invade Iraq and his willingness to provoke
Saddam Hussein into providing a pretext for war.
of going to war in Iraq was a lie from the very beginning. A student
at the University of Illinois documented in 2004 twenty-seven
rationales given for the Iraq war by the Bush administration,
war hawks in Congress, and the media between 9/11 and the October
2002 congressional resolution to use force in Iraq. It was "the
Bush administration, and the President himself" that "established
the majority of the rationales for the war and all of those rationales
that make up the most prominent reasons for war." A report
prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government
Reform in 2004 (Iraq
on the Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq)
showed that in 125 separate appearances, Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld,
and Rice "made 11 misleading statements about the urgency of
Iraq’s threat, 81 misleading statements about Iraq’s nuclear activities,
84 misleading statements about Iraq’s chemical and biological capabilities,
and 61 misleading statements about Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda."
But even before these, Robert Sheer proved, in his 2003 book Five
Biggest Lies Bush Told about Iraq, that every major assertion
the Bush administration put forward to justify the invasion of Iraq
Iraq was never
a threat to the United States, and no Iraqi was ever a danger to
an American, until Americans invaded and occupied Iraq. U.S. troops
were not liberators, peacekeepers, or patriots; they were aggressors,
destroyers, and mercenaries. Iraqis were perfectly justified in
using whatever means were necessary to repel an invasion and resist
an occupation – just like Americans would be fully justified in
doing the same. If ever there was a just war, the Iraq War was a
M. Vance [send him mail]
writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity
and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State, The
Revolution that Wasn't, Rethinking
the Good War, and The
Quatercentenary of the King James Bible. His latest book
War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom. Visit his
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