Friday, September 10, 2010

Jus in Bello?

"As Operation Iraqi Freedom morphs into Operation New Dawn, we cannot forget that at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died violent deaths," writes Michael Cook — Hard questions. His article examines the war based on "the four traditional criteria for a just war: success must be probable, the cause must be just, war must be the last resort, and the benefits of victory must be proportionate to the evils of war."

"Had there been a reasonable chance of success? Absolutely." More difficult is the nest question: "Had it been a just cause?" Mr. Cook's answer:
    True, the Iraqi people were no longer in thrall to a barbaric dictator – but that was a side-effect of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The main aim of the war had been to defang and dethrone a mortal threat to world peace. But despite Saddam’s insane bluster, and to the embarrassment of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, he possessed no weapons of mass destruction.
"Had there been other effective avenues to confront the danger? Probably," he answers, noting "there was no imminent danger of the deployment of those fabled WMDs." The rest of his article answers "the fourth criterion: did recourse to arms produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated?" His conclusion: "Does anyone really believe that 19 million cell phones are ample compensation for 100,000 civilian deaths?"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop this nonsense!

Are you really unaware of the unwritten penumbra to the Constitution which fixes the value of a dead Iraqi at 3/50th of a dead WASP and 9/250th of a dead African-American?

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

It's those unwritten penumbras I'm always forgetting! I know how hard it was to agree to the 3/50ths & 9/250ths Compromise.

Sorry. A slip. Won't happen again.

2:26 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Only once, in one speech did Bush use the plight of the Iraqi people as justification for going to war, and even that one time was qualified by inclusion with U.S. self defense.

Thus, Micheal Cook asks the wrong question, because it was not one of the stated reasons for declaring war.

Not that lifting suppression could have been a legitimate cause for the U.S. to go to war against Iraq, but that it was not the cause.

2:35 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Cardinal Sodono : "The child has been born. It may be illegitimate, but it's here, and it must be reared and educated."

Compare that to Michael Cook's. Micheal Cook is attempting to reason out whether the war was just when that debate was ended prior to the war. Which in turn probably says far more about where Michael Cook stood prior to the war, and who he was reading for guidance, then it does about the war.

2:58 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Cardinal Sodono's stance was the one I held in the first months of the war. Soon after, however, it became clear that the best option for both Iraqis and Americans would have been to cut and run.

3:29 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

It may have been best for both Iraqis and Americans, but what does that have to with wagging the dog? Besides, when looking for justification, when the Ledeen doctrine doesn't fit, I just fall back on the the Albright principle, between one or the other, I'm always good to go. :

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

3:49 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

You're preaching to the choir about Albright, and maybe not getting what I meant.

I opposed the war before it began. After it seemed it was over in two weeks, I thought Cardinal Sodano's idea made sense. But I soon realized the best course was cutting and running with our tail between legs with the firm intention to wag the dog no more.

5:56 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

I know what you meant. I was thinking of others. The entire lack of seriousness on such a serious issue is simply amazing.

To declare victory and clear out is a political move which takes war seriously just as Cardinal Sodono did. To change names while continuing with the same program as Operation New Dawn does is no more serious than Ledeen and Albright were with their absurd comments.

The reasons for war were absurdly unserious, well established and well proven to be in error. Michael Cook in turn gives far too much honor to the war mongers and those who listened to them.

10:19 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

"The reasons for war were absurdly unserious, well established and well proven to be in error."

Well said.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Steve Hayes said...

I may be over cynical, but I always believed the WMD thing was an excuse rsather than a reason. Bush wanted a war because his daddy had one, and Tony Blair had already had one, and wanted another one. The point of getting the UN inspectors out was because they would not find what Bush/Blair wanted the public to believe was there.

11:53 PM  

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