News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Walzer on Iraq and Just War

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Walzer on Iraq and Just War

Michael walzer is an eminent "just war" theorist, as well as a prominent historian and philosopher. His recent essay on Iraq and just war theory is a welcome reqorking of the fallacies behind the decision to go to war with Iraq. Walzer also offers a framework for the future, if the civil war in Iraq ever subsides. ...

On the notion of regime change as the basis for going to war, Walzer writes:

So Iraq was not similar to the German or Japanese or the (hypothetical) Rwandan case: the war was not a response to aggression or a humanitarian intervention. Its cause was not (as in 1991) an actual Iraqi attack on a neighboring state or even an imminent threat of attack; nor was it an actual, ongoing massacre. The cause was regime change, directly—which means that the U.S. government was arguing for a significant expansion of the doctrine of jus ad bellum. The existence of an aggressive and murderous regime, it claimed, was a legitimate occasion for war, even if the regime was not actually engaged in aggression or mass murder. In more familiar terms, this was an argument for preventive war, but the reason for the preventive attack wasn’t the standard perception of a dangerous shift in the balance of power that would soon leave “us” helpless against “them.” It was a radically new perception of an evil regime.

No comments: