War with Iraq
As the United States has increased its stature as a democratic imperialistic super power, so has the threat to its nation’s security- both its citizens and its military. The events of September 11th changed the way Americans viewed the world. We once thought ourselves as invincible because of our military strength; however, not even our powerful military could stop a surprising attack within our own country. Our attention has now turned to Iraq and their weapons of mass destruction. These weapons pose a severe threat to the citizens and the military personal of the United States. The Bush administration has clearly expressed our need for a regime change In Iraq so our nation and others will be secure. They’ve suggested using force as a last resort; however, before entering into any war we must keep in mind the just wart theory. We must also look at the social, economic, and political implications that attacking Iraq would have on our country and other countries throughout the world.
When it comes to the morality of fighting a war with Iraq, one must simply just consider the Just War Theory. In order for a war to be just, or morally correct, a war must fall under each principle of the Just War Theory. The first principle states that the decision to go to war must be decided by legitimate authority. The United States got this legitimate authority with congress giving the president the power to send troops into Iraq if he deemed it necessary. The second principle states that the war must be a defensive measure. As long as the U.S. goes to war with the intent of keeping the Iraqi government from producing weapons of mass destruction and changing the regime in order to better serve the people of Iraq, then the war is just. But if the US’s intention were to control the oil trade within Iraq, then this would clearly not be a just war. Making sure the force is proportional to the threat is the third principle. The threat that Iraq is producing weapons of mass destruction that could be used on our troops in that region of the world, other countries within that region, or even our own homeland poses enough threat to allow the U.S. to use force if Iraq doesn’t follow the sanctions put upon them by the United Nations. The fourth principle is that in the war the military can’t target civilians. The U.S. goes out of its way to keep civilians from harm’s way during a war. They cancel many operations because they slightly give a hint of a possibility of civilian casualties. If they follow these measures in Iraq then the war would be just. The fifth principle states that collateral damage must be minimized. Going along with its policy of not targeting civilians and only those involved in the military will allow the U.S. to follow this principle. The sixth principle states that the war must be winnable. With the US’s superior military strength, winning a war with Iraq is easily attainable. The seventh and last principle of the Just War Theory states that all other means must be tried before going to war. For years the U.S. has waited for the United Nations sanctions on Iraq to pull through, but the Iraqi government has refused to follow them. If they refuse again, then there will be no other choice but for the U.S. to use force against Iraq. It’s the only way to destroy the threat that Iraq has to the United States and to nations all over the world. In going into a conflict with Iraq, many principles will apply that pertain to the social aspect of society. When any war is fought, it’s socially accepted that all parties should fight the war in a dignified manner. It seems ironic to use the words war and dignified in the same sentence; however, dignified in this context refers to destroying the least amount of collateral damage as possible, taking prisoners of war and keeping them with respect to their humanity, targeting military personal only and not civilians, and by killing the least amount of opposition as possible with regard to the missions at hand. By society’s standards, war shouldn’t be initiated unless it is a last resort. In most places, for a war to be socially accepted, the reasons for entering into the war must be defensive and for the security of the country. However in many of the rogue states (Iraq, Korea, Iran) war has the social approval if it’s for the betterment of the country. War may be used to achieve an economic means as in contrast with war only being used for defense. Some people see the United States going to war with Iraq as both defensive and economically motivated. To earn acceptance from society, the United States must be sure that all of the measures taken during the war are for a defensive purpose and for the protection of its citizens. Society has a large influence on the manner in which the United States would approach a war with Iraq. By not adhering to society’s norm, the United States would lose the respect of other countries and institutions throughout the world and in turn would lose the support of those countries in the event of future wars.
In reality though, a war with Iraq does have its economic advantages. By changing the regime in Iraq, the United States will be able to have more control over the oil trade. Although the benefits of having more security and not being threatened with weapons of mass destruction certainly outweigh this, one can’t overlook the economic advantage of a regime change in Iraq. The polls show that the majority of the country is in favor of going to war with Iraq. Hence for President Bush, going to war has its political advantages as well. Engaging in war is what the majority’s opinion feels is necessary to protect and maintain the security of our country. By adhering to the public’s opinion and going to war, President Bush will increase his approval ratings and in turn will receive more votes in the following election. Saddam has already been criticized and the public’s view of him throughout the world has already been diminished. The only method to assist his political status would be to put an end to the weapons of mass destruction programs. A country can’t go into a war without the support of any other countries- this would just be suicide. If nearly every other country were opposed to a war, then engaging in a war would only bring more damage to our military and our country. The United States must seek to gain the support of our allies and the approval of countries throughout the world, while being careful not to make any new enemies along the way.
A war with Iraq would have many economic issues embedded in it. Wars aren’t free; they cost money, and a lot of money. During wars, munitions costing hundreds of thousands of dollars are used and lost every day. The war in Afghanistan cost an average of two billion dollars monthly; this figure would more than likely at the least stay the same with a war in Iraq. More money would eventually be needed by the military to make up for the artillery lost and used in the war so therefore they would request more money. This money comes from the taxpayers. Whether taxes are raised or other programs are cut or decreased, the money must come from our tax dollars. If taxes are raised even more, then Americans will have less money to spend, which would more than likely lead to the decreased amounts of purchasing of consumer goods. Also, a war in the Middle East will cause instability in the economic system throughout the entire region. It will take years for the economic system to get back to even where it is now. Countries who trade with the United States could also be affected, as a higher tariff could be added so the U.S. can make up for the money lost during the war. A war costs money, and the U.S. doesn’t produce money, so any money lost will have to be made up for via tax dollars since this is where all the U.S. “government’s” money really comes from.
In a perfect world, there would be no need to even consider military action in Iraq; however, the threat is there and something must be done. Ideally, the United States would be able to rely on the United Nations to undermine this threat and Iraq would back off of its weapons of mass destruction programs because of the sanctions that would be imposed on them by the United Nations. This works if, and only if, the United Nations vows to go in with force if the Iraqis don’t follow the sanctions placed upon them. If the UN doesn’t back up its sanctions with military action, then the Iraqi government won’t take their threats of sanctions seriously.
A bad solution to this crisis would be to do nothing at all. By doing nothing, Iraq will have no fear of the United States or other countries, and will continue it’s persistence in the weapons of mass destruction programs. This will damage the security of America, both for its military and its citizens. Doing nothing will also show the rest of the world that the United States isn’t as strong as it claims to be, and therefore, countries and organizations will not take our threats seriously which could in turn lead to even more future wars. As Americans, we take for granted the every day security with which we have in our everyday lives. In order to maintain this security, some action must be taken against Iraq.
Taking into consideration the reality of the situation and the threat imposed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, I propose the following solution. First the U.S. must allow the United Nations to attempt to play its role. The UN should follow up on its threats and if Iraq doesn’t follow the sanctions placed upon them, then they should go in with force. However; if, and more than likely when, the UN doesn’t follow up on their word, then the United States must step in and take action. Many countries throughout the world aren’t in favor of an attack on Iraq, but many aren’t against it either. No country would come to the aide of Iraq in fear of fighting a war with the United States. But, of course, in the event that Iraq complies with the United Nations, then there would be no reason for the United States to intervene. In the event the war does occur though, the United States must be sure to do all that it can to ensure that only military personal of Iraq are targeted in any war campaign. There is no need for innocent lives to be lost. The United States must also do everything in its power to try and keep the collateral damage to a minimum; we aren’t trying to destroy everything and everybody in Iraq, just destroy what is necessary. It is also necessary for the regime in Iraq to change. Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. He has been given many chances to redeem himself from his invasion of Kuwait, but has felled to do so. He keeps persisting in his weapons of mass destruction programs and this poses a threat to the entire world, especially for those countries and troops in that region. As United States citizens we cherish the security with which we have to live our everyday lives. Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction programs have threatened this security. If the United Nations refuses to take action then it is up to the United States to live up to its word, remove Saddam from power, and allow the citizens of the United States and other countries throughout the world to live their everyday lives with a sense of security.