MPA5412 Ethics & Personal Leadership Development
May 2nd, 2018
What is interesting about the ethical/moral decision over Iraq is both how little and how much it has changed since its inception. The basic moral problem of how to deal with a restrictive and destructive regime with weapons of mass destruction remains the same. If the case for the Iraqi war was based on either the defense of vital U.S. interests in the Middle East and upholding international norms against aggression (Elshtain, 2002). The second case would have to be based on fighting a global war on terrorism and defending the United States, against possible attacks. It proves that the Bush administration’s moral case rested on the right to use one sided, precautionary force in a post-September 11th world (Elshtain, 2002). Iraq is a hard case – First made harder by September 11th – that must be addressed by the global community (Ratzinger, 2002). Second, just as hard cases make bad law because as the exceptional case is used to establish unwise and unhelpful authority, the Bush administration’s justification for preventive war against Iraq would make for problematic morality (Ratzinger, 2002). Third, good morality is realistic, and there are realistic ways to deal with this hard case of Iraq short of a major war or a radical change war, particularly given the available evidence that the nature of the threat has changed over years (Ratzinger, 2002).
A moral challenge is posed by a global terrorist network that is motivated by a current form of holy war without limits. Christians had the Radicals; Muslims have Osama bin Laden, who has celebrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as part of a “jihad against the infidels” in the West. September 11th is dramatic evidence of this form of terrorism’s capacity for unleashing evil. The threat posed by this dangerous combination of threats is so great even if the chance of the threat being carried out is relatively low that it can push traditional actions and moral analysis to their limits.
American tend to forget that the then, President Bush Sr. offered four rationales to justify his invasion of Iraq. They were the “absolute” presence of WMD, Iraqi collaboration with Al Qaeda, the possibility of giving WMD to Al Qaeda, and bringing democracy to Iraq. Since the invasion, numerous commissions have shown the first three to be plainly false. The lack of post-war planning, the elevation of Iyad Allawi and the pervasive corruption among U.S. funded contractors has put the lie to the fourth rationale (Johnson, 2002). “Lies” how dare we say that America went to war based on lies. Is it possible that politicians would lie to their constituents? Yes, they would. Is it possible that a “son” (George Bush, Jr.) would carry on a personal vendetta for his “father” (George Bush, Sr.)? In my opinion that answer is a resounding “Yes!” The question remains if President Bush, Sr. lied about the reasons we initially went to war with Iraq. What may have been the true reasons? I submit that they could have been the Cheney Energy Policy, to strengthen America’s allies in this case “Israel” which would subsequently weaken Arabic nations; or lastly to expedite military transformations.
In conclusion, I am of the belief that the ethical nature of our involvement in the war with Iraq was wrong and with mistakes. I submit that there were five major mistakes perpetrated by the United States of America. First, the reason for going to war was based solely on a “lie.” The extremely voluminous amount of money it cost America, the fact that the Iraqi war created ISIS, the loss of prestige off of the American name, and lastly, that we actually lost the war. No one truly understood why the United States of America was going to war with Iraq we kept hearing something about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the media, but no one understood why all of a sudden America was worried about Iraq when other countries posed greater threats, such as Russia and China. We also did not understand what Weapons of Mass Destruction meant; why not just call them nuclear missiles? Maybe they were not sure if they had seen a nuclear facility or a chemical facility. Or maybe they wanted to call certain chemicals Weapons of Mass Destruction in case they did not find anything more substantial. In the end, we learned that the Government woefully tricked the American people with statements of WMD. Secondly, $4.4 trillion is the hefty price tag for what the war directly cost the Federal government (Langan, 2002). That figure drastically balloons to $18 trillion when indirect costs are added to the equation (Langan, 2002). Thirdly, it is widely accepted that America’s involvement in the Iraqi war, lead to the formulation of ISIS. Given that religiosity was on the rise in the Middle East in general. However, it is only in the war-torn Iraq and Syria that ISIS emerged. If we were to look forward from 2000 and try to gauge where the next Islamist terrorist group would form, we would probably guess Egypt over Iraq, which had a significant Muslim Brotherhood presence. Islamists in the multi-religious Iraq were never that organized, until after the war began (Langan, 2002). America’s lost some or more of her shine and prestige peering through the eyes of the world’s governments. In 2003, the 50% unfavorable view of America went up to 80%, and the 30% favorable view dropped down to 15% (Langan, 2002). Remember, these numbers were already down in 2002 because Bush (the son) opened his mouth after 9/11, and in one failed swoop, determined Americans’ popularity by saying “crusades” (Walzer, 2002). Moderate conservatives such as Turkey were relatively pro-American before 9/11, as an automatic legacy of the Cold War. This sentiment disappeared almost overnight. It was difficult enough to explain to Turks that America was not running the world, and no, it was not just because of oil, and no, Israel was not running America, and no, Rothschild’s or Kennedy’s were not running the Illuminati or Israel or America (Walzer, 2002). After the Iraq War, it became impossible to suggest anything positive about America (Walzer, 2002). It’s not that people would get angry; people would treat you as naïve or an outright fool. Lastly, it is apparent that America lost this war (Walzer, 2002). Many Americans maybe shocked to hear that; because what American wants to think is that their dear Uncle Sam couldn’t lose any war? What do you think it is called when you leave a territory you’ve occupied and then that enemy takes it over again? This had already happened in Vietnam. It happened again in Iraq (Walzer, 2002). Many Americans may still try to argue that they won the war by trying to redefine complicated technical terms such as “win”, but Iranians are not fooled. As soon as it became clear that America was economically and politically incapable of continuing occupation, they started to push forward their “peaceful” nuclear arms policy.
“Cardinal Ratzinger Says Unilateral Attack on Iraq Not Justified,” ZENIT News Agency, September 22, 2002.
Cf. John Langan, “Should We Attack Iraq,” America, September 9, 2002, p. 10.
J. Bryan Hehir, “The Moral Measurement of War: A Tradition of Change and Continuity,” Paper for the Conference “The Sacred and the Sovereign,” University of Chicago Divinity School, October 20, 2000.
James Turner Johnson, “Using Military Force against the Saddam Hussein Regime: The Moral Issues,” Essay based on remarks to the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, December 4, 2002.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, “A Just War?” Boston Globe, October 6, 2002, p. H4.
Michael Dobbs, “North Korea Tests Bush’s Policy of Preemption,” Washington Post, January 6, 2003, pp. A1, A9.
Michael Walzer, “No Strikes,” The New Republic Online, September 30, 2002, p. 3.
Stillman, R. J., II. (Ed.). (2010). Public administration: Concepts and cases (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth