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Operation Iraqi Freedom - An Unjust War

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Strategy research project

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This paper will examine Operation Iraqi Freedom using Just War Theory. The justice of going to war jus ad bellum will be analyzed while the discussion of law during war jus in bello will be left for another time. Within Just War tradition there is a broad range of views with no single list of criteria being universally accepted. The just war criteria used in this paper extracted from the writings by Martin L. Cook serve as a first step all nations should use when morally evaluating the justification for going to war. The Just War Criteria outlined below are interdependent. The criteria relate and overlap with one another therefore they must be taken together. The criteria cannot be separated and judged independently. There is no majority whereby satisfying four of the seven criteria morally passes some test. This is a moral set of criteria that taken together must withstand the highest levels of scrutiny. Just cause is the first and foremost primary criterion of just war theory. Without a morally acceptable reason to go to war all other criteria become moot. Just intent must be kept within the context of the just cause. Legitimate authority is the law a nation uses to limit the number of governmental leaders who may authorize the use of force. Public declaration proportionality and reasonable hope of success tie just cause legitimate authority and just intent together. The public must support the decision of the legitimate authority in their just cause. The aggressor must be notified that you intend to redress the situation. The force used to redress the situation needs to be proportional to the just cause and there needs to be a reasonable prospect of victory. The last resort criterion is the final moral argument that binds together all of the just war criteria. All avenues to a peaceful negotiation must have been tried and all reasonable diplomatic means to rectify the situation need to have been explored.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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