In March 20th, 2003, America started on of the longest wars in the world. The American forces invaded Iraq without warning and triggered the beginning of the war. There were claims by the United Kingdom and the United States of America that, Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WPM) and thus was a threat to their security and to the coalitions in the region (Blair, 2002). The United Nations monitoring, verification and inspection commission (UNMOVIC) had conducted a thorough search and verification in Iraq prior to the attack to ascertain this claim.
They found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Although, there was uncertainty on Iraq’s declarations on the type of weapons it had since some of its work was not finished. The disarmament process had months to completion. However, there were few chemical weapons found abandoned in several points across the country. These were remnants since the 1991 destruction of biological weapons in Iraq. Therefore, the question is what led to the invasion in Iraq with such clear evidence that there were no weapons of mass destructions? Was the Iraq war preemptive or preventive and what are the ethical implications of such wars?
There is a difference between the two in that, preventive war seeks to prevent potential threat from an imminent enemy whereas preemptive war is launched to stop an immediate aggression from an enemy. Preventive war thus is a criminal activity in the face of international law as it involves attacking potential aggressors without them showing any aggression.
John McCain speaking in Connecticut asserted that as recoded by Nathan Gonzalez (2008), “If someone is about to launch a weapon that would devastate America, or have a capability to do so, obviously, you would have to act immediately in the defense of this nations security interests.” This statement shows that there was absolutely no any aggression shown by Iraq toward America or the United Kingdom but, a belief so strongly held that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to the point of been a threat and hence the need to attack.
This leads to the volatile realm of preventive war that is criminal in many aspects of the international law. There not only ethical implications of such war but also issues related to the law. The Iraq war as articulated above is more of preventive war than preemptive war and thus tends to be based on malicious reasons.
What then lead to the war in Iraq, What was the motivation? According to David DeCosse (2014), the theory of war specifically the just cause and proportionality principles were not followed. Prior to the war, President Bush had explained the various reasons for going into war with the Iraq. Among the reasons was that Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq as of then was evil and that, the United Nations resolution had to be followed to liberate the people of Iraq.
The president invoking the 9-11 attack, he claimed that there were vast stores of weapons of mass destruction and since there where Al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers in Iraq, thus it posed a mortal threat to the United States of America and hence there was need for war. The United Nations Security Council had passed the resolution number 1441 that required Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations Weapon inspectors in verification of WMD and Cruise Missiles.
With every person having a prima facie right not be killed and to defend his or her territory, such rights are not absolute. The war theory advocates for considerations that must be followed in the event of war in self-defense. In the case of Iraq, American had a justifiable case to go into war against Iraq for self-defense if there was no doubtable evidence of the possession of the WMD.
It is believed that, the more countries tend to accumulate well trained soldiers and potent weapons, the more likely they would go to war. This scenario can in most cases be used to justify preventive war. However, it would be worth noting that, although America was against Iraq having Weapons of Mass destructions, it has been having these weapons alongside Russia and this may question the morality of attacking Iraq even without evidence.
The aftermath of the war indicated that there was no any single weapon of mass destruction found in Iraq. It is thus definitely clear that the war in Iraq was unjust and ethically wrong as per the theories of war. Actually it is believed that America government (Bush administration) made a total of 935 lies towards the war in Iraq.
The homeland security that claims to be the strongest army world over was the one undertaking the invasions. There are numerous claims of unethical practices the US army was undertaking to the captives. The theory of war requires that the war captives be treated fairly. There was physical torture and extreme sexual abuses of the prisoners. These included rape, sodomizing and killing of prisoners (Hersh, Seymour Myron (June 25, 2007).
In 2004, the torture reports came into the attention of the public and a United States Department of Defense announced it. The Taguba Report of 2004 indicated that a United States Army Criminal investigation command had initiated a criminal investigation and had members of the 320th Military Police Battalion charged with prison abuse. The 60 minutes II news report that was released on April 28, 2004, showed pictures of prisoners’ been abused by military personnel. Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine published in May 2004 described the torture taking place in Iraq.
The US department of Defense terminated the jobs of up to seventeen soldiers and officers. Eleven of then were charged with duty dereliction, battery, mistreatment and aggravated assault. The period between May 2004 and 2006, March had eleven of the soldiers in the Iraq war charged and convicted in martial courts and sentenced.
Some were discharged from office dishonorably. Charles Graner and his fiancée (former fiancée) Lynndie England who was a specialist were sentenced to ten years and three years in that order by the end of their trial in 2005. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was demoted due to dereliction though he denied that there were prisoner abuse in Iraq. He claimed that the interrogations that had been authorized by his superiors were carried out by sub-contractors who had no permission to enter in to detention camps.
The torture of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib leads to the activation of the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion by United States Army. Actual rape cases were captured in photographs by Antonio Taguba (2009). A detainee in the Abu Ghraib informed the investigators that he had heard an Iraqi teenage boy screaming and he saw an Army translator sodomizing him as a female soldier took photos(Scott Hingham, May 2004).
Several other photos showed interrogators sexually abusing prisoners using objects such as truncheon, phosphorescent tubes and wires. A female prisoner was also forced to strip and expose her breasts. President Obama declined to release the photographs claiming that they were too graphic for the general public. This could serve evidence that the cruelty towards the prisoners was in its extremes.
Brig. Gen Mark Kimmitt, in a CBS report said “The first thing I’d say is we’re appalled as well. These are our fellow soldiers. These are the people we work with every day, and they represent us. They wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down  Our soldiers could be taken prisoner as well. And we expect our soldiers to be treated well by the adversary, by the enemy. And if we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect  we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers as well.  So what would I tell the people of Iraq? This is wrong. This is reprehensible. But this is not representative of the 150,000 soldiers that are over here  I'd say the same thing to the American people Don't judge your army based on the actions of a few” (CBS news, 17th April, 2004). He further agreed that there were many more occurrences of prisoner abuses apart from the few that had been reported.
According to just war theory, religious differences tend to amplifying differences held by two warring communities. There is evidence that the American soldiers used religious affiliations to torture the prisoners in Abu Ghraib. Ameen Saeed Al-Shiek, detainee number 151362 as reported in the Washington Post claimed that, he was told that they would make him wish to die and it would happen, he was stripped naked and was informed of the intend to be raped by one of them. He was then forced to stand in a shameful position holding his buttocks.
'Do you pray to Allah?' one asked. I said yes. They said, '[Expletive] you. And [expletive] him.' One of them said, 'You are not getting out of here health[y], you are getting out of here handicapped. And he said to me, 'Are you married?' I said, 'Yes.' They said, 'If your wife saw you like this, she will be disappointed.' One of them said, 'But if I saw her now she would not be disappointed now because I would rape her.' "  "They ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive."  "I said to him, 'I believe in Allah.' So he said, 'But I believe in torture and I will torture you Hingham, Scott, and Stephens, Joe (May 21st, 2004).
One of the prisoner guards reported that there were instances were the prisoners were shot for minor misbehavior and at times venomous snakes used to bite the prisoners resulting into their deaths. Claims of pounding detainees with collapsible metal rods were also made. This mainly targeted the detainees wounded legs and also poured phosphoric acid on them. Some soldiers also jumped on the detainees wounded legs making it difficult for normal healing. Urinating on them was also a rampant scenario.
In the face of just war theory as articulated above, there was no any justifiable cause for war. The then President of America president Bush put together pieces of lies and presented them as evidence for a justification of the war. The unreasonable and unjustifiable claim that Saddam had Weapons of mass destruction that included nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons was both immoral and unethical.
It was also not justifiable to tie a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and the whole al-Qaeda network of terrorism. Bill Haynes (2004) noted that Iraq has had one of the most elaborate networks of terrorist led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was a close associate of bin Laden. The terrorist circle was also run by Zarqawi Lieutenants in the northern region of Kurdish an area outside Hussein’s control. Considering just war theory, a situation like this may call for war! But, a Christian response would be that no one ever wants to go to war but at times it is necessary for self-defense, security and peace on earth.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 8 the scripture states quite clearly, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven . . . A time for war and a time for peace." Philadelphia from 1937-1966, said, "War is, to say the least, a ghastly evil. I did not say, war is wrong. The waging of war is often highly necessary and even dutiful." Nevertheless, Did America and The United Kingdom follow the procedures of just war?
In the year 1999, UN had concluded that Iraq had weapons of Mass destruction including chemical and biological. Saddam Hussein claimed that they had destroyed the weapons in 1992 and for sure, the UN investigators in 2002 did not find any weapon of mass destructions. Question arose on how these weapons were destroyed; there was no evidence! This leaves a guess that there could have been hidden weapons!
Intelligence reports showed that Saddam Hussein had made weapons of mass destruction and hence he could swiftly acquire nuclear weapon. There was uncertainty on how quick this could be and hence America was potentially threatened by the Iraq. Saddam had initiated a program to make nuclear weapon since 1990 and prior to 2002, he had sought a significant amount of uranium from Africa and that he had attempts to purchase aluminum tubes suitable for construction of nuclear weapon.
Iraq was harboring terrorist groups such as Nbu Nidal organization and the Palestine libeartion battalion front with the bounders of the country. In 2002, Hussein had offered one and half times more money to families of suicide bombers i.e. from $ 10,000 to $25,000. He referred to these suicide bombers as martyrs. Such an act was directly provoking peace and threating the peace of not only America but also its associates as well as the regional stability. Although, these issues seem not be very threating or directly indicating aggression, they carried with them a loud message of deviance, lies and potential world problems.
There are however, several queries on why didn’t the Americans declare before attacking? The act in itself can be taken as criminal since the theory of war needs to be followed so as to avoid endless litigation processes. The amount force used was excessive. The bombs that America used in the Iraq war were too advanced and were arbitrary used such that they could hurt many innocent people. There was a total of 174, 000 people died. The USA army too lost over 4,446 soldiers in the whole period of war (2003 to 2009).
After the war, the just war theory requires reconstruction in the war zones. It is alleged that A total of $ 60.45 billion has been used in the reconstructing of Iraq. This amount is much than the one used in the reconstruction of German in 1946. In this aspect of just war theory, there is total following of the procedures required in the process of withdrawal from the war zones. It is important to note that a stable government was necessary before the withdrawal from Iraq.
In conclusion, the Iraq war take very interesting twist right form the initial reasons as explained. Nevertheless, there are extreme implications that resulted. The world’s most powerful army, the homeland security came under extreme criticism and the evidence provided is overwhelming. More care has to be taken in the event of war and that proper mechanism has to put in place to ensure that warring activities are clearly justifiable and within the limits of international war.
Blair, A. (5 March 2002) "PM statement on Iraq following UN Security Council resolution"
David DeCosse (2014) Totaling Up; It Was an Unjust War. Published in Markkula Center for
Applied Ethics retrieved on 3rd March 2014 from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/unjust.html
Nathan Gonzalez (2008). Engaging Iran: The Rise of a Mid-East Powerhouse and America's
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Hersh, Seymour Myron (June 25, 2007). "The general's report: how Antonio Taguba, who
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