Moral Justification of the Iraqi War A Utilitarian Perspective

The war in Iraqi, which was widely seen as Americas aggressive confrontation with the terrorist threat following the September 11 attacks, came under intense criticism when it turned out that all along, Washington had acted on false rumors regarding nuclear weapons in Iraqi. Collected data indicated that most people supported the war in its initial stages, with moral justification based on the need to curb international terrorism, protect Americans and free Iraq from dictatorship.

However, the failure to find any weapons and the continued occupation undermines the moral justification that was there initially. Regardless, the paper examines some of the factors that make the war a matter of necessity. By taking a utilitarian approach, it is argued here that the invasion is morally justified on the grounds that it was a response to a universal threat of terrorism upon mankind, and a restoration of the rule of law in Iraqi.

When President Bush pushed his way into Iraqi in 2003, many thought it was going to be a Hollywood-style hit and run operation. Seven years down the line, long after the man from Texas had hounded Saddam out of a hole and made sure he was killed until he died by the hangmans noose, the boys are yet to return home. As to when they will pack up and cross the Euphrates is no longer an issue in Washington it isnt going to be any soon. For, when the only man with big dreams, sometimes as big as a healthcare policy for all Americans sends more tomahawks into Afghanistan, it says a lot. As critics say, the continued occupation is a pointer that Washington only won the war, but lost the peace.

The question that matters presently, that is if we unanimously give Bush a measly zero for his claim of weapons of mass destruction, is why the war Was it right, morally speaking On what moral ground, if ever there was any, did Washington, under President Bush, walk away from the round table, cork the guns, oil the tanks and roll east  Surely, it is not that the son of Walker woke up one morning and said Hey, daddy, at last I can fix this Saddam guyfor you, you now. There must be a reason, a noble one, and acceptable universally to justify aggression on a helpless, hopeless nation. When Iraqi mothers mourn for their dead children, when mutilated bodies lie scattered along the streets of Baghdad indeed, when the loss of human life is the collateral damage in any undertaking, then better be there reasons that are larger than life itself.

Survey Findings
Most of the respondents to this essay were of a shared opinion that there were good intentions in going into Iraqi, but it turned out horribly bad. Some believed it was the USs duty to protect threatened Americans, some thought it was its responsibility to save the repressed Iraqi people from a dictatorial regime, and yet others considered it a waste of time and resources, whose only aim was to serve the interests of America (read oil, although none said it in as many words). Nonetheless, all were unanimously concurrent that regardless the motives, justifications and reasons for invasion, it only worsened a bad situation. In other words, America did the right thing using the wrong means, and came out smelling filthy. At once, these sentiments embrace the principles of Kantianism and Utilitarianism the former by reason (Kant, 2001, 138)- liberating oppressed Iraqis and containing terrorism, and the latter by the end result- striving for the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Personal Moral Approach
My personal and considered moral approach is that we are bound to do to humanity all the good that we can, wherever and whenever we can. Granted, going into Iraqi was not the best that American government could do rather, it was all the good that it could do to Americans and the world at large.
Consider this it is barely two years after September 11- memories of pain still lingered families mourning their loved one and the mounds on the memorial site still fresh. And then, intelligence rumors are high about nuclear weapons and an al Qaeda network in a country ran by a lunatic, who shares with Adolf Hitler the dubious record of putting eugenics into more creative use selectively wiping out whole communities of possible opponents to the consolidation of absolute power. Because no one cared to do anything, thousands of people were poisoned to dead by a man who, for his hungering for power, lacked the tiniest shred of tenderness. Was Washington wait for another World Trade Center to come down before it did something Were five thousand bodies buried in the blink of an eye not enough

Theoretical Perspective Utilitarianism
My moral standpoint stems from the theory of utilitarianism, which posits that actions are right when they serve the interests of the majority (Rainbow, 2007). However, it is not equitable with the models of democracy, for democracy entails opposing sides pulling in different directions. On the contrary, utilitarianism is about choice making, not necessarily for the good of the decision maker, but for those who cannot decide for themselves the defenseless who cant stand for their rights, since the hand that oppresses them is mightier than their means. That is why robbers are short, murderers hanged and rapists jailed for the common good of society. Likewise, the Iraqi War was not about massaging the egos of a few, but about creating order in a nation choked with anarchy, and assuring the safety of a world threatened by a band of hardcore terrorists. This s the highest good, of which Kant et al (2005, 137) says that it is postulated as necessary we ought to endeavor to promote the highest good.

Lets consider another viewpoint that gives credence to the utilitarian argument for the Iraqi war. In his argument for the freedom of free will, philosopher William James refers to mans ability to make moral judgment and regrets. He notes that when peace of mind eludes a person as a result of hisher actions, then it implies that he takes responsibility of the situation. In his rejection of determinism (the view that things happen on a cause-effect pattern), he terms it as a mere attempt by individuals and authorities to deny responsibility for failure to do what ought to have been done but wasnt, either because it seemed impossible or due to lack of foresight at the time. When they realize later that it was possible or right to do otherwise, they regret, feel guilty and make some moral judgments (James et al, 1979, 458).

Do you regret September 11 feel that you could have done something if you had a way America regrets too, but that is water under the bridge, really. What matters is to prevent another September 11 from ever happening again, not necessarily on American soil, but anywhere in the world. Besides, the fact that America is the world superpower makes her responsible for creating order where there is chaos, and restoring the rule of law where anarchy looms.

On matters of safety, the war that America is fighting is not for American citizens alone, but for all the people in the world. For the role it plays in international affairs, it has a corporate kind of responsibility to the world. When Saddam invaded Kuwait in early 1990s, all eyes were looking at Washington for deliverance which it promptly did. If Osama sneaked a tape from his hiding cave warning of another attack, everybody will wait to hear what Washington has to say. Thus, when a nations position makes it responsible for the welfare of people even outside its borders, the moral question boils down to the good it can do to the whole of humanity, regardless the means. If making the world safe means not waiting for something really bad to happen first, then the moral of the action rests on protecting the masses. That is why, as of presently, nobody is worried about how many will perish if Iran was the next stop, but how many lives will be in danger if Tehran went techno-nuclear.

Weaknesses of Utilitarianism
However, utilitarianism fails when its application is stretched to extreme degrees. The argument that arises is on how good a result should be to justify action. We all know, and agree in fact, that the war against terrorism portends the greatest good to all mankind. But how many innocent Iraqi children must die as collateral damage in the process If hauling a few missiles in a crowded place would kill the bad guys, is that good enough reason to blow innocent victims into smithereens of shredded flesh
Consequently, utilitarianism fails to save situations that are a matter of life and death. To protect life means endangering another life, because either you or the terrorist must die. At the same time, it could do injustice to a minority groups who disagree with the majority, and sometimes violate individual rights.

Nonetheless, the usefulness of a utilitarian approach is embedded in the theorys emphasis on the common good. It shares tenets with the universal theory, which also argues for the promotion of ideals which are acceptable across all walks of life. When we are faced with dilemma situations, a utilitarian approach always does justice to those who best deserves it. So, next time you hear the tanks rolling east again, either to Tehran or to Pyongyang, know that it is for the best interests of humanity.


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