Transcript: David Welch on Iraq: A Just War? | Apr 24, 2004

David is in his forties and has a buzz cut with dark brown hair, is
clean-shaven and wears glasses. He wears a grey suit, a blue button
up shirt and maroon and blue tie.

David reads from print out his speech as he stands at the podium in
a dimly lit room.

David says I'M GOING TO DO
SOMETHING TONIGHT THAT I TELL MY
STUDENTS NEVER TO DO, AND THAT'S
TO SPEAK FROM A PREPARED TEXT.
I TELL THEM THAT, BECAUSE ONLY
THE BRITISH CAN ACTUALLY SPEAK
FROM A PREPARED TEXT AND GET
AWAY WITH IT.
BUT FOR A LIVING, I LECTURE, AND
I ALWAYS LECTURE FROM POINT FORM
NOTES, AND QUITE FRANKLY, I'M
TIRED OF JUST DOING THE SAME
THING, SO I THOUGHT I'D DO
SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR A
CHANGE.
SO I'M GOING TO SPEAK FROM A
PREPARED TEXT TONIGHT, WHICH
WILL HAVE THE ADVANTAGE OF
COMPLETENESS AND CONCEPTUAL
CLARITY.
IT MAY HAVE A CRUCIAL STYLISTIC
DISADVANTAGE, AND YOU CAN ALL
TELL ME AT THE END WHETHER I
SHOULD REVERT, ALWAYS, TO MY
POINT FORM NOTES FORMAT.
BUT MY TOPIC, AS PROFESSOR ALLAN
SAID, IS, “WAS THE WAR IN IRAQ A
JUST WAR?”
AND OF COURSE, THE OLDEST
QUESTIONS IN THE STUDY OF
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS ARE MORAL
QUESTIONS, AND AMONG THE CENTRAL
QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK IN THE
STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS,
ARE THE QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE
MORAL JUSTIFICATIONS OF THE USE
OF FORCE.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS MAY STATES
USE FORCE MORALLY, AND WHEN THEY
DO HAVE JUST REASON FOR USING
FORCE, UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES,
AND IN WHAT MANNER, MAY THEY
ACTUALLY MORALLY FIGHT A WAR.

A caption appears with a light bulb. It reads “Iraq: A ‘Just War?’”

David says ABOUT THIS TIME
LAST YEAR, THE UNITED STATES WAS
BUSY CONQUERING IRAQ, SO WE HAVE
NOW HAD A FULL YEAR'S PURCHASE
ON THE QUESTION WITH RESPECT TO
THE RECENT WAR IN IRAQ, AND I
THINK WE ARE NOW IN A POSITION
WHERE WE CAN, IN FACT, BEGIN TO
ANSWER THE QUESTION, “WAS THE
WAR IN IRAQ A JUST WAR?”
NOW THERE ARE
VERY MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF
ANSWERING THAT QUESTION, BUT A
COMMON WAY, AND SOME PEOPLE
WOULD ARGUE, PERHAPS THE BEST
WAY IS TO INVOKE CLASSICAL JUST
WAR THEORY, WHICH PROVIDES A SET
OF PRINCIPLES FOR ANSWERING
BASIC QUESTIONS SUCH AS, FOR
WHAT ENDS MAY THE USE OF FORCE
BE JUSTIFIED, UNDER WHAT
CIRCUMSTANCES, AND ARE THERE ANY
MORAL LIMITS ON THE USE OF
FORCE?
IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY?
CLASSICAL JUST WAR THEORY BEGAN
WITH INSIGHTS FROM PLATO AND
CICERO, BUT IT DEVELOPED INTO A
SYSTEMATIC BODY OF THOUGHT IN
THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION.
AUGUSTIN WAS AN IMPORTANT
CONTRIBUTOR, AND ST. THOMAS
AQUINAS, ITS FIRST REAL
THEORIST.
BUT DESPITE THE FACT THAT
CLASSICAL JUST WAR THEORY HAS
VERY PARTICULAR, AND SOME PEOPLE
WOULD SAY PAROCHIAL ORIGINS,
JUST WAR THEORY AS A WHOLE,
ACTUALLY RESONATES TO A
REMARKABLE DEGREE,
INTERNATIONALLY AND CROSS-
CULTURALLY.
IT'S CENTRAL CLAIMS AND INSIGHTS
ARE CLAIMS THAT PEOPLE FROM A
VARIETY OF CULTURAL AND
RELIGIOUS BACKGROUNDS WOULD
ACKNOWLEDGE AS BEING SENSIBLE
AND RELEVANT TO ANSWERING
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MORAL
JUSTIFICATION OF WAR.
IT IS A DOCTRINE THAT,
HISTORICALLY, HAS HAD MANY, MANY
DIFFERENT FORMULATIONS, AND SO
WHAT I PROPOSE TO DO TONIGHT IS
TO FOCUS ON A GENERIC VERSION OF
CLASSICAL JUST WAR THEORY.
I'M GOING TO PRESENT, AND APPLY
TO THE IRAQ CASE, A STYLISED
VERSION THAT INCLUDES ALL OF THE
CORE PRINCIPLES THAT WOULD
APPEAR IN VIRTUALLY ANY
HISTORICAL FORMULATION OF JUST
WAR THEORY.
SO IT'S NOT CANONICAL,
NECESSARILY, BUT IT IS WHAT I
WOULD CONSIDER THE COMMON
DENOMINATOR TO ANY JUST WAR
APPROACH.
NOW JUST WAR THEORY HAS TWO
ASPECTS, OR TWO PACKAGES OF
PRINCIPLES, EACH OF WHICH
ADDRESSES A DIFFERENT QUESTION.
THE FIRST SET OF PRINCIPLES GOES
BY THE LATIN NAME OF JUS AD
BELLUM, WHICH TRANSLATES AS, THE
RIGHT TO GO TO WAR.
THIS SET OF PRINCIPLES ANSWERS
THE QUESTION, WHEN IS IT MORALLY
PERMISSIBLE TO WAGE WAR?
THE SECOND SET OF PRINCIPLES
GOES BY THE LATIN TERM, JUS IN
BELLO, OR THE RIGHT IN WAR, AND
IT ANSWERS THE QUESTION, HOW CAN
WAR BE WAGED MORALLY.
SO, JUS AD BELLUM IS ABOUT ENDS,
AND JUS IN BELLO IS ABOUT MEANS.
LET ME BEGIN WITH THE FIRST, AND
I WILL LAY OUT THE CRITERIA, AND
THEN APPLY THEM TO THE CASE OF
THE WAR IN IRAQ.
THERE ARE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF JUS
AD BELLUM, JUST CAUSE, RIGHT
INTENTION, LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY,
LAST RESORT, AND REASONABLE
CHANCE OF SUCCESS.
NOW WHAT DO THOSE FIVE
PRINCIPLES MEAN?
LET ME START WITH JUST CAUSE.
HISTORICALLY, MOST INTERPRETERS
OF JUST WAR THEORY HAVE
CONSIDERED SELF DEFENCE THE
PRIMARY JUST CAUSE FOR WAR.
IF SOMEONE ATTACKS YOU, YOU HAVE
AN UNDISPUTED RIGHT TO DEFEND
YOURSELF.
AND ON THAT POINT, THERE HAS
BEEN ESSENTIALLY NO DISAGREEMENT
OVER THE AGES.
NOW OVER THE COURSE OF THE
CENTURIES, DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE
ADDED AND SUBTRACTED DIFFERENT
REASONS THAT COUNT AS JUST
CAUSE.
THERE'S BEEN QUITE A LOT OF
VARIATION IN THESE ADDITIONAL
THINGS.
ONCE UPON A TIME, FOR EXAMPLE,
IN EUROPE, CRUSADING COUNTED AS
JUST CAUSE.
IN THE 19th AND 20th CENTURIES,
GREAT POWERS COMMONLY CONSIDERED
ENFORCING THE PAYMENT OF DEBTS
JUST CAUSE FOR WAR.
DURING THE COLD WAR, MANY PEOPLE
CONSIDERED COUNTER-INTERVENTION
A JUST CAUSE.
IN GRENADA, IN 1983, PRESIDENT
REGAN MADE THE CASE, SOMEWHAT
SPURIOUSLY, I WOULD ARGUE, THAT
DEFENDING ONE'S NATIONALS
COUNTED AS JUST CAUSE.
IN RECENT YEARS, MORE AND MORE
PEOPLE HAVE COME TO REGARD
PREVENTING GENOCIDE OR OTHER
GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AS
JUST CAUSE FOR WAR.
SO IMMEDIATELY YOU CAN SEE THAT
WHAT HAS COUNTED IN ANY EPOCH,
HAS VARIED, AND HAS REFLECTED
THE PREVAILING NORMS OF THE DAY.
SO WHAT PEOPLE HAVE CONSIDERED
JUST CAUSE HAS VARIED QUITE A
BIT OVER TIME.
ALMOST NO ONE TODAY WOULD
CONSIDER CRUSADING JUST CAUSE
FOR WAR.
JUST 200 YEARS AGO, VIRTUALLY NO
ONE WOULD HAVE CONSIDERED
PREVENTING GENOCIDE JUST CAUSE
FOR WAR.
THE IDEA WAS SO FAR FROM
ANYONE'S CONSCIOUSNESS THAT WE
DIDN'T EVEN HAVE THE WORD AT THE
TIME.
WE HAD THE PRACTICE, BUT WE
DIDN'T HAVE THE WORD.
IT HAD NOT YET BEEN INVENTED.
SO SELF DEFENSE IS THE ONLY
CONTINUOUS THREAD.
IT IS, ACCORDINGLY THE GOLD
STANDARD AMONG JUST CAUSES.
AND YET THE VERY TERM SELF
DEFENSE HAS ITSELF BEEN
PROBLEMATIC OVER TIME.
DOES SELF DEFENSE DENOTE ONLY
THE PROTECTION OF HOME TERRITORY
FROM ARMED ATTACK?
DOES IT DENOTE PROTECTION
AGAINST AN IMMINENT ATTACK?
DOES ACTION TO FORESTALL A
DISTANT POSSIBLE ATTACK QUALIFY
AS JUST CAUSE?
DOES IT EXTEND TO PROTECTING SO-
CALLED VITAL NATIONAL INTERESTS?
THE BRITISH AND THE FRENCH IN
1956 JUSTIFIED THEIR MILITARY
OPERATION AGAINST THE SUEZ CANAL
BY ARGUING THAT THE SUEZ CANAL
WAS VITAL TO THEIR NATIONAL
INTEREST.
IS THE “SELF” ONE'S COUNTRY, IS
IT ONE'S ALLIANCE SYSTEM, IS IT
ONE'S FRIENDS, IS IT FELLOW
LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES, IS IT SO-
CALLED CIVILISATION?
SO YOU CAN HAVE MANY INTERESTING
ARGUMENTS ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT
EVEN SELF DEFENSE BOILS DOWN TO
IN ANY GIVEN CASE.
THE SECOND PRINCIPLE IS RIGHT
INTENTION, AND COMPARED TO JUST
CAUSE, RIGHT INTENTION IS FAIRLY
STRAIGHTFORWARD.
EVEN IF YOU HAVE JUST CAUSE, YOU
MAY NOT GO TO WAR, ACCORDING TO
CLASSICAL JUST WAR THEORY,
UNLESS THE JUST CAUSE IS IN FACT
THE REASON FOR GOING TO WAR.
IT CANNOT BE MERELY YOUR EXCUSE.
IT CANNOT BE SOMETHING YOU USE
TO ACCOMPLISH AN ULTERIOR END.

The caption changes to “David Welch. University of Toronto.”

David continues to read and give his speech at the podium.

He says IN OTHER WORDS,
YOUR HEART MUST BE PURE.
THE THIRD REQUIREMENT IS
LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY.
NOW, HISTORICALLY, ONLY KINGS
AND EMPERORS, SOMETIMES ONLY
WITH THE FURTHER BLESSING OF
CLERICS, HAD THE RIGHT TO WAGE
WAR, NO ONE ELSE DID.
AND THE CHIEF
REASON FOR THAT WAS TO
DELEGITIMISE PRIVATEERING.
NOWADAYS, THE GENERAL VIEW IS
THAT ANY LEGITIMATE HEAD OF
STATE OR GOVERNMENT, HAS THE
AUTHORITY TO WAGE WAR, BUT
INCREASINGLY, ONLY WITH
MULTILATERAL SANCTION OF SOME
KIND.
IDEALLY WITH THE BLESSING OF THE
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL.
FAILING THAT, SOME OTHER
MULTILATERAL ORGAN OUGHT TO
AUTHORISE USES OF FORCE,
IDEALLY.
UNILATERALISM IS BECOMING OUT OF
VOGUE, MORALLY SPEAKING.
NOW, THE UNITED NATIONS OF
COURSE, RARELY AUTHORISES THE
USE OF FORCE, BECAUSE MUCH OF
THE TIME WHEN IT MIGHT DO THAT,
AT LEAST ONE OF ITS PERMANENT
MEMBERS, WIELDING A VETO, HAS A
VESTED INTEREST IN PREVENTING
THE AUTHORISATION OF FORCE.
SO THE UNITED NATIONS HAS DONE
SO EXTREMELY RARELY.
AND WHEN THE UNITED NATIONS HAS
BEEN PARALYSED BY GEOPOLITICS,
MANY COUNTRIES WHO HAVE SOUGHT
TO USE MILITARY FORCE IN ONE WAY
OR ANOTHER, HAVE GONE TO SOME
OTHER FORUM FOR THEIR
MULTILATERAL SANCTION.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IN 1962,
PRESIDENT KENNEDY WENT TO THE
ORGANISATION OF AMERICAN STATES
TO AUTHORISE HIS IMPOSITION OF A
NAVAL QUARANTINE OF CUBA DURING
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS.
AND IN 1968, THE SOVIET UNION
WENT TO THE WARSAW PACT FOR SOME
KIND OF MULTILATERAL COVER TO
PROVIDE SOME FIG LEAF OF
LEGITIMACY FOR ITS INTERVENTION
IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA.
THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION
SOUGHT MULTILATERAL SANCTION FOR
THE KOSOVO OPERATION FROM NATO.
SO IT ISN'T ALWAYS THE U.N., IN
FACT RARELY IT'S THE U.N., BUT
INCREASINGLY THERE IS A GENERAL
VIEW THAT STATES OUGHT NOT TO BE
USING FORCE WITHOUT AT LEAST
SOME MULTILATERAL SANCTION,
INDICATING SOME UM, CRITICAL
MASS OF INTERNATIONAL OPINION
ACTUALLY APPROVES OF IT.
NOW THE NEXT CRITERION IS LAST
RESORT.
THIS IS ALSO FAIRLY
STRAIGHTFORWARD.
YOU MAY NOT GO TO WAR UNTIL YOU
HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL POSSIBLE
PEACEFUL MEANS OF ADDRESS.
IN PRACTICE OF COURSE, ALL
POSSIBLE PEACEFUL MEANS OF
ADDRESS REALLY JUST MEAN A GOOD
FAITH EFFORT, BECAUSE YOU NEVER
KNOW--
YOU SOMETIMES MAY NEVE KNOW WHEN
YOU HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL POSSIBLE
PEACEFUL MEANS OF ADDRESS.
SOMETIMES THE WINDOW OF
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE MILITARY
OPTION IS A NARROW ONE, AND WHAT
THE LAST RESORT REQUIREMENT
SIMPLY REQUIRES IS THAT YOU NOT
LEAP THROUGH MILITARY WINDOWS OF
OPPORTUNITY WITH UNDUE HASTE.
THEN THERE'S THE REASONABLE
CHANCE OF SUCCESS REQUIREMENT.
YOU CANNOT WAGE WAR, EVEN IF YOU
HAVE JUST CAUSE, RIGHT
INTENTION, LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY
AND DO SO AS A LAST RESORT, IF
THE USE OF FORCE WOULD BE
FUTILE.
THAT WOULD BE SIMPLY TO SHED
BLOOD UNNECESSARILY.
SO ON THIS CRITERION, THE DANES
DID THE RIGHT THING FROM A JUST
WAR PERSPECTIVE ON APRIL 8,
1940, WHEN THEY CHOSE NOT TO
RESIST THE NAZI INVASION OF
DENMARK.
THERE WAS NO POINT IN FIGHTING.
THEY HAD PERFECTLY GOOD CAUSE TO
FIGHT, THEIR INTENTION WOULD
HAVE BEEN PURE, THERE WAS NO
QUESTION THAT THERE WERE
PEACEFUL MODES OF ADDRESS, THE
NAZIS WERE CLEARLY BENT ON
CONQUEST, BUT OF COURSE,
FIGHTING WOULD HAVE BEEN FUTILE.
HOW DID THE WAR IN IRAQ LAST
YEAR FARE ON THESE CRITERIA?
NOW IN ANSWERING THIS QUESTION,
I WANT TO FOCUS ON AMERICAN
DECISION MAKING.
NOT BECAUSE THE WAR WAS SOLELY
AN AMERICAN WAR, BUT IT WAS
CONCEPTUALLY AND OPERATIONALLY,
OVERWHELMINGLY AN AMERICAN WAR,
ALMOST ENTIRELY A U.S.
INITIATIVE.
I REALLY DON'T DOUBT THAT TONY
BLAIR, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS A TRUE
BELIEVER IN THE JUSTICE OF THE
CAUSE AND THERE WERE A HANDFUL
OF OTHER COUNTRIES WHO MAY WELL
ALSO HAVE BEEN TRUE BELIEVERS IN
THE CAUSE AND WHO DID MAKE
HELPFUL GESTURES OF SUPPORT.
BUT TO A FIRST APPROXIMATION, I
THINK WE CAN PROBABLY ALL AGREE
THAT THIS WAS, FROM START TO
FINISH, PRIMARILY AN AMERICAN
EXERCISE.
AMERICAN OFFICIALS INSISTED THAT
THEY HAD JUST CAUSE.
AND AMONG THE POINTS IN THE
AMERICAN BRIEF WAS THAT IRAQ HAD
IGNORED THE TERMS OF THE 1991
GULF WAR CEASE FIRE, AND VARIOUS
SUBSEQUENT SECURITY RESOLUTIONS
REQUIRING IT TO DISMANTLE ITS
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
PROGRAMS UNDER INTERNATIONAL
SUPERVISION THAT IRAQ WAS
CONTINUING TO BUILD WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION THAT IRAQ WAS
SUPPORTING TERRORISTS, AND THAT
IRAQ POSED A THREAT TO THE
UNITED STATES AND TO THE REGION
THAT HAD TO BE DEALT WITH
PRE-EMPTIVELY IN THE POST 9-11
WORLD FOR REASONS LAID OUT IN
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S
SEPTEMBER 2002 NATIONAL SECURITY
STRATEGY DOCUMENT.
SOMEWHAT LATER IN THE GAME, THE
BUSH ADMINISTRATION BEGAN TO
LEAN MORE HEAVILY ON THE CLAIM
THAT THE IRAQI REGIME WAS
BRUTALISING ITS OWN PEOPLE.
ESSENTIALLY, THEN, THE UNITED
STATES OFFERED A BLEND OF LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND ANTICIPATORY
SELF DEFENSE RATIONALES, WITH A
LITTLE BIT OF HUMANITARIANISM
THROWN INTO THE MIX.
DID ALL OF THAT AMOUNT TO JUST
CAUSE?
NOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNISE
THAT AMERICAN OFFICIALS BELIEVED
THEIR BRIEF QUITE SINCERELY.
THERE WAS, AND
THERE IS RAMPANT SCEPTICISM
AROUND THE WORLD, ABOUT AMERICAN
MOTIVES.
MORE PEOPLE
AROUND THE WORLD BELIEVE THAT
THE WAR WAS REALLY ABOUT OIL,
EMPIRE OR DOMESTIC POLITICS,
THAN BELIEVE IT WAS ABOUT THE
THINGS THE UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT SAID IT WAS ABOUT.
I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE
AMERICAN ADMINISTRATION BELIEVED
WHAT IT SAID.
I DO NOT SEE ANY SERIOUS
EVIDENCE OF INSINCERITY.
I SEE PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF
OVERSELLING, IN OTHER WORDS, OF
SPEAKING BEYOND WHAT THE
EVIDENCE THEY ACTUALLY HAD,
JUSTIFIED.
BUT EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT THE
PLAYERS, AND EVERYTHING WE KNOW
ABOUT THE PROCESS BEHIND THE
DECISION TO GO TO WAR, SUGGESTS
THAT AMERICAN OFFICIALS, WHILE
THEY EVINCED GREATER CONFIDENCE
IN THEIR JUDGEMENT THAN THE
EVIDENCE WARRANTED, REALLY DID
BELIEVE THAT THEY WERE DOING THE
RIGHT THING FOR GOOD REASONS,
AND THEY REALLY DID BELIEVE THAT
EVENTS WOULD ULTIMATELY
VINDICATE THAT JUDGEMENT.
STILL, I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE
AMERICAN BRIEF FELL WELL SHORT
OF JUST CAUSE FOR SEVERAL
REASONS.
FIRST OF ALL, WHILE IRAQI
NONCOMPLIANCE CERTAINLY OFFERED
A PLAUSIBLE CAUSE FOR WAR, THE
AGGRIEVED PARTY HERE WAS THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS A
WHOLE, AS REPRESENTED BY THE
SECURITY COUNCIL, NOT THE UNITED
STATES, AND IT WAS UP TO THE
SECURITY COUNCIL TO MAKE THE
DETERMINATION THAT IRAQI
INTRANSIGENCE AMOUNTED TO JUST
CAUSE.
AS WE KNOW, THE SECURITY COUNCIL
MOST EMPHATICALLY CHOSE NOT TO
DO THAT.
SECOND, THERE WERE NO IRAQI
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
NOW THIS IS FRANKLY SHOCKING,
AND I AM AS FLABBERGASTED BY
THIS AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
MUST BE.
IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SQUARE
SADDAM HUSSEIN'S ACKNOWLEDGED
AMBITIONS IN THIS DEPARTMENT,
AND HIS ACTIVE FRUSTRATING OF
U.N. INSPECTIONS AFTER THE GULF
WAR, WITH THE THOUGHT THAT HE
DISMANTLED HIS WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION PROGRAMS, AND-OR
NEVER RESTARTED THEM AFTER 1991.
BUT THERE WE ARE, THERE DO NOT
APPEAR TO BE ANY WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION.
THIRD, THERE'S NO SERIOUS
EVIDENCE THAT IRAQ WAS
SUPPORTING AL QAEDA.
THERE NEVER HAS BEEN ANY SERIOUS
EVIDENCE TO THAT EFFECT.
FOURTH, WHILE SADDAM HUSSEIN
WITH A NUCLEAR WEAPON WOULD
CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN A DIRE
REGIONAL THREAT, THE AMERICANS
NEVER MADE A PLAUSIBLE CASE THAT
THE DANGER WAS IMMINENT, AND
THEY NEVER ANSWERED THE ARGUMENT
THAT, EVEN IF THERE HAD BEEN AN
IRAQI NUCLEAR THREAT, IT WOULD
HAVE BEEN A THREAT TO THE REGION
AND NOT TO THE UNITED STATES
ITSELF.
FIFTH, AND FINALLY, THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS
ROUNDLY REJECTED THE BUSH
NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY AS A
BLANKET REINTERPRETATION OF THE
DOCTRINE OF SELF DEFENSE.
WHICH LEAVES THE HUMANITARIAN
MOTIVE, WHAT ABOUT THAT?
WHAT ABOUT THE DESIRE TO
LIBERATE IRAQ FROM AN EVIL,
BRUTAL DICTATOR?
NOW THE FACT THAT THIS
PARTICULAR THEME BECAME
PROMINENT LATE IN THE GAME, IN
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S
DIPLOMACY, HAS LED MANY PEOPLE
TO CONCLUDE THAT IT WAS AN
AFTERTHOUGHT, AND HENCE
INSINCERE.
IN MY VIEW, IT WAS ACTUALLY VERY
IMPORTANT TO KEY DECISION MAKERS
IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, WHO
ALWAYS HAD A PROFOUND MORAL
DISGUST OF SADDAM HUSSEIN AND
HIS REGIME.
SO THAT HAD BEEN PRESENT ALL
ALONG.
THE FACT THAT IT SURFACED LATE
IN THE AMERICAN CASE FOR WAR, IN
MY VIEW, IS EVIDENCE OF
INCOMPETENCE, NOT OF
INSINCERITY.
THAT WAS, IN FACT, THE SINGLE
BEST ARGUMENT WASHINGTON HAD.
AND IF THEY HAD BEEN SMARTER,
THEY WOULD HAVE LEANED ON IT
EARLIER AND MUCH HARDER.
STILL, THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE TENDS TO
REJECT REGIME CHANGE AS A
JUSTIFICATION FOR WAR.
SO ON BALANCE THEN, THE IRAQ WAR
ACTUALLY FARES QUITE POORLY ON
THE JUST CAUSE CRITERION.
WHAT ABOUT RIGHT INTENTION?
WELL, AS I'VE ALREADY MENTIONED,
I AM SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE
ULTERIOR MOTIVE INTERPRETATIONS.
I REALLY DO THINK AMERICAN
POLICY WAS DRIVEN BY GENUINE
FEAR, A BURNING SENSE OF SELF
PROTECTION, A DESIRE TO MAKE THE
WORLD A BETTER AND A SAFER
PLACE.
I REALLY DON'T THINK THERE WAS
ANYTHING WRONG WITH AMERICAN
INTENTIONS, ONLY WITH AMERICAN
JUDGEMENTS.
HOW ABOUT LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY?
NOW, TWO QUESTIONS ARISE HERE.
THE FIRST QUESTION IS, WAS
GEORGE W. BUSH LEGITIMATE HEAD
OF STATE?
[Applause and laughter]
NOW WE COULD HAVE SOME FUN WITH
THAT, BUT LET ME RESIST THAT
TEMPTATION AND JUST LEAVE IT
ASIDE.
SECOND, WAS THE WAR DULY
AUTHORISED BY SOME...
REPRESENTATIVE ELEMENT OF THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY?
A DEFEATED SECOND RESOLUTION IN
THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL
CLEARLY WOULD HAVE SIGNALLED NO,
AND THE WHITE HOUSE, SENSING THE
HANDWRITING ON THE WALL, WISELY
CHOSE NOT TO SEEK A SECOND
RESOLUTION EXPLICITLY
AUTHORISING THE USE OF FORCE.
THIS AT LEAST PROVIDED THE WHITE
HOUSE WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO
PRETEND THAT PRIOR U.N. SECURITY
COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS WERE
SUFFICIENT INTERNATIONAL
WARRANT.
BUT FRANKLY, THIS FOOLED NO ONE.
VERY CLEARLY NO REPRESENTATIVE
BODY, OF ANY PART OF THE WORLD
THAT HAD A CLAIM TO ADMINISTER
AN IMPRIMATUR HAD DULY
SANCTIONED WHAT WAS TANTAMOUNT
TO A UNILATERAL WAR.
WAS IT A LAST RESORT?
NOW THE WHITE HOUSE ARGUED THAT
12 YEARS WORTH OF IRAQ'S
IGNORING AND FRUSTRATING THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WAS
PATIENCE ENOUGH.
IF THAT DIDN'T
COUNT AS LAST RESORT, THEN
NOTHING DID.
THE FRENCH AND THE RUSSIANS
COUNTERED THAT INTRUSIVE
INSPECTIONS WERE REALLY ONLY
SERIOUSLY BEING CONDUCTED FOR
THE FIRST TIME IN THE CONTEXT OF
THE CRISIS AT HAND, A LITTLE
OVER A YEAR AGO NOW, AND HAD NOT
YET CLEARLY RUN THEIR COURSE.
THIS WAS TRUE,
IF IRONIC, IN VIEW OF FRANCE AND
RUSSIA'S OBSTRUCTION OF SERIOUS
ATTEMPTS TO ENFORCE SECURITY
COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS UP TO THAT
POINT, AND IN VIEW OF THEIR
SYSTEMATIC, IF INADVERTENT
UNDERMINING OF PRESSURE ON
SADDAM IN THE DENOUEMENT, TO CO-
OPERATE.
SO THIS ONE IS A JUDGEMENT CALL.
WHETHER YOU CONSIDER WHETHER THE
WAR SATISFIED THE LAST RESORT
CRITERION DEPENDS UPON WHOSE
TIME FRAME YOU CHOOSE TO
EMBRACE, EITHER THE AMERICAN OR
THE FRANCO-RUSSIAN.
DID THE WAR OPTION OFFER A PROSPECT=
REASONABLE PROSPECT OF SUCCESS?
WELL FROM A STRICTLY MILITARY
PERSPECTIVE, OF COURSE IT DID,
AS EVENTS CLEARLY PROVED.
IT IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE MOST
ONE-SIDED WAR IN HISTORY.
KNOWLEDGEABLE ANALYSTS WERE
UNANIMOUS IN THEIR CONFIDENCE
AHEAD OF THE TIME, THAT THE
UNITED STATES WOULD PREVAIL
MILITARILY, AND INDEED THEY DID.
SO OVERALL THEN, THE WAR IN IRAQ
PASSED TWO OF THE JUS AD BELLUM
TESTS, FAILED TWO OTHERS, AND
WHETHER YOU CONCLUDE THAT IT
PASSED OR FAILED THE LAST RESORT
REQUIREMENT, DEPENDS ON YOUR
PERSPECTIVE.
CONTRAST THE FIRST GULF WAR OF
1991, WHICH I WOULD ARGUE
CLEARLY PASSED ALL FIVE.
LET'S TURN THEN TO THE JUS IN
BELLO REQUIREMENTS.
THESE ARE THE PRINCIPLES WHICH
ARE INTENDED TO GOVERN THE USE
OF FORCE ONCE WAR HAS STARTED.
THE THREE KEY PRINCIPLES OF JUS
IN BELLO ARE, FIRST, OBSERVE THE
LAWS OF WAR, SECONDLY, MAINTAIN
PROPORTIONALITY, AND THIRD,
OBSERVE THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-
COMBATANT IMMUNITY, SOMETIMES AS
MODIFIED BY THE PRINCIPLE OF
DOUBLE EFFECT.
SO LET ME GO THROUGH THOSE AND
THEN APPLY THEM AGAIN TO THE
IRAQ CASE.
IT MAY SEEM STRANGE TO THINK OF
WAR AS A RULE GOVERNED ACTIVITY,
BUT INDEED, IT IS, AND ARGUABLY,
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AT LEAST UP
TO SOME POINT.
AT ANY GIVEN TIME IN HISTORY,
THERE HAVE BEEN EITHER CUSTOMARY
OR POSITIVE INTERNATIONAL LAWS
OR AT LEAST VERY STRONG NORMS,
PROHIBITING THE USE OF CERTAIN
KINDS OF WEAPONS, AND
PROHIBITING THE USE OF CERTAIN
KINDS OF ACTIONS.
NOW THE PROHIBITIONS HAVE VARIED
OVER TIME QUITE CONSIDERABLY.
FOR EXAMPLE, POPE INNOCENT II'S
1139 INJUNCTION AGAINST THE USE
OF THE CROSSBOW BY CHRISTIANS
AGAINST CHRISTIANS, BECAUSE IT
IS DEATHLY AND HATEFUL TO GOD,
IS CLEARLY NOW DEFUNCT.
[Audience laughter]
BUT THERE IS TODAY, A FAIRLY
RICH BODY OF LAWS GOVERNING
PERMISSIBLE USES OF FORCE IN
WAR, AND THEY INCLUDE, FOR
EXAMPLE, PROHIBITIONS ON
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS,
DETAILED REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR,
AND SO FORTH AND SO ON.
THE REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN
PROPORTIONALITY IN THE USE OF
FORCE SIMPLY REQUIRES THAT
COMBATANTS TRY TO USE THE
MINIMUM NECESSARY AMOUNT OF
FORCE SO AS TO AVOID EXCESS
PAIN, SUFFERING, LOSS OF LIFE
AND DESTRUCTION.
THIS IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE IN
WAR, OF COURSE, BECAUSE AS,
KLASWITZ NOTED 170 YEARS AGO,
WAR HAS IT'S OWN ESCALATORY
LOGIC.
COMMANDERS ARE ALWAYS KEEN TO
ERR ON THE SIDE OF USING TOO
MUCH FORCE, RATHER THAN TOO
LITTLE, AND IT'S VERY DIFFICULT
TO KNOW IN ADVANCE, EXACTLY HOW
MUCH FORCE IS ENOUGH.
AS A PRACTICAL MATTER,
PROPORTIONALITY REQUIREMENT
SIMPLY REQUIRES THAT LEADERS
MAKE A GOOD FAITH EFFORT TO
AVOID OVERKILL WHENEVER THEY
CAN.
THE OBLIGATION TO OBSERVE THE
PRINCIPLE OF NON-COMBATANT
IMMUNITY, PROVED PARTICULARLY
DIFFICULT TO SATISFY IN THE 20th
CENTURY, BECAUSE OF THE SCALE,
TEMPO AND SHEER DESTRUCTIVENESS
OF MODERN LARGE SCALE WARFARE.
AND IN ADDITION, WHEN WHOLE
SOCIETIES AND ECONOMIES ARE
MOBILISED IN SUPPORT OF A WAR
EFFORT, IT BECOMES DIFFICULT TO
DISTINGUISH CIVILIAN FROM
MILITARY TARGETS.
BOTH CONCEPTUALLY AND
PRACTICALLY.
IN THE TECHNOLOGICAL JARGON OF
MODERN STRATEGIC STUDIES,
CIVILIAN AND MILITARY TARGETS
ARE OFTEN DUAL USE, OR CO-
LOCATED OR BOTH.
SO GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN ARMIES
AWOKE AT DAWN, MET ON SOME FIELD
A FEW MILES OUT OF TOWN, DID
THEIR BEST TO KILL EACH OTHER
UNTIL DINNER TIME, AND THEN
RETIRED FOR THE EVENING.
[Audience laughter]
BUT THE INJUNCTION IS CLEAR
ENOUGH, THE IDEA IS
STRAIGHTFORWARD.
IN A WAR, YOU SHOULD TRY NOT TO
KILL THOSE WHO ARE NOT SOLDIERS
INVOLVED IN FIGHTING THE WAR,
YOU MUST DO YOUR BEST TO SPARE
INNOCENTS.
NOW SUPPOSING YOU CAN'T,
SUPPOSING IT'S UNAVOIDABLE TO
KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE IN A WAR,
AND THAT IS ALWAYS THE CASE.
MANY FORMULATIONS OF JUST WAR
THEORY PROVIDE FOR AN ESCAPE
CLAUSE.
IT'S THE PRINCIPLE OF DOUBLE
EFFECT.
THIS WAS THE INVENTION OF
CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS, AND THE
PRINCIPLE ITSELF IS QUITE A
MOUTHFUL, BUT I'LL GIVE YOU THE
CANONICAL FORMULATION HERE.
IT GOES LIKE THIS, “YOU ARE NOT
MORALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EVIL
CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS,
PROVIDED, 1, THAT YOU DO NOT
INTEND THOSE CONSEQUENCES, 2,
THAT YOUR ENDS ARE JUSTIFIABLE,
AND 3, THAT THE EVIL
CONSEQUENCES ARE UNAVOIDABLE.”
IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU HAVE JUST
CAUSE, IF THERE'S NO OTHER WAY
OF ACTUALLY DISCHARGING THAT
OTHER THAN KILLING SOME INNOCENT
PEOPLE, THAT'S OKAY AS LONG AS
YOU WOULD RATHER NOT KILL THEM
IF YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED IT.
[Audience laughter]
NOW NEEDLESS TO SAY, THIS
PARTICULAR PRINCIPLE HAS BEEN
CONTROVERSIAL OVER THE YEARS.
IT'S CERTAINLY ONE HECK OF AN
ESCAPE CLAUSE.
YOU CAN JUSTIFY AN AWFUL LOT BY
MEANS OF, “OH, I DIDN'T REALLY
MEAN TO DO THAT.”
BUT THERE IT IS.
AND WE, IN FACT HAVE TO HAVE
SOMETHING LIKE IT, OTHERWISE, WE
ARE FORCED INTO THE PURE
PACIFIST POSITION, WHICH WOULD
RENDER THE VERY CONCEPT OF JUST
WAR OXYMORONIC.
SO HOW DID THE
WAR IN IRAQ FARE ON THESE THREE
CRITERIA?
WITH RESPECT TO OBSERVING THE
LAWS OF WAR, THE IRAQ WAR WAS,
WITHOUT A DOUBT, ASTONISHINGLY
OBSERVANT, BY HISTORICAL
STANDARDS.
EVEN BETTER, I
WOULD ARGUE, SIGNIFICANTLY
BETTER THAN THE FIRST GULF WAR,
WHICH ITSELF, IN HISTORICAL
PERSPECTIVE, FARED QUITE WELL ON
THIS REQUIREMENT.
IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR AMERICAN
VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS OF WAR IN
IRAQ, YOU WOULD PROBABLY BE
DRAWN TO ONE OR BOTH OF TWO
POSSIBLE AREAS OF CONCERN.
THE FIRST WAS THE PUBLIC
BROADCAST ON CNN, OF VIDEO OF
CAPTURED IRAQI SOLDIERS IN
HUMILIATING POSITIONS, WHICH IS
A CLEAR VIOLATION OF THE THIRD
GENEVA CONVENTION ON THE
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR.
AND WITH NO APPARENT SENSE OF
IRONY, DONALD RUMSFELD WAS ON
TELEVISION THE VERY WEEK THAT
HAPPENED, CHARGING IRAQ WITH
VIOLATING THE VERY SAME
CONVENTION, BY SHOWING VIDEOTAPE
OF CAPTURED AMERICAN PRISONERS,
BUT THERE WE ARE.
IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, I
THINK WE WOULD HAVE TO AGREE
THAT, IN AND OF ITSELF, WAS
A RELATIVELY MINOR
TRANSGRESSION.
OF MORE SERIOUS CONCERN IS THE
SECOND ISSUE, AND THAT IS THE
USE OF CLUSTER BOMBS AND
DEPLETED URANIUM ORDNANCE IN THE
U.S. MILITARY CAMPAIGN.
NOW NEITHER OF THOSE HAS
ACTUALLY BEEN OUTLAWED
EXPLICITLY IN POSITIVE
INTERNATIONAL LAW, BUT YOU COULD
MAKE A CASE THAT BOTH CONTRAVENE
CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW
AGAINST THE USE OF WEAPONS WITH
HORRIFIC EFFECTS.
CLUSTER BOMBS HAVE HORRIFIC
EFFECTS, BECAUSE A CLUSTER BOMB
IS A SINGLE WEAPON THAT IS MADE
UP OF MANY SMALLER BOMBS, WHICH
DISPERSE UPON LAUNCHING, AND
THEY ARE, BY VIRTUE OF THEIR
DISPERSAL, INDISCRIMINATE IN
THEIR TARGET AREA, BUT ON TOP OF
THAT, AND EVEN MORE DISTURBINGLY
TO SOME EXTENT, SOME OF THE
BOMBLETS DON'T EXPLODE ON
IMPACT, AND THEY LIE AROUND AND
WAIT TO BE PICKED UP BY CHILDREN
AND OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE, AND
THEN THEY EXPLODE.
SO CLUSTER BOMBS ARE A BIT LIKE
AERIAL LANDMINES, AND HAVE THE
SAME INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AND
MORAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH
THEM AS LANDMINES HAVE.
DEPLETED URANIUM ORDNANCE IS
USED BY TANKS AND BY HELICOPTERS
AND BY ANTI-TANK AIRCRAFT TO
DESTROY WELL ARMOURED TARGETS,
VERY HEAVY METAL.
DEPLETED URANIUM MAY BE
RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME SIGNIFICANT
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION OF
THE BATTLEFIELD, AND IT MAY ALSO
BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME VERY
LONG TERM DEBILITATING HEALTH
EFFECTS, BUT FRANKLY THE SCIENCE
IS UNCERTAIN ON THIS, AND IT'S
NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR WHETHER THIS
IS THE CASE.
SO, WHILE FROM AN INTERNATIONAL
LEGAL PERSPECTIVE IT WOULD HAVE
BEEN BETTER IF THE UNITED STATES
HAD PLAYED IT SAFE AND USED
NEITHER TYPE OF WEAPON, YOU
COULD HAVE AN ARGUMENT ABOUT
WHETHER THERE WAS A
CONTRAVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL
LAW HERE, AND CERTAINLY AMERICAN
LEADERS DID NOT BELIEVE THAT
THEY WERE USING PROHIBITED
WEAPONS IN THE CONDUCT OF THE
CAMPAIGN.
THEY DID MAKE A CONSCIOUS, VERY
EMPHATIC EFFORT TO OBSERVE THE
LAWS OF WAR, AS THEY UNDERSTOOD
THEM.
DID THE UNITED STATES MAINTAIN
PROPORTIONALITY?
BRILLIANTLY.
THE U.S. BATTLE PLAN WAS
ASTONISHINGLY EFFICIENT.
THE U.S. DEMONSTRATED
HISTORICALLY UNPRECEDENTED
ECONOMY IN THE USE OF FORCE,
GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE MILITARY
ACCOMPLISHMENT.
SO ON THE PROPORTIONALITY
CRITERION, THIS WOULD HAVE TO BE
A CLEAR PASS.
WHAT ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE OF NON-
COMBATANT IMMUNITY?
THE NUMBER OF CIVILIANS WHO DIED
IN THE WAR REMAINS UNCERTAIN,
BUT WAS VERY CLEARLY LOW IN
PROPORTION TO THE UH, AMOUNT OF
FIRE POWER USED, AND EXTREMELY
LOW FROM A HISTORICAL
PERSPECTIVE, UNUSUALLY LOW FOR
ANY MODERN WAR.
NOW CREDIBLE ESTIMATES PUT THE
FIGURE AS HIGH AS 5,000 IRAQI
CIVILIANS KILLED IN THE
CAMPAIGN, ALTHOUGH IT'S ALMOST
CERTAINLY SOMEWHAT LOWER THAN
THAT, POSSIBLY MUCH LOWER THAN
THAT.
IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SOME
NGOs CLAIM THAT SADDAM WAS
KILLING UP TO 15,000 OF HIS OWN
INNOCENT CIVILIANS ON AN ANNUAL
BASIS, IT'S AT LEAST POSSIBLE
THAT MORE IRAQI CIVILIANS ARE
ALIVE TODAY AS A RESULT OF THE
WAR, THAN WOULD BE ALIVE IF
SADDAM WERE STILL IN POWER.
IN ADDITION, NO SERIOUS OBSERVER
COULD MAKE THE CLAIM THAT THE
AMERICANS WERE WANTON OR
RECKLESS IN THEIR CONCERN FOR
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES.
THEY MADE AN UNPRECEDENTED
EFFORT TO AVOID THESE.
IN FACT THEY WENT SO FAR AS TO
COMPLETELY FORGO ATTACKING
CERTAIN TARGETS, TARGETS THEY
ATTACKED IN THE FIRST GULF WAR,
WHICH CARRIED WITH THEM HIGHER
RISK OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES, FOR
EXAMPLE, POWER PLANTS, BRIDGES,
OTHER CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE
TARGETS.
IN ADDITION, THE UNITED STATES
USED AN UNPRECEDENTEDLY HIGH
LEVEL OF PRECISION GUIDED
MUNITIONS IN THIS PARTICULAR
WAR.
SO THE FACT THAT BY HISTORICAL
STANDARDS, SO FEW INNOCENTS DIED
IN THIS CAMPAIGN, TANTALISINGLY
SUGGESTS THAT WE MAY BE ON THE
CUSP OF AN AGE WHERE
TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS NO LONGER
MAKES IT HARDER TO PROTECT
CIVILIANS IN WAR, AND MAY, IN
FACT, MAKE IT EASIER TO PROTECT
CIVILIANS IN WAR.
SO THE IRAQ WAR'S OVERALL SCORE
ON THE JUS IN BELLO CRITERIA, IS
THEREFORE 3 QUITE CLEAR PASSES.
THIS IS HIGHLY UNUSUAL IN AND OF
ITSELF, BUT IT'S PARTICULARLY
UNUSUAL FOR A WAR TO DO BETTER
ON THE JUS IN BELLO REQUIREMENTS
THAN ON THE JUS AD BELLUM
REQUIREMENTS.
MUCH MORE TYPICAL IS, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE SECOND WORLD WAR,
WHERE THERE WAS CLEARLY JUST
CAUSE, RIGHT INTENTION,
LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY, ALL THE
REST OF IT, BUT ONCE HAVING HAD
JUST CAUSE, ONCE HAVING IT IN
PLACE, A WANTON DISREGARD OF
MORAL CONSTRAINTS ON THE USE OF
FORCE IN WAR ITSELF, AS WE SAW
FOR EXAMPLE IN THE CARPET
BOMBING OF GERMAN CITIES, THE
DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO MAXIMISE
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN THE FIRE
BOMBINGS IN JAPAN AND SO FORTH
AND SO ON.
SO WHAT DO WE CONCLUDE OVERALL?
NOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT
THE EIGHT JUST WAR PRINCIPLES
THAT I HAVE TALKED ABOUT ARE
INDIVIDUALLY NECESSARY AND
JOINTLY SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH
THE JUSTICE OF A WAR.
ACCORDING TO JUST WAR THEORY, A
WAR IS JUST IF, AND ONLY IF, IT
PASSES ALL THE TESTS.
FAILURE ON ANY ONE CONDEMNS THE
WHOLE.
THEREFORE, THE FAILURE OF THE
IRAQ WAR TO SATISFY THE
REQUIREMENTS OF JUS AD BELLUM
FORCES US TO CONCLUDE THAT THIS
WAS AN UNJUST WAR.
NOW JUSTICE IS
NOT SOMETHING THAT ADMITS OF
DEGREE.
IT'S SMALL COMFORT TO SUPPORTERS
OF THE WAR TO THINK THAT THE
IRAQ WAR PASSED MORE TESTS THAN
DID CERTAIN OTHER WARS, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE VIETNAM WAR.
BUT SUPPORTERS OF THE WAR CAN,
AND DO TAKE SOME COMFORT IN THE
THOUGHT THAT EVEN UNJUST WARS
CAN HAVE SOME STRONGLY POSITIVE
CONSEQUENCES.
AND ONE
OBVIOUSLY BRILLIANT SILVER
LINING HERE, IS THAT SADDAM
HUSSEIN IS OUT OF A JOB.
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN IRAQ
NOW, I AND OTHERS WOULD ARGUE,
THE IRAQI PEOPLE ARE VIRTUALLY
GUARANTEED A BETTER EXISTENCE.
IT COULD HARDLY HAVE BEEN WORSE.
THIS LEADS NATURALLY TO THE
QUESTIONS OF WHETHER THERE ARE
PREFERABLE WAYS OF JUDGING THE
MORALITY OF THE USE OF FORCE,
AND I BEGAN BY SAYING THAT THERE
ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF
ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE
JUSTIFIABILITY OF WAR, AND JUST
WAR THEORY IS ONLY ONE.
AN ALTERNATIVE, FOR EXAMPLE,
WOULD BE TO ASSESS THE WAR'S
COSTS AND BENEFITS, ON VARIOUS
DIMENSIONS ABOUT THINGS WE CARE
ABOUT, QUALITY OF LIFE, QUANTITY
OF LIFE, SECURITY, THE STABILITY
OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM,
RESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW AND
SO FORTH AND SO ON.
THAT STYLE OF ANALYSIS WOULD BE
A CONSEQUENTIALIST ANALYSIS, IT
WOULD BE AN ANALYSIS OF PROS AND
CONS, COSTS AND GAINS.
THAT WOULD BE QUITE DIFFERENT
FROM A JUST WAR THEORY ANALYSIS.
CLASSICAL JUST WAR THEORY IS
PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH
FIDELITY TO RULES, NOT WITH
CONSEQUENCES.
IN A LIMITED WAY, IT'S CONCERNED
WITH CONSEQUENCES.
WHAT WOULD A CONSEQUENTIALIST
ANALYSIS LOOK LIKE?
WELL I'VE ACTUALLY DONE THAT,
TOO, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO
INFLICT THAT ON YOU TONIGHT.
AND THE CONSEQUENTIALIST
ANALYSIS I HAVE DONE SUGGESTS
THAT THE WAR WAS ALSO
UNJUSTIFIED, ALTHOUGH
INTERESTINGLY, THE CONDEMNATION
OF THE WAR WAS MILDER THAN I
EXPECTED IT TO BE WHEN I STARTED
THAT ANALYSIS.
NOW FOR THOSE OF US INTERESTED
IN A MORAL ANALYSIS OF
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, AND IN
PARTICULAR IN THE MORAL ANALYSIS
OF THE USES OF FORCE, ONE OF THE
MOST INTERESTING QUESTIONS TO
PONDER IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THIS,
IS WHETHER THE IRAQ WAR WILL
BOOST OR ERODE THE APPEAL OF
JUST WAR THEORY AS A PARTICULAR
ANALYTICAL DEVICE FOR MAKING
JUDGEMENTS OF THIS KIND.
WE WILL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE,
BUT I THINK IT MAY ACTUALLY
BOOST THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF JUST
WAR THEORY.
MANY COMMENTATORS HAVE EMPLOYED
IT IN LOOKING BACK ON THE WAR,
AT LEAST IN AN OFFHAND PIECEMEAL
KIND OF WAY, SUGGESTING THAT THE
PRINCIPLES OF JUST WAR THEORY
HAVE BEEN INTERNALISED TO A
REMARKABLE DEGREE.
AND WHETHER OR NOT YOU SUBSCRIBE
TO THE PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS OR
ETHICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF
CLASSICAL JUST WAR DOCTRINE, I
THINK THIS HAS TO BE GOOD NEWS,
BECAUSE THE MORE BROADLY
ACCEPTED PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
THE USE OF FORCE BECOME, THE
LESS DISAGREEMENT WE CAN EXPECT
ON PRECISELY THE QUESTIONS THAT
RENDER THEM GERMANE.
AND WITH LUCK, THAT MEANS WE
WILL, IN THE FUTURE, LIVE IN A
MORE PEACEFUL WORLD.

[Applause]

Watch: David Welch on Iraq: A Just War?