18 Aug 2009

Sample Essay: The War on Iraq is Unjust

The War in Iraq has been seen by many as and a just war but similarly others have perceived it as an unjust war from an ethical perspective. The War in Iraq War began in earnest after the September 11, 2001 although at that time the war was focused in Afghanistan but the Bush Administration thought that Saddam and his sons were potential terrorists. Iraq declined to allow the weapon inspectors to inspect weapons of mass destruction. This subsequently led to a US preparation for an Invasion of Iraq and since then war in Iraq has been constant. Once Bush’s deadline expired, forces of US and British troops invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, which eventually lead to the collapse of the Iraqi government. In my opinion, if the US felt threatened by the fact that inspectors were not allowed to search for weapons of mass destruction, the government should not have resorted to such open invasion but to less violent means.1 However, the invasion took place, and I feel as if the invasion and the entire war that continued on with military involvement in Iraq are unjust. The War in Iraq was unjust because there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, the war was said to be “fought with a purpose of obtaining oil,” Iraq did not pose as a military threat, the numbers of people wounded and killed was insurmountable, the military involvement cost too much in tax dollars and in Federal spending, and the best way to support our troops is to send them home instead of keeping them in Iraq for basically no reason. The Catholic Church was also against the war, with Pope John Paul II directly speaking out against it. 2

1 – Cockburn, 2007, pg 44

2 – Cockburn, 2007, pg 47

Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, known also as WMDs, in the past. During the Gulf War in the early 1990’s, Iraq claimed to have chemical and biological weapons but refused to use them, even after they were forced over their border at the defeat in Kuwait. The only time Iraq used those types of weapons was against the Arabs, for only a minimal amount of time, and that was before the Gulf War started. Saddam Hussein proved to be a clever military leader knowing the repercussions of using chemical and biological weapons, including annihilation of his own regime, his country, and possibly the world. Saddam is known as a classical dictator, where his main goal is to just remain as a power figure. When Iraq was invaded by the US and British troops, the goal was to search and try to find weapons of mass destruction. The result was that there were no weapons of mass destruction found. Technically the “objective” was met, and the troops had no right to continue on with militaristic actions. The troops should have left once they found out there were no weapons of mass destruction instead of continually fighting, making the war unjust in that respect. Another reason why the war seems unjust is because of the “war for oil” mentality. 3

The U.S. was not going after ever a dictator, but they were going after Saddam for reasons. By democratizing Iraq, the U.S. could bring democratic encouragement towards other Middle Eastern countries. The risk of war can possibly turn out in a good result. It might start the beginning of peace between the Israeli’s and Palestinians and other Arab countries. There are many positive outcomes that may come from this war, that do make a lot of sense and are important to many people. 4

3 – Cerf, 2003, pg 23

4 – Cerf, 2003, pg 30

President Bush wanted to try in every way to prevent some of the most dangerous regimes, like Iraq, from threatening the U.S. with some of the world’s most destructive weapons (Daalder and Lindsay, brookings.edu). Iraq posed an imminent threat if it was not disarmed immediately. Iraq had possible ties with the attacks on The Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The Bush Administration also believed that Saddam would be an easy target to oust. Iraq had some biological and chemical weapons but it lacked nuclear weapons. Iraq’s army had grown a great deal weaker since the Persian Gulf War. The Administration also believed that liberating Iraq would cause the entire Middle East into democratic governments. This takeover would also give a chance for the U.S. to have the utmost strategic play over Iraq. (Ricks, 2007)

“Saddam Hussein’s regime threatened the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of everyone else” (Ricks, 151-155). Saddam had already agreed with the United Nations to disarm Iraq of its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons once before. He had also made many more of these false declarations with the U.S. and the UN.

The U.S. could not sacrifice delaying war with Iraq any longer (O’Hanlon, Brookings.edu). At that point in time Saddam Hussein could be let off the hook. It looked to be that Saddam was not eliminating his banned weapons of mass destruction voluntarily, and there were not any more options but to make him forcefully do this by a military action. There was definitely a nuclear and terrorist issue with Saddam and there is evidence to support it that he was doing more in both those areas then we had realized. The time for patience among the U.S. was running out. George Bush had also established a multilateral approach to this situation. There was now a counsel of people who were in support with George Bush. This approach was the precise technique to use. There were devastating consequences if there were to be an invasion of Iraq without multilateralism. Many of the supporting nations of the U.S. could have had damaged judgments towards the U.S. without this. Many argue in opposition of war and also have reasons. One argument described how Iraq had not really posed any threat to the U.S. (Simpson and Rangwala, Traprockpeace.org). There was not any solid evidence that Iraq was connected to the Al Qaeda network. There was also no evidence that Iraq had any new weapons of mass destruction, or that it shows the means of using the weapons it had. There was evidence out there about Iraq, but there was also shocking beliefs used an excuse for war. Many of the discussions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction posed by the government were focused on Iraq’s capabilities. There were not any capabilities or intentions by Iraq. They were only capable of hurting the U.S., which isn’t a good enough reason for war. The U.S. government had stated that Iraq and Saddam were a danger and a threat to Americans. However Saddam hadn’t ever used any weapons of mass destruction against the U.S., nor threatened to. No plans or proposals for these weapons of mass destruction were ever found therefore we could just presume that there were never any. Iraq would never use these kinds of weapons unless certain circumstances were at hand. First of all they would use them if they felt they had nothing to lose and, in the case of an invasion. Nuclear weapons were never used by Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. The only way to prompt Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein from using any nuclear weapons against the U.S. would be to, refrain from invading Iraq or attempting any assassinations against Saddam which was later achieved through a court. Iraq really had no credible links to any anti U.S. terrorist groups. There was a lot of evidence proving that there were no ties between Iraq and any terrorist groups, but the U.S. government still said that there were. This meant that Iraq showed no indication of using any terrorism to threaten the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction. 6

6 – Jacobs, New York time, the war in Iraq,

A peaceful Middle East can only be achieved through constructing political links between Iraq and its neighbors. It has been proven that Iraq has not ever been able to sufficiently enrich Uranium for a bomb. The only way that Iraq would be able to produce a bomb is if it had U.S. and European assistance and that does not look as if it is happening any time soon. There is also evidence that Iraq is lacking enough missile power to back up any threats against other countries. (Ricks, 2007)

Many of the assessments about Iraq’s development of chemical, nuclear and biological weapons are based on pure imaginary analysis of what could be done with the Iraqi regime if it was determined to produce these weapons. By using the worst-case scenarios, the government is able to create Iraq’s potentials. You truly cannot launch a war on the foundation of unproven suspicions of both weapons and intentions. (Ricks, 2007)

Oil may not seem as a direct motive for invading Iraq but the intent to have some type of control of the oil reserves in Iraq was there. In April 2001, President Bush’s Cabinet agreed to use “US Military Intervention” to try to “influence” the flow of oil to other markets. The invasion, war, and extra involvement in Iraq may just be an excuse to try to control the “112 billion barrels of proven reserves along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources.” I am lead to believe that by sending and having our soldiers get killed by staying in Iraq longer than after the objective was met, to possibly try and take over Iraq’s oil fields, is completely unjust. Iraq never posing as a direct threat to the United States is another reason why the War in Iraq is unjust.

Saddam Hussein did not do anything to provoke an invasion or serve as a threat to US securities or the borders of any nation in the Middle East. Saddam commands a weakened military force which also does not show any type of threat as well. As stated earlier, Saddam Hussein knows that if he were to deploy any WMDs, Iraq would suffer with heavy retaliation. Saddam has no motive in using WMDs, unless Iraq was invaded, where he would use them in desperation versus the opposing forces. Saddam is a murderous and evil individual, but he is not stupid or suicidal. He has remained in power for over 20 years. Even if Iraq did not meet the deadline with the WMDs and the weapons inspectors, there is no right for any nation to wage war against another pre-emptively, or before there was a right and definite cause for war. The US invasion violated international laws, and also, the Geneva Convention, UN Charter, Monroe Doctrine, and the US Constitution’s restriction of armed forces. Whether or not Iraq had WMDs, the invasion proved they did not have any, making them less of a threat and more of a reason why the war is unjust because of the fact that the war continued on after the US met their objective. The war is also unjust because of the large Federal spending to support the war instead of for other purposes to help benefit the United States.

The Bush Administration has spent billions of dollars on this ethically unjustified war. In 2004 a total deficit of $412 billion was reported which was the largest in history, and much of those funds went going towards funding the war. Initially, Congress provided $228 billion for the war but the entire military and reconstruction process of Iraq was over $300 billion. In 2005 the deficit was $427 billion which mainly came as result of the Iraq war. This is totally unjust since the war should have been over way before this point in time. The Federal Budget should have been spent on issues such as education and medicine. From an ethical standpoint a cure for AIDS can be seen as a real life saver. (Ricks, 2007)

Since March 20, 2003, there have been “1, 674 coalition troops killed, 1,502 Americans, 86 Britons, seven Bulgarians, one Dane, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Hungarian, 20 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, one Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 17 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq.” Also at least “11, 069 troops have been wounded in action,” according to the Pentagon. These statistics are as recent as March 4, 2005. These statistics are too large, especially after the objective was met early in the war’s stages. The soldiers should not have been ordered to continue fighting with no direct reasons and all of the deaths and injuries that have happened because of it are unjust. People always talk about “Supporting our Troops” in thoughts and prayers, while they are they are on the battlefield. That is positive to show support, but in reality, the best way to support our troops is to remove them from harm’s way and bring them home. Unjust opinions on the War in Iraq are also formed because of the fact that the Catholic Church shows lack of support for the war and firm belief against it.

Pope John Paul II and many of his assistants at the Vatican wasted no time to speak out against the US led invasion of Iraq. The Pope said that the war was unjust and counter productive by leaving many dead and wounded, by destroying Iraqi structures, and by weakening the United Nations and their efforts to stop global terrorism. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258 states: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being,” showing that killing, whatever the circumstance be, is ultimately wrong. 2307 states: “The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war,” also showing us how killing is wrong, even in terms of war. Finally, 2308 states: “All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war,” stating to try to do whatever you can to go against war. Overall, these reasons help to prove why the War in Iraq is unjust.

America only imports 3% of our total oil usage form Iraq. The French on the other hand have many interests in Iraqi oil. In the past decade, French oil companies have been paid millions of dollars to build the infrastructure of Iraq’s oil industry. Just recently, Saddam Hussein has concluded a contract for another 10 years of French support for even more money. It is quite clear that while the French may actually care about sending its troops to battle, they most likely have many ulterior motives. (Ricks, 2007)

The Iraqi people need to be liberated, and in my opinion hundreds of American troops are worth saving Iraqi citizens from being slaughtered.

Another excellent reason for going to war is the legal one. Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated the UN’s peace treaty that was given to him after the Persian Gulf War. In it, he was supposed to not have any chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and he was supposed to allow UN inspectors free reign to search for them. Because it is obvious he has some of these weapons, he has used them on his own people, the UN should have gone in but for France’s ulterior motives and promise to veto anything the US brought to the table.

In conclusion, the War in Iraq was unjust. There were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. A possible war motive was for oil, and shedding blood for oil is wrong. Iraq did not pose as a true threat to the United States and the war should not have dragged on as much as it did after they reached their objective of finding the information on the WMD status. The numbers of soldiers and people killed and wounded were much greater than expected and was unnecessary. The amount of money spent on a “war with no purpose” takes away from the funding of education, medicine, business, and other uses to benefit the country. Finally, Pope John Paul II and the Vatican Counsel spoke out against the war also, saying that it was unjust, unnecessary and unethical . Overall, the War in Iraq was unjust, especially because of the added involvement in the country after the invasion.


1. “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” 18th April, 2008.


2. Zunes, Stephen. “Why Not Wage War with Iraq.” 18th April, 2008.


3.McClarity, Scott. “60 Reasons to Protest George W. Bush’s Planned Invasion

of Iraq.” 18th April, 2008. http://www.themoderntribune.com/60_reasons_not_to_go_to_war_with_iraq-iraq_war-_war_on_iraq.htm

4.”Evidence for Corrupt Motives for War on Iraq and Afghanistan.”

18th April, 2008. http://www.thedebate.org/

5.”Forces US and Coalition/Casualties.” 18th April, 2008.


6.”2003 Invasion of Iraq.” 18th April, 2008.


7.”War Cost Drives Record Deficit.” 18th April, 2008.


8.”Has Vatican changed position on Iraq War, or has war changed Iraq””

18th April, 2008.


Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks Penguin July 31, 2007

War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism by Douglas J. Feith Harper April 8, 2008

My War: Killing Time in Iraqby Colby Buzzell Berkley Trade September 5, 2006

The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions by Christopher Cerf Touchstone May 6, 2003

The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn September 1, 2007

New York times, William Jacobson, the war on Iraq, January 2008

O’Hanlon, Brookings.edu

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