The war in Iraq: Ethical or Unethical

Essay by trytyeCollege, UndergraduateC+, April 2005

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Assignment: Employ at least one ethical theory and at least one published reference in favor of the war in Iraq and at least one ethical theory and one published reference against the war in Iraq.

The war in Iraq has been at the forefront of the news for a few years now. Support as well as opposition for the war has come from all corners of the globe. Duty ethics teaches us that our morals are characterized by our adherence to independent moral rules or duties. The war in Iraq was felt by some to be necessary because the United States, as the only super power left, has a duty to help countries powerless against tyranny and oppression. Some would also say that the duty of the United States to protect its own citizens from foreign enemies is one that overshadows all others and therefore makes this war necessary.

The United States acted unilaterally in its effort to bring democracy to Iraq. Initiated by the Bush Administration, this war has sparked support as well as controversy since the decision for invasion was first mentioned.

In my search for support of the war I found that the reasons many support the war can be attributed to the reasons outlined in the Presidents initial justification to go to war. The White House website is filled with speeches given all over the world by the President about why this war was necessary. Speeches to the American people, foreign countries, military personnel, and the U.N all delivered the same message that "...Sadaam Hussein was a brutal dictator who possessed chemical weapons and was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons to use against the United States and its allies...."(1), and this message was reflected in every website of support that I have come across.

Although reasons for support of the war are more consistent and seem to stem from the Presidents initial justification to go to war, opposition, on the other hand, is not. Websites of opposition that I've come across cite reasons for not supporting the war ranging from religion to claims of U.S. terrorism and International law violators. Many feel it is morally wrong for the United States to forcefully impose its idea of democracy on a region that is almost entirely motivated by their religion. The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice center is one of many organizations dedicated to getting Americans to take notice of the "International atrocity" committed by the U.S. The organization calls the killing of Iraqi citizens and U.S. soldiers a "crime against humanity" (3). Unlawful is another term used by opposers of the war, the International Humanist and Ethical Union describes the war as "The First Unlawful and Unethical War of The Third Millennium" (2). According to the IHEU, the Iraq war is unlawful because it was waged in contravention of international law. Because the U.S. violated international law, the idea is that this war is deemed unethical, primarily in the practical sense.

Works cited:

1. Bush, George W.

2. International Humanistic and Ethical Union, , Nov. 17, 2004

3. Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center,