A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in by Thomas Cushman

By Thomas Cushman

Present debate over the reasons, ideological justifications, and results of the battle with Iraq were strident and polarizing. an issue of precept is the 1st quantity collecting severe voices from world wide to provide another viewpoint at the triumphing pro-war and anti-war positions. The contribu-tors--political figures, public intellectuals, students, church leaders, and activists--represent the main robust perspectives of liberal internationalism. delivering substitute positions that problem the established order of either the left and the correct, those essays declare that, regardless of the inconsistent justifications supplied through the USA and its allies and the conflict-ridden strategy of social reconstruction, the battle in Iraq has been morally justifiable for the reason that Saddam Hussein used to be a brutal tyrant, a flagrant violator of human rights, a strength of worldwide instability and terror, and a hazard to international peace. The authors talk about the constraints of the present method of worldwide governance, which tolerates gross violations of human rights and which has didn't hinder genocide in areas akin to Bosnia and Rwanda. in addition they underscore the necessity for reform in foreign associations and foreign legislations. whilst, those essays don't inevitably try to say sorry for the errors, blunders, and deceptions within the approach the Bush management has dealt with the battle. Disputing the concept that the one precise liberal place at the warfare is to be opposed to it, this quantity charts a useful 3rd direction, a course decided via a powerful liberal dedication to human rights, unity with the oppressed, and a company stand opposed to fascism, totalitarianism, and tyranny.

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Neither major American political party quite lived up to this proclaimed responsibility. President Clinton spent the closing years of his tenure in search of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement along the lines adumbrated at Oslo (and in search also, perhaps, of a Nobel wreath). The Republican Party of George W. Bush entered the 2000 election in the guise of a quasi-isolationist force, publicly hostile to such efforts in nation building as the Clinton-Gore administration had undertaken. Iraq continued to rot and crash.

4 He THE CASE FOR REGIME CHANGE 33 specifically mentioned Saddam Hussein in this context—at a time when George W. Bush was still governor of Texas—and his own timely intervention in Sierra Leone, meanwhile, undoubtedly helped to prevent another Liberia or Rwanda from occurring. It would almost be possible to believe, when reading the memoirs of, say, Richard Clarke, that the Bush and Blair governments had never intervened in Afghanistan at all but had preferred to focus on their “obsession” with Iraq.

Yet these speeches show with great poignancy Blair’s own liberal vision of political responsibility not only to ensure global moral responsibility to peace and security but to protect and liberate the oppressed. In this sense, Tony Blair is a model of liberal statesmanship, and his speeches serve as a reminder to all that the war can be defended on the basis of morality and principle rather than resisted on stark considerations of hegemony or empire alone. NOTES 1. htm (accessed November 22, 2004).

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