10 Pages

Is There a Just Cause for War Against Iraq?*

WithJohn Langan

The critics of just war theory often raise the question of whether the proponents of the theory have ever been able to provide clear guidance beforehand on whether or not a proposed war is or is not just. In contrast to the public discussion that preceded the Gulf War of 1991, there has not been much use of the language of "just war" in the public debate or in the administration's arguments for its position that there must be an immediate regime change in Iraq. The first and most fundamental requirement that any proposed conflict must meet is that there be a just cause for which the war is to be fought. In the absence of a just cause, there can be no just war; and so this will always be the most fundamental requirement. It seems that the Iraq of the future will be without weapons of mass destruction and without Saddam Hussein.