ETHICS IN WAR: REFLECTING ON IRAQ

http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/421048619/ Iraq, U.S. Army photo

With the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and the official end of Operation Iraqi Freedom on August 31, Iraq is already fading from the American headlines. There was no triumphant ending to this seven-and-a-half-year war, no dancing in the streets. Many of us wish only to move on.

Yet American involvement is not over. Fifty thousand troops remain in Iraq and outbreaks of violence continue. We leave behind deaths and wrecked lives, both in Iraq and the U.S., along with many unresolved questions about the war.

The Council presents this collection of resources that focus on the moral issues raised by the conflict and its costly toll. They raise fundamental principles of jus in bello and jus ad bellum (just conduct in war and the criteria for going to war in the first place) that resonate far beyond Iraq.



JUS IN BELLO


DISCRIMINATION, PROPORTIONALITY, AND THE COSTS OF WAR

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Deborah Amos, NPR News
1.9 million Sunni Muslims have been forced into exile following the Iraq War, says Deborah Amos. What impact is this having on these people's lives, on Iraq, and on the region's delicate balance of power? (Public Affairs Program, March 2010. Video, audio, transcript.)

A Humanitarian Assessment of the War in Iraq
Ali Wyne, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The debates about withdrawing from Iraq have excluded what would seem to be a self-evident point of contention: how best to repair the damage that Iraqis have suffered as a result of the war. (Carnegie Ethics Online Article, July 2009.)

Arguing About War
Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study
For the first time since the publication of his classic Just and Unjust Wars in 1977, Professor Michael Walzer has collected his most provocative arguments about contemporary military conflicts and the ethical issues they raise. (Public Affairs Program, February 2006. Transcript.)

Public Ethics Radio: Joy Gordon on Iraq Sanctions
Joy Gordon, Fairfield University
Joy Gordon's new book, Invisible War, describes a superpower run amok. The international sanctions on Iraq were the strictest ever imposed. The tremendous damage that ensued set the stage for the devastated country we see today. (Public Ethics Radio, August 2010. Audio, transcript.)


ABUSE OF PRISONERS

Torture, Rights, and Values: Why the Prohibition of Torture is Absolute
David Rodin, Oxford University; David Luban, Georgetown University Law Center
Rodin's premise is that if we have a commitment against torture, then it leads to an absolute prohibition on torture. Luban worries that our commitment is not strong enough. (Carnegie-Uehiro Fellowship Program, Inaugural Lecture, June 2008. Video, audio, transcript.)

Ethical Considerations: Law, Foreign Policy, and the War on Terror
Alberto Mora, former U.S. Navy; Dan Rather, HDNet
Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora fought to stop policies that authorized cruelty toward terror suspects. "Cruelty harms our nation's legal, foreign policy, and national security interests," says Mora. "I can't put it any plainer than that." (25th Annual Morgenthau Memorial Lecture, November 2006. Video, audio, transcript.)

SPECIAL REPORT: The Moral Implications of Torture
Put together following the sentencing of Charles Graner, one of the principals indicted for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, this special report consists of excerpts from Carnegie Council resources (with links to full texts) on the moral implications of prisoner abuse. (Resource Picks, January 2005.)


ANCIENT SITES LOOTED

Safeguarding the Past for Iraq's Future
Mary Lea Cox, writer
After the war, local and professional looters descended on ancient sites across Iraq. According to surveyor Henry Wright, "Far more material than what has been reported missing from Baghdad's Museum is being ripped from the ground and leaving the country. Extraordinary damage is being wreaked on this irreplaceable archeological record." (Article, November 2004.)


WHAT DO WE OWE IRAQ?

What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building
Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School
Feldman, a constitutional expert and Arabic-speaker sent to Iraq by the Bush administration, argues that U.S. intervention in Iraq amounts to a moral promise, and unless asked to leave, we are morally bound to stay until a legitimately elected government can govern effectively. (Public Affairs Lecture, January 2005. Audio, transcript.)


OUTSOURCING OUR WARS

Corporate Warriors: The Privatized Military Industry and Iraq
P.W. Singer, Brookings Institution
P. W. Singer examines the Pentagon's policy of contracting private security and logistics firms for tasks ranging from combat to catering in the Iraq War. What are the ethical dilemmas and conflicting incentives of outsourcing a traditional state function to essentially mercenary groups? (Public Affairs Program, December 2005. Audio, transcript.)

When Is Military Outsourcing Appropriate?
Thomas Griffith, George Washington University; Joel Rosenthal, Carnegie Council
When is outsourcing appropriate? asks Griffith. We need to be thinking more deeply about what using military contractors means for the U.S. in terms of who we are and who we want representing us in the world. (15-minute audio interview with transcript, April 2009.)

Unexplored Issues Regarding Military Contractors
Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, Joel Rosenthal, Carnegie Council
Military contractors bring up many issues which have not been fully explored, says Hammes; loyalty, for example. While we can expect great loyalty from U.S. citizens when U.S. soldiers are in danger, what can we really expect from a Bangladeshi truck driver or a local Iraqi contractor? (11-minute audio interview with transcript, April 2009.)

The Role of Contractors in Combat
James Jay Carafano, The Heritage Foundation; Col. Jeffrey D. McCausland (Ret.), Carnegie Council
Using contractors on the battlefield is not new for the U.S. What's more, it's a good option and it's here to stay, says Carafano. "For the U.S. it is a way of leveraging the capabilities of the modern world efficiently." (21-minute audio interview with transcript, April 2009.)

The Role of Military Contractors
Eric "Rick" Olson, defense contractor; Col. Jeffrey D. McCausland (Ret.), Carnegie Council
"I just couldn't conceive of a battlefield now without contractors," says Olson, who was a U.S. Major General and is now an independent defense contractor. He discusses the effect of contractors on the military profession, accountability issues, and the roles contractors play. (12-minute audio interview with transcript, April 2009.)


THE ROLE OF THE AMERICAN MEDIA

War Reporting as NBA Playoffs
John Tessitore, Carnegie Council
Was the American public well served by media reporting during the war in Iraq? What of the choice of visual images, such as unfurling American flags? Of stirringly patriotic background music? Of particular guest commentators? (Article, September 2010.)


FURTHER READING ON ETHICS IN WAR

IN THE SHADOW OF HADITHA: Essential Resources on Ethics in War
Allegations of war crimes in Haditha, Iraq, point to the urgent need for ethical leadership in the conduct of war. Since World War I, the Council has led the debate on ethics in war, enlisting some of the most thoughtful and experienced leaders in this ongoing struggle to live up to our ideals. Here follows a selection of Carnegie Council materials on ethics in war. (Resource Picks, June 2006.)


JUS AD BELLUM


WAS IRAQ A JUST WAR?

Striking First: Preemption and Prevention in International Conflict
Michael W. Doyle, Columbia University; Harold H. Koh, Yale Law School
Is the Bush Doctrine of aggressive preventive action a justified and legal recourse against threats posed by terrorists and rogue states? Does the United States have the right to defend itself by striking first, or must it wait until an attack is in progress? (Public Affairs Program, September 2008. Video, audio, transcript.)

Justifications of the Iraq War Examined
Richard B. Miller, Indiana University
Three soldiers die in Operation Iraqi Freedom, each given a different justification for their fight. Are their deaths morally the same? Miller assesses three claims on behalf of the Iraq war. Then he steps back from the specifics of these three rationales to ask whether they are in fact of the same sort. (Ethics & International Affairs article, Vol. 22.1, Spring 2008.)

Ethics & International Affairs, Special Issue on Ethics and the Use of Force After Iraq
The centerpiece of this volume is a heated discussion between the international lawyer, Fernando Tesón, and the international political theorist, Terry Nardin. At issue was whether the 2003 Iraq war could be interpreted and justified as a humanitarian intervention. (Ethics & International Affairs, Vol. 19.2, Summer 2005.)

Moral Dilemmas of U.S. Policy Toward Iraq
Anthony F. Lang, Jr., University of St Andrews, Scotland
When it comes to issues such as imposing sanctions, pursuing assassination, overthrowing regimes, and waging war, the moral questions may be the most important ones. (Article, February 2001.)

Read More: Iraq War, Just War Tradition, Iraq, United States

blog comments powered by Disqus
Search Our Site

People  |  Advanced Search

Join our Mailing Lists
SOCIAL MEDIA
Online Magazine

Online Magazine

Social Network

Social Network

The Journal

The Journal