Humanitarian Imperialism: Response to "Ending Tyranny in Iraq" [Full Text]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 19.2 (Summer 2005)

July 13, 2005

Fernando Tesón offers two “humanitarian rationales” for the war in Iraq. The first, which he calls the “narrow” rationale, is that the war was fought to overthrow a tyrant. The second, “grand,” rationale is that it was fought as part of a strategy for defending the United States by establishing democratic regimes in the Middle East and throughout the world—peacefully, if possible, but by force if necessary. Both rationales strain the traditional understanding of humanitarian intervention.