The Iraq War 2003 - A Just or Unjust War?

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2014

14 Pages, Grade: 2,3



1. Introduction

2. Just War Theory
2.1 Jus ad bellum
2.2 Jus in bello

3. Conclusion

4. Sources

1. Introduction

The following termpaper is about the “Operation Iraqi Freedom” with the main aim to make a research whether this war was a just war or was it more a morally wrong act of the USA and their allied forces. To have an overview about this topic, it begins with a short definition of Just War. It continue with the “Jus ad bellum”, so the legitimate reasons for going to war. This part includes all important criteria for the Iraqi War: the just cause, the last resort, the chance of success and the proportional end. Firstly each condition will be explained in general and after it assigned to the Iraq War.

For this work it is also necessary to analyze the “Jus in bello”, so the justice conditions in war. The relevant criteria in this part are the distinction and the military necessity.

The end will summarize all important facts of this research, shortly point out my own view and answer the final question whether it was a just or unjust war.

2. Just War Theory

The just war theory is about how a war should fought and why wars are fought. The theory is splitted into three big parts: Jus ad bellum, so the justice of war, handle with the mainpoint to have a just cause to declare a war. So to have the right intentions, have tried all kinds of reasonable possibilities, or to have no choice because of an imminent attack and selfdefance. Also important is the criteria to have a good chance of success and the minimal use of force in order to achieve their means are neccessary.

Jus in bello, so the justice in war deals with the aspect of proportionality of means and ensuring noncombatant immunity.

Jus post bellum means the justice after a war, so peacetreaties and reconstruction.

On the on hand we have a theoretical justification of this just war theory and on the other the historical one.

The theoretical element affected with the ethically justifying war and their characters that warfare take. The historical element is about the historical rules or agreements that have applied in different wars across the last ages. Philosophers and also lawyers exaimed through the ages their visions of the ethical limit of war. Their thoughts formed core of the modern the international legal system.

In the 20th century the just war theory has went through a revival in response of the invention of nuclear weapons and for instance the involvement of USA in the Vietnam war. It is important to mention that since Al Qaida attacks on the USA on 9/11 in 2001, academics have turned their attention to just war once again with international, national, academic, and military conferences developing and consolidating the theoretical aspects of the conventions. Now just war theory is a popular and important topic for instance in International Relations, Political Science and Philosophy.[1]

2.1 Jus ad bellum

I. Just Cause

It starts with the most important criteria, the just cause. To initiate an act of aggression against a group without any reasons is unjust. Therefore the group have a just cause to defend itself. So wars may not legitimately be fought for territorial gain, national glory or a little trade embargo. So the only sufficient reason for just cause is the self-defense against physical aggression[2]

The reason for the Iraq War - a just cause?

George W. Bush and the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld were dedicated that Iraq posed a threat to the world. USA was confident of the fact that Sadam Hussein had a terrorist network with the Al Qaeda and Iraq had a big arsenal of biological, chemical and nucleare massdestruction weapons.[3]

On the 5th of February 2003, Colin Powell made his presentation at the UN Security Council to prove the urgency to engage a war with Iraq. Powell also showed photos of two mobile massdestruction laboratories and mentioned to have evidences for the connection between the Al Qaeda and Iraq:” My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”[4] Powells evidences for the biological weapons were reports of the German intelligence service “Bundesnachrichtendienst”. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janafi, an Iraq scientist, told to journalists of “The Guardian newspaper” that he lied to the German intelligence service with the aim to strenghten the case with Saddam Hussein and to remove him from the position of power.[5]




[3] groesster-fehler-1.381428



Excerpt out of 14 pages


The Iraq War 2003 - A Just or Unjust War?
Vilnius University
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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390 KB
Moral, War, Just, Unjust, Iraq
Quote paper
Dennis Trom (Author), 2014, The Iraq War 2003 - A Just or Unjust War?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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