War on Iraq does not fulfill the criteria of a just war
by John Chung
reiterates our position that the Bush-led US administration and its allies
should refrain from destabilizing the world by launching unilateral military
strikes on Iraq. Attacking Iraq without UN Security Council sanction not
only violates international law but clearly defies the wishes of the world
community for a peaceful and non-military solution.
We view with grave concern the ultimatum issued by Bush to
Saddam Hussein to go into exile falling which Iraq will be threatened with
the use of force as such a pronouncement impinges upon the sovereignty of
the Iraqi nation, notwithstanding Saddam's oppression of his own population
which also deserves our severest condemnation.
Undoubtedly, the American case for a pre-emptive war on Iraq is
incongruous with the notion of a just war. For there to be legitimacy, the
generally accepted principles of a just war must be met, amongst the most
important of which are:
A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent
options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.
A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority.
Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups
who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and
outsiders to the society deem legitimate.
A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For
example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a
just cause. Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions:
the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.
It is clear that the war on Iraq does not fulfill the criteria
of what constitutes a just war since not all non-violent options have been
exhausted as the arm inspectors have yet to be given adequate time to
complete their job of disarming Iraq.
Moreover, it is only the United Nations Security Council which
is empowered to declare the use of force with the narrow exception of self-defense
in accordance with Art. 51 of the UN Charter. In this case however, the
conditions for self-defense action are not met.
US must therefore stop its arrogant threat of aggression
against Iraq and give peace a chance by allowing both the UNMOVIC and IAEA
to complete their arms inspection task. Instead of ending terrorism, the
unsanctioned use of force can only serve to breed greater terrorism and this
is what the US and its allies must avert for the sake of world peace.
* John Chung, DAPSY