Policy & Advocacy

An Ethical Analysis of War Against Iraq, December 2002

Year Published
  • 2013
  • English
Gerard F. Powers1
Director, Office of International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

What is interesting about the moral debate over Iraq is both how little and how much it has changed in the past twelve years.  The basic moral problem of how to deal with a repressive and aggressive rogue regime with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) remains essentially the same.  What is different is that this debate is taking place after September 11.  That has changed what is perceived to be at stake.  If the case for Iraq I was based on defense of vital U.S. interests in the Middle East and upholding international norms against aggression, the case for Iraq II is based on fighting a global war on terrorism and defending the United States, itself, against a possible attack by WMD.  If Iraq I was seen as part of an effort to shape a new U.S.-led post-Cold War order, Iraq II is seen as part of exercising U.S. primacy and shaping new norms of international behavior.  Iraq I did not require a significant rethinking of just war norms.  Iraq II does – at least to the extent that the Bush administration's moral case has rested on the right to use unilateral, preventive force in a post-September 11th world. 

In this paper, I will argue, first, that Iraq is a hard case – made harder by 9/11 – that must be addressed by the international community.  Second, just as hard cases make bad law insofar as the exceptional case is used to establish unwise and unhelpful precedents, the Bush administration's justification for preventive war against Iraq would make for problematic morality.  Third, good morality is realistic, and there are realistic ways to deal with this hard case of Iraq short of a major war or a radical change in just war doctrine, particularly given the paucity of available evidence that the nature of the threat has changed significantly in recent years.

I. Iraq: The Hard Case

Iraq is a hard case.  It is held up as a poster child for three potentially interconnected moral challenges posed by contemporary international relations – rogue regimes, global terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Iraq is also a test case for proposed U.S. strategic responses to these three threats that would create troubling moral precedents. 

Three moral challenges.  The first moral challenge is posed by repressive and aggressive rogue regimes, such as Iraq and North Korea.  According to the Bush administration's "National Security Strategy," these regimes are particularly problematic because they are ruled by brutal and megalomaniac – or at least less

than rational -- dictators who, are not easily influenced, deterred or contained.1  A second moral challenge is posed by a global terrorist network that is motivated by a contemporary form of holy war without limits.  Christians had the Crusades; Muslims have Osama bin Laden, who has celebrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as part of a "jihad against the infidels" in the West.  September 11th is dramatic evidence of this form of terrorism's capacity for unleashing unimaginable evil.  It is also symptomatic of how difficult it is to defend against such evil.  Such loose-knit, global networks of terrorists prosecuting what they consider to be a holy war are much more difficult to contain and deter than rogue regimes.  If a third moral challenge – the proliferation of WMD – were to be connected to the first two – rogue regimes supporting global terrorism – the combination would be extremely dangerous.  The threat posed by this deadly combination of threats is so great – even if the chance of the threat being carried out is relatively low – that it can push traditional strategies and moral analysis to their limits.

Muscular unilateralism.  Whether one describes the current structure of the international system as unipolar, uni-multipolar, or multipolar, it is indisputable that the United States has the preeminent military, political, economic, and cultural power and influence in the world. Paradoxically, the attacks of 9/11 and their aftermath have given the United States a new sense of vulnerability, yet have also affirmed U.S. global dominance.2  The combination of U.S. vulnerability and U.S. primacy have reinforced tendencies toward a muscular unilateralism in U.S. foreign policy.3

Iraq is the test case for this muscular unilateralism.  U.S. policy towards Iraq is based on three assumptions, each of which can be morally problematic: (1) the United States has a right to use preventive force against Iraq; (2) the objective of U.S. military action should be the overthrow of the Iraqi regime; (3) the United States has a right to act unilaterally if others are not willing to do as it deems necessary.  While the public rhetoric has changed in the past few months, in part in an effort to gain UN and allied support, it is significant that the Bush Administration's case for war against Iraq has been made in the context of a strategic doctrine which places a priority on maintaining U.S. military dominance in the world, and insists that traditional concepts of deterrence, traditional limits on the preemptive use of force, and traditional approaches to non-proliferation are no longer adequate to address global terrorist networks or rogue nations which seek or possess weapons of mass destruction.  In short, the Administration's strategy posits the right of and necessity for the United States to pursue, in some cases, the unilateral, preventive use of military force against rogue regimes seeking or possessing weapons of mass destruction.4

II. Hard cases Make Bad Morality

Underlying this new national security strategy is an important moral insight – that there is a moral imperative to address the Iraqi threat and threats like it. There is sometimes a tendency among those who are opposed to the war on terrorism or war in Iraq to feel a need to minimize the threat and to lose sight of a fundamental moral obligation to act with resolve to defend innocent life and the common good.  The United States, in collaboration with others, has not only a moral right but a grave obligation to defend against mass terrorism and the threat Iraq poses.  As the bishops said in their recent statement on Iraq, "We have no illusions about the behavior or intentions of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi leadership must cease its internal repression, end its threats to its neighbors, stop any support for terrorism, abandon its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, and destroy all such existing weapons."5

The difficult moral issue is not mostly about ends but about means – how to defend the common good against such threats.  Recognizing that "people of good will may differ on how to apply just war norms in particular cases," the bishops "fear that resort to war, under present circumstances and in light of current public information, would not meet the strict conditions in Catholic teaching for overriding the strong presumption against the use of military force."6  The bishops are particularly concerned, in this case, about just cause, legitimate authority, and the potential consequences of a major war in Iraq. 

Weakening the constraints of just cause.  The principal problem with muscular unilateralism is its implication for just cause. The Catechism of the Catholic Church limits just cause to cases in which "the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations [is] lasting, grave and certain." (#2309) This formulation is currently understood to limit force to cases of defense against aggression.

What is the casus belli for a military attack on Iraq? Among the several causes put forward by the Bush administration, the most troubling is its argument for preemptive or preventive use of force. 

Like many ethicists, the bishops recognize that preemptive or anticipatory use of force is sometimes morally permissible, but only in the exceptional case where there is a clear and present danger, or a grave and imminent threat.  Ethicists and others differ on whether Iraq poses such a threat.  Jean Bethke Elshtain, who believes preemptive use of force is justified in this case, argues that "an imminent threat does not necessarily mean one that is just around the corner. It may refer, instead, to murderous capabilities an outlaw regime is in the process of developing. If one can make a strong case that the use of such capabilities is highly likely, then the just war caution against ‘intervening' may be overridden."7  James Turner Johnson concludes that "the administration has made a good case that the danger is clear, [but] it has not demonstrated that it is present, in the sense of an attack definitely intended and in process of preparation" (though he notes that the sensitivity of information might prevent the administration from making that case publicly).8  For their part, the bishops have questioned whether the case has been made that there is clear and adequate evidence of an imminent and grave threat. 

Whether or not the Iraqi threat is, in fact, imminent, what is disturbing is that the Bush administration has taken the concept of preemption as an option in exceptional cases and turned it into a new doctrine about the legitimacy of the unilateral use of preventive war to deal not just with imminent threats, but with merely potential or gathering dangers.  Michael Walzer points out that President Bush repeatedly states that war with Iraq is neither imminent or unavoidable: "No one expects an Iraqi attack tomorrow or next Tuesday, so there is nothing to preempt.  The war that is being discussed is preventive, not preemptive – it is designed to respond to a more distant threat."9  According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, "What the cases of North Korea and Iraq show is that if the threat is genuinely serious, the preemption doctrine is not pursued.  If the threat is not immediate but, as the president said, grave and gathering, then you rely on preemption."10

Justifying preventive war in this way would represent a sharp departure from just war norms.  As Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has noted, the concept "does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."11  Preventive war would set a terrible precedent.  Where would this doctrine lead?  What criteria would permit Pakistan, Israel and India to have nuclear weapons, but not Iraq, Iran or North Korea?  Would the world be a safer place if all countries embraced this new doctrine of preventive force to deal with the proliferation of WMD?

It might be that the administration is not advocating preventive war but merely redefining "preemption" in order to deal with WMD held by rogue states.  If that is the case, it must be done very carefully so as not to erase the vital distinction between impermissible preventive and permissible preemptive interventions.12  For example, what criteria would justify a new concept of preemption: possession, intent to possess, threatened use, possession and a history of aggression?13 Would preemption to enforce non-proliferation be justifiable even when the nation claiming the right to preempt itself relies on WMD and threatens their preemptive use?14  Given the difficulties in redefining preemption without, in effect, justifying preventive war, the bishops have tried to reinforce existing conceptions of just cause by questioning the morality of any use of force absent "clear and adequate evidence of an imminent attack of a grave nature."

A second justification for the use of force against Iraq is based on Iraq's alleged links to terrorism.  While the administration has not made it the principal case for going to war with Iraq, it has tried to connect the Iraqi regime to al Qaeda.  According to the bishops, there would be just cause to use force against Iraq if there was clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks of September 11th.  In that case, the use of force would be an act of self-defense, just as force could be justified against the Taliban in Afghanistan, given its intimate relationship to al Qaeda and the considerable evidence at the time that al Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.15  The key factual question is whether and to what extent Iraq is tied to al Qaeda or similar terrorist groups.  Given that al Qaeda is estimated to operate in some sixty countries, military action to overthrow the regime (as opposed to other less forceful measures) would have to be based on evidence of substantial support. 

A third basis for justifying force is humanitarian intervention.  Humanitarian intervention has been more implicit than explicit in the administration's arguments in large part because it departs from its broader strategy of using military force only when vital national security interests are at stake and its stated distaste for engaging in "international social work" and nation building. Others, however, have made a moral case for humanitarian intervention.16

In many respects, humanitarian intervention represents St. Augustine's classic case: love may require force to protect the innocent.  Pope John Paul II, citing the "conscience of humanity and international humanitarian law," has gone beyond standard interpretations of international law in claiming that nations and the international community have not only a right, but a duty of humanitarian intervention "where the survival of populations and entire ethnic groups is seriously compromised."17

A full ethical analysis of humanitarian intervention requires a composite moral judgment that considers the range of  justifications for action (e.g., genocide, human rights abuses, undemocratic regime), causes of a crisis (e.g., repression, civil war, failed state), objectives (e.g., regime change, contain conflict, provide safe havens), and means used (e.g., diplomacy, humanitarian relief, arms embargoes, economic sanctions, peacekeeping, deterrence, military intervention). Among these many possibilities, military intervention to overthrow a regime should be the exceptional case that requires a very high threshold to justify – such as genocide, mass starvation, or similar mass suffering.18  Recognizing the right and duty of humanitarian intervention but narrowly limiting the cases when military intervention is justified provides one means of ensuring that it is an authentic act of international solidarity and not, as small countries have a legitimate right to fear, a cloak for great power dominance, as it sometimes has been in the past.  As the bishops have said, "We must be wary that the outstretched hand of peace is not turned into an iron fist of war."19  While the Catholic cosmopolitan ethic can more easily justify humanitarian intervention than a state-centric ethic, principles of sovereignty and nonintervention retain their relevance for maintaining international peace and the integrity of nations, especially the weaker ones.  Approval by the U.N. Security Council or some other form of international sanction for humanitarian interventions can provide a procedural safeguard to guard against abuse.

In the case of Iraq, humanitarian intervention has already taken place, at least insofar as the international community has provided a safe haven for the Kurds, who were victims of a genocidal campaign in 1988 that included the use of weapons of mass destruction.  Those still under the Iraqi government's control face gross human rights abuses, especially if they oppose the regime, but those abuses do not meet the high threshold that should be required for military intervention to overthrow a government.  Moreover, U.S. credibility in justifying war on humanitarian grounds is weakened by the fact that some of its allies in the war on terrorism are themselves implicated in egregious human rights abuses and by the fact that humanitarian intervention is not considered in response to regime-induced famine in North Korea, fratricide in Sudan, and the humanitarian disaster in Congo. 

A fourth justification for military force is based on a material breach of the cease-fire resolutions.  According to James Turner Johnson, while it might not be prudent, "[t]he deliberate violation of the 1991 truce by Saddam Hussein's regime in principle has reopened the Gulf  War and justifies resumed military action against the regime."20  It seems too simplistic to say that a material breach reopens the Gulf War. One would have to consider the nature of the breach (e.g., failure to report fully on the disposition of WMD is not as grave a breach as the actual use or threatened use of WMD or a new Iraqi attack against Kuwait), what options are available to bring Iraq into compliance, and, if force were deemed necessary and justified, what the objective would be.

The bishops have not addressed this question in their statements to date, in part, because of their prudential judgment that resuming inspections provides a better, less harmful and potentially more effective alternative to using force to enforce UN resolutions.  They have, however, urged that a distinction be made between forceful "efforts to change unacceptable behavior of [Iraq] and efforts to end that government's existence."  This distinction is based, in part, on the notion that overthrow of a regime is generally not consistent with the just war criterion of right intention and the notion that just wars are limited wars. 

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has developed a widely-discussed proposal for coercive inspections – i.e., inspections backed by a large multinational force authorized by the UN Security Council.  While this proposal is based on the assumption that the threat to overthrow the regime is necessary to ensure Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions,21 it is also possible that threats of overthrow might complicate such efforts.  It would be easier to justify coercive inspections if they were aimed at disarming Iraq, not overthrowing the regime; if they were approved by the UN Security Council; if they did not simply punish Iraq but had a reasonable chance of eliminating its weapons of mass destruction and ensuring Iraqi compliance with its obligations; and if they were designed to avoid and limit harm to civilians.

Legitimate authority.  In addition to raising strong concerns about dramatically expanding just cause to justify war against Iraq, the Bishops have questioned the wisdom of acting unilaterally.  The Vatican has been especially insistent that any use of force should take place within the framework of the United Nations after considering the consequences for Iraqi civilians, and regional and global stability.22  The criterion of legitimate authority does not require international sanction, but in the case of Iraq, prudence dictates it for several reasons.  First, if the United States is truly upholding the credibility of the UN, it can scarcely ignore the UN's own decisions about how to enforce its own resolutions.  Second, international sanction provides necessary checks and balances, especially given the troubling precedent involved in the world's only superpower proposing to use preventive force to overthrow other regimes.  Third, the success of any effort to rebuild Iraq after a conflict and the success of the wider war on terrorism will require the support of Arab states, our allies and others in the international community.  Finally, the cosmopolitan ethic underlying the just war tradition presumes that nations have an obligation to help build up the international institutions that would make war between states less of a tragic necessity in international affairs. To ignore widespread international opposition and act unilaterally in Iraq would further contribute to a perception of U.S. exceptionalism and would not contribute to efforts to strengthen international collaboration for peace.

Probability of success and proportionality.  The use of force must have "serious prospects for success" and "must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated" (Catechism, #2309).  In their November statement, the bishops "recognize that not taking military action could have its own negative consequences."  At the same time, they are concerned that war against Iraq could have unpredictable consequences not only for Iraq but for peace and stability elsewhere in the Middle East.  Therefore, they raise a number of questions.  Would preventive force succeed in thwarting serious threats or, instead, provoke the very kind of attacks that it is intended to prevent?23  How would another war in Iraq impact the civilian population, in the short- and long-term?  How many more innocent people would suffer and die, or be left without homes, without basic necessities, without work?  Would the United States and the international community commit to the arduous, long-term task of ensuring a just peace or would a post-Saddam Iraq continue to be plagued by civil conflict and repression, and continue to serve as a destabilizing force in the region?  Would the use of military force lead to wider conflict and instability? 

According to James Turner Johnson, the bishops' questions reflect a form of utilitarianism that is not consistent with the just war tradition's emphasis on just cause, legitimate authority and right intention.  He contends that this focus on the negative consequences – "worst-case scenarios" – distorts just war reasoning and reinforces the inappropriate replacement of the just war tradition's presumption against injustice with a presumption against war.24

The nature of the presumption underlying just war is beyond the scope of this short paper. But Johnson's minimizing of the significance of consequences is difficult to understand.  Surely, it is of immense moral significance if military intervention, even if justifiable, risks killing a thousand innocent civilians or a hundred thousand; if the overthrow of the Iraqi regime leads to  a democratic, stable government that is a force for peace in the region or civil war and instability throughout the Middle East.  As Drew Christiansen argues, "[a]ny theory of justice must accommodate diverse goods (and evils), benefits and burdens, rights and duties. … In the case of war and other uses of force, unless a specific casus belli is weighed against the prospective evils of armed conflict enormous injustice can be done: to the combatants, to the societies involved, and to the right order force is intended to restore."25 

If Johnson's concern is that religious leaders are not well placed to make these speculative judgments, the bishops already acknowledge that, which is why they avoid categorical statements about possible consequences of going to war.  It is not the role of religious leaders or the just war tradition, however, to encourage a permissive attitude toward war on the part of decision-makers who, in seeking to justify war, are already tempted to adopt the most optimistic scenarios about the likely consequences.  If moral analysis is realistic about the need to use force as a last resort to deal with injustice, it is equally realistic about the consequences of doing so, especially given the sad history of civilian suffering, unintended consequences, and failed efforts to achieve greater justice and peace as a result of war.  The burden of proof is on those who would justify war to make a convincing case that it would not result in the unintended and untoward consequences that so often accompany modern war and that could well be the result of war against Iraq.

Jus in bello.  A war against Iraq could exemplify two countervailing developments in modern warfare.  On the one hand, the wars waged by the United States in recent years are, with some exceptions, the most discriminate in recent history in terms of the intent and capacity to avoid the direct targeting of civilians.  This is a significant moral achievement.  On the other hand, war in Iraq could continue the trend of the past fifty years in which civilians have increasingly been the principal victims of war.  The United States is threatening the use of nuclear weapons in response to any Iraqi use of WMD26 and is likely to use anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs, neither of which can distinguish between civilians and soldiers.  Its rules of engagement in recent wars have effectively reversed the duty of care owed civilians in the name of zero-(U.S.) casualty wars, and its pursuit of regime change could well involve street fighting in Baghdad that would endanger large numbers of civilians.  Just as prominent voices called for taking off the "kid gloves" with respect to "collateral damage" in Afghanistan given the nature of the al Qaeda threat, one surely will hear the same calls given the nature of an Iraq armed with WMD. 

If the experience in the Gulf War, Kosovo, and Afghanistan are any indication, the greatest risk to civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, will be from the Iraqi army, which is likely to lash out at Shiite and Kurdish minorities, and from these political opponents of Saddam seeking retribution against his Sunni supporters.27  U.S. military planning should include serious efforts to protect these minorities against retribution during and after any military intervention in Iraq.

III. So What Can Be Done?

If Iraq is a hard case that must be dealt with, yet going to war to overthrow the Iraqi regime is morally problematic, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the September 11th attacks or a grave and imminent Iraqi threat, what is to be done?  If the burden is on those advocating war to justify it morally, the credibility of those opposing war depends on their ability to provide a realistic alternative.  There are never easy or perfect answers to hard cases, but a strengthening of current efforts at enforcement, containment, and deterrence would seem to be more realistic than resorting to war, with all its troubling precedents and potentially negative consequences.  In fact, this is essentially the approach the Bush administration is following in response to what it acknowledges is a similar but more immediate threat from North Korea.   

Enforcement, containment, and deterrence have worked to a significant extent over the past decade, though more should be done.  The inspections regime was one of the most intrusive and effective disarmament efforts ever mounted.  Despite Iraq's defiance of the UN and the failure to achieve a full accounting of Iraq's WMD, inspectors were able to discover and eliminate far more weapons of mass destruction than all the bombing during the Gulf War.  Iraq's nuclear program was discovered and dismantled; tens of thousands of chemical munitions were eliminated; some progress was made in uncovering the biological weapons program; and all but 2 of 819 SCUD missiles were destroyed.  The new, tougher inspections regime now in place might not be able to disarm Iraq completely, since chemical and biological weapons are easily concealed, but it should be able to keep Iraq's biological and chemical weapons capabilities in check and prevent Iraq from the more serious threat of developing a nuclear weapons capability. Containment and deterrence of Iraq have also been relatively successful.  Because of deterrence, the arms embargo, UN control over Iraq's oil revenues, and the no fly zone, Iraq's military is a shell of its former self and is no longer a serious threat to its neighbors. 

Obviously, more must be done.  Existing efforts to contain and deter Iraq, and the new inspections regime could be augmented by tighter enforcement of the arms embargo and the ban on unauthorized oil exports.28  While it is important that the Iraqi government not be allowed to use oil revenues to rebuild its military, the morally intolerable economic sanctions, which have caused so much death and suffering for so many years, need to be much more narrowly focused, so that they no longer threaten the lives and livelihood of ordinary Iraqis.

Finally, these efforts of enforcement, containment and deterrence against Iraq must be part of a much more serious global effort to strengthen the non-proliferation regime based on the principle of mutual restraint.  Improved intelligence, expansion of the cooperative threat reduction program, stricter controls on export of missiles and weapons technology, improved enforcement of the biological and chemical weapons conventions, and fulfillment of U.S. commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are some elements of this broader non-proliferation effort.

IV. Conclusion

September 11th has dramatically changed the way our country thinks about war and peace. The world has changed.  The threat of mass terrorism by global terrorist networks is no longer just a thing of the latest Hollywood thriller or some arcane Pentagon war game; it is a reality that must be dealt with.  But much of what has changed is not the world but our perceptions of the world.  Because the unimaginable happened, we have, not surprisingly, become radically risk averse in our assessment and tolerance of threats around the world. 

Iraq is Exhibit A. The threat from Iraq has not changed in the past year, yet it no longer seems incredible to believe that, just maybe, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction might be used against us and we cannot wait, as Bush administration officials have said, until we see the mushroom cloud to act against this threat.  Based on available information, however, there is no new evidence, no new precipitating event, no new threatening actions by the Iraqi government, no new reason to go to war that did not exist one, two, four, or even six years ago.  It is entirely legitimate to ask, therefore: Why now?  What is the basis for claiming a unilateral right to use preventive force to overthrow the Iraqi regime?  What would be the consequences for Iraq, the Middle East, and international relations? 

As the bishops make clear, there are no easy answers to these and other questions.  As religious leaders, the bishops offer a moral framework that can contribute to the formation of a community of conscience and can inform the momentous decisions being taken about possible war against Iraq.  These decisions are especially consequential because they could set a precedent and justify a strategic doctrine that would weaken existing moral norms in unnecessary and inappropriate ways.  The heavy burden is on those advocating the use of force to provide clear and convincing moral justification before the power of the world's preeminent military is unleashed on Iraq.


  1. This essay was written in conjunction with a symposium entitled, "Would An Invasion of Iraq be a Just War?"  The symposium, held on December 17, 2002, in Washington, D.C., was sponsored by the Religion and Peacemaking Initiative of the U.S. Institute of Peace.  The essay uses the public statements of the United States Catholic Bishops on Iraq as a starting point for developing my own moral argument on the use of force against Iraq.

    National Security Strategy of the United States, 2002, p. 9.

  2. S. Brooks & W. Wohlforth, "American Primacy in Perspective," Foreign Affairs (July/ August 2002).

  3. Cf. Ibid.

  4. National Security Strategy of the United States, 2002, pp. 9-10.  The Administration uses the term "preemptive" force but, as I argue in section II, "preventive" force is a more apt description of what is contemplated.

  5. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Statement on Iraq," November 13, 2002.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Jean Bethke Elshtain, "A Just War?" Boston Globe, October 6, 2002, p. H4.

  8. James Turner Johnson, "Using Military Force Against the Saddam Hussein Regime: The Moral Issues," Essay based on remarks to the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, December 4, 2002.

  9. Michael Walzer, "No Strikes," The New Republic Online, September 30, 2002, p. 3.

  10. Michael Dobbs, "North Korea Tests Bush's Policy of Preemption," Washington Post, January 6, 2003, pp. A1, A9.

  11. "Cardinal Ratzinger Says Unilateral Attack on Iraq Not Justified," ZENIT News Agency, September 22, 2002.

  12. Maryann Cusimano Love, "Real Prevention: Alternatives to Force," America, forthcoming.

  13. J. Bryan Hehir, "The Moral Measurement of War: A Tradition of Change and Continuity," Paper for the Conference "The Sacred and the Sovereign," University of Chicago Divinity School, October 20, 2000.

  14. Cf. John Langan, "Should We Attack Iraq," America, September 9, 2002, p. 10.

  15. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Living with Faith and Hope after September 11th," November 2001.

  16. Jean Bethke Elshtain, "A Just War?" Boston Globe, October 6, 2002, p. H4.

  17. Pope John Paul II, "Address to the International Conference on Nutrition," Origins 22:28 (December 24, 1992), p. 475.

  18. D. Christiansen, S.J., and G. Powers, "The Duty to Intervene: Ethics and the Varieties of Humanitarian Intervention," in E. Abrams, ed., Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense, and 'Just War' Today (Washington, D.C.: Ethics & Public Policy Center, 1998), pp. 183-208.

  19. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, "The Harvest of Justice Is Sown In Peace," November 1993.

  20. Johnson, "Using Military Force Against the Saddam Hussein Regime: The Moral Issues."

  21. Jessica Mathews, "A New Approach: Coercive Inspections," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002.

  22. Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Interview with La Repubblica, December 23, 2002, quoted in John Thavis, "Vatican official calls on world community to avert U.S.-Iraqi war," Catholic News Service, December 23, 2002.


  24. In a letter from CIA Director George J. Tenet to Senator Bob Graham (D-FLA) of October 7, 2002, Tenet acknowledges that Saddam Hussein "would be much less constrained" than he now is in using chemical or biological weapons if a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred.

  25. Johnson, "Using Military Force Against the Saddam Hussein Regime: The Moral Issues."

  26. Drew Christiansen, S.J., "'Never Again War': The Presumption Against the Use of Force in Contemporary Catholic Social Teaching and the Diplomacy of the Holy See," unpublished paper, p. 23.

  27. National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, December 2002.

  28. Peter Bouckaert, "Iraq: Civilians Could Pay a High Price," Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2002.

  29. For a list of specific options, see D. Cortright, G. Lopez, A. Miller, Winning Without War: Sensible Security Options for Dealing with Iraq (Notre Dame Joan B. Kroc Institute and Fourth Freedom Forum, October 2002).

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