Since time immemorial, wars have been fought in different parts of the world for different reasons. However, for whatever reason these wars are waged, people have to be careful as to justify their reasons for going to war. Based on St. Augustine’s reasons for waging war, this paper will discuss whether America was justified or not justified to wage war on Iraq.
St Augustine of hippo was the first Christian theologian to try to find out the reason for waging legitimate wars. He held that for a war to be just, it must have authority and deliberation from a leader and must be waged as a last resort (Mattox, 2009). Looking at the Iraqi war from this perspective, it can be concluded that the war on Iraq was justified, since it was decided by leaders of two great nations that is the United States and Britain under their leaders George W. Bush and Tony Blair. They decide to go invade Iraq in search for weapons of mass destruction. This was done as a preventive measure to stop Iraq from using these weapons and causing unimaginable destruction.
Before going to war, all available peaceful, non violent solutions must be sought and exhausted completely before the use of force is applied. On the contrary, there was no search for peaceful solution to the problem of weapons of mass destruction, neither was there search for reasons as to why the bombings of the twin towers took place before America invaded Iraq (Bradley et al., 2002). Moreover, St. Augustine holds that a war is justified only if it is fought in order to attain peace. Peace is not sought in order to provide war but war is waged in order to get peace. Other motives like the desire to harm, the desire to revenge, the restlessness and implacable mind, the hard heart of revolting, the lust to dominate, are some of things that are blamed for justification of war (Walzer, 2006). After the September 11th attacks, the U.S. government declared war on terrorism. It is apparent that the supposed weapons of mass destruction were not necessarily meant for terrorism activities. Therefore the United States was not just in waging war on Iraq in the name of the war on terror, because its reasons were not very genuine. It can be seen that the United States had other sinister motives like the desire for global leadership, and the urge to suppress their rivals in terms of economy and power (Bradley et al., 2002). It can also be seen that President Bush Misled U.S. citizens into believing that there was close complicity between the Saddam Hussein regime and the Al Qaeda terrorist group that killed over 3000 Americans in their bombing attacks. All these reasons, which were gives as the reason for waging war, were false. Therefore, the war was immoral in terms of just cause alone.
Augustine is also of the opinion that war can only be waged as a last resort and all non violent solutions should be considered before going to war (Mattox, 2009). Moreover, if a country decides to retaliate for the wrongs done to it by other countries, it should be done in a manner that redresses the injury done to it, for example, for self defense. Looking at the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. in this perspective, it can be seen that the war was unjustified since America had not been attacked in any way .They claimed to be searching for weapons, which they themselves owned, but did not want any other countries to own. It was supremely hypocritical and ironical for the American and British troops to use weapons of mass destruction on a destructive scale to search for non-existing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (Rigstad, nd).
The discourse above reveals that the main reason for going to war should to reestablish peace, which should have prevailed even before the war. Ordinary citizens of a nation should never be targets or be attacked as military targets and the weapons should be differentiated between the combats and non combats. From the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration and Tony Blair we can say that it was very ironical and hypocritical because the British and American soldiers used weapons of mass destruction themselves in their quest to search for non existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (Walzer, 2006). As much as it is required that the number of civilian casualties is minimal, the weapons used by the USA killed so many innocent civilians, their animals and destroyed their property. From this, it can be concluded that the war on terror and the effort by the United States to search for weapons of mass destruction was not justified because they did not follow the tenets of war as discussed by St. Augustine, before their invasion.