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Saturday, May 03, 2008

War in Iraq

The Platforms currently, in the presidential race, are pull our troops out now, pull our troops out over the course of a few months and finally leave a permanent presence in Iraq. The purpose of this blog is to decide which of these is the best policy approach. Stealing some information from Power and Prosperity one fundamentally point is that those who rule have the greatest capacity for violence. This implies that until the greatest capacity for violence is achieved then a power struggle will result. Therefore only countries with a government, that has this capacity, will be stable. It doesn’t help to decide who or what actions to take, or any moral/normative stance should be used. This leaves us with three basic models: Liberty, Economic Efficiency, and Just and Unjust War (or the social contract). Economic Efficiency, in this case, will defer to the government to provide security and mandates that that government has the greatest capacity for violence, and will, therefore, be ignored because it doesn’t help try to figure this situation out. Liberty could come into play in this case. When trying to figure out liberty, though, we must ask who is counted in the liberty perceptive. If the people of the United States are the only counted then it reverts to the constitution. The constitution states the US may enter and exit war through an act of congress to be executed by the president. This doesn’t, to my opinion, result in much clarity over our choices. Anyone of the choices is the same moral level as any other. This leaves Just and Unjust War theory (Walzer). A theory based upon Social Contract Theory.
The act of going to war. Self defense and the defense of others seem to be the only acceptable acts of war. Any aggression seems to be prohibited morally. One except is a preemptive strike, but this option needs to be where the states survival is at stake, and doesn’t allow a state to enter war to prevent possible future attacks, but must be an attack that is likely to follow in the very near term (certainly less than one year and must likely less than a few months). Therefore, if the US plans to go to war it must be for the defense of either its self or of another state fighting a defensive war. To review the Iraq case the government wasn’t a direct threat, even in the long run, to US security and wasn’t currently engaged in any wars of aggression. This leaves to option of the people of Iraq and the poor government of Iraq.
Self defense for others. If a person is outside a bar and is jumped by a group of people one could engage the group of people in the defense of the other; however, does one ever have to engage into the defense? No, if one had to engage into the action then the act of heroism would be a nonsensical meaning. Also, since my direct liberty is not in jeopardy and I don’t know the circumstances of the attack, it may be that that man murdered one of the groups children. This might be a case of vigilantism and would call the police to set a correct response, but by jumping into the fray I may in fact be condoning the actions of the man being jumped. This leads to the Iraqi people. From the outside it looks as though a section of the population is being treated unfairly, but however unjust this appears we don’t have a necessary condition for defense unless genocide is taking place. I freely admit that I am not expert on Iraq, but there doesn’t seem to be a case for genocide Iraq, and no moral imperative about entering. Yes people were dying unjustly to their government, but most people viewed themselves better off with the dictator than they would otherwise be. So, this leaves that a self defense of the people argument without teeth; yes one could argue for the Invasion, but it isn’t as clear of a case.
This the leads to the occupation. The going to war part was on shaky ground this leaves the fighting of the war and occupation to complete the analysis. Our are methods or conduct just? The war and invasion used the military power against another military power (regardless of how small), and ended when the other army was soundly defeated. The occupation, however, presents different challenges. There is no longer an army to fight, in fact the army there now is with the US forces. This leaves only one thing left; fighting an insurgency. The US military is then, de facto, the police power of the state of Iraq. The US military has no social contract with the people of Iraq and doesn’t achieve its legitimacy from the Iraqi people, instead it achieves its legitimacy from the US. This leaves one argument left. The greatest capacity for violence. The US military has some capacity for violence and currently maybe is the greatest, but it is only temporary. Therefore, its capacity (constricted by the people, congress and president) is lowered because it is know that is force won’t be the final with the greatest capacity for violence. This leaves the US to put pressure on the Iraqi government and army to show the greatest capacity for violence, but it can’t show that capacity without removing US troops and seeing who arrives as the victory.
If civil conflict will bring out who has the greatest capacity for violence then maybe the US can stack the deck. Train troops, console the government, diplomacy with the neighboring states, and money. These options will limit the amount of social strife and allow the state to assert its power over the people to force the disbanding of militias and Al Queda. Therefore, it is my assertion that a pull out of US troops the quicker the better, or the STATED policy of the US of permanent presence are the only ways out. If the US is unwilling, either at home or aboard, of stating permanent occupation then the only option left is a quick withdraw to lower troop causalities and allow the Iraqi state to limit the scope of its civil strife.

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