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By Thomas Cushman

Present debate over the factors, ideological justifications, and results of the struggle with Iraq were strident and polarizing. a question of precept is the 1st quantity accumulating severe voices from all over the world to provide an alternate point of view at the winning pro-war and anti-war positions. The contribu-tors--political figures, public intellectuals, students, church leaders, and activists--represent the main strong perspectives of liberal internationalism. supplying substitute positions that problem the established order of either the left and the suitable, those essays declare that, even with the inconsistent justifications supplied by means of the us and its allies and the conflict-ridden means of social reconstruction, the warfare in Iraq has been morally justifiable since Saddam Hussein used to be a brutal tyrant, a flagrant violator of human rights, a strength of world instability and terror, and a danger to global peace. The authors talk about the restrictions of the present method of worldwide governance, which tolerates gross violations of human rights and which has did not hinder genocide in locations equivalent to Bosnia and Rwanda. additionally they underscore the necessity for reform in overseas associations and foreign legislation. even as, those essays don't unavoidably try and express regret for the blunders, blunders, and deceptions within the means the Bush management has dealt with the warfare. Disputing the concept that the one actual liberal place at the battle is to be opposed to it, this quantity charts a useful 3rd direction, a course made up our minds through a robust liberal dedication to human rights, cohesion with the oppressed, and a company stand opposed to fascism, totalitarianism, and tyranny.

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Extra resources for A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

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As noted earlier, most of the authors came to their own arguments in defense of the war based on a critical examination of the positions of their own ideological group. These essays serve as documentary evidence that there is no one politically correct leftliberal position on the war and that there is room enough in that space for articulation and toleration of dissenting arguments. The fourth section of this volume, “European Dimensions,” presents the views of four European commentators on European dimensions of 24 THOMAS CUSHMAN the war.

But I have never heard a persuasive argument that it was wrong to try or that any feasible alternative was in prospect. If what was done was too little or poorly executed (and I write as one who could not easily name a mistake that the Bush administration has failed to make), then it must be borne in mind that there is a yet more severe criticism: that nothing was done at all until it was almost too late. One cannot decently forget the dozen years consumed by the locusts between 1991 and 2003.

Baathist ideology as manifest in Saddam’s regime recalled the fascist and Nazi past in other ways as well. It rested on an ideology of subordination of individuals to the interest of the whole nation; celebrations of violence and force as higher qualities of genuine manhood; destruction of all opposition political parties and a free press as divisive forces; constant mobilization against enemies—real and imagined, foreign and domestic—through total control of the press and media; a massive secret police apparatus that enforced even the slightest dissent with terror and that left behind an estimated three hundred thousand corpses in mass graves; elimination of all debate and discussion within the government, which thus left national decisions to the whim of one increasingly ill-informed man; perception of the external world through paranoid and conspiratorial visions laced with radical anti-Semitism; 42 JEFFERY HERF launching of two wars that led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives that revealed grave miscalculations; and the first use of chemical weapons in modern history by a government against its own citizens, the Kurds in northern Iraq.

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