Sunday, February 21, 2010
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"Craig White analyzes the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq in terms of the moral justification for war, a topic too often treated superficially at best in our foreign policy establishment. With wars ongoing, and many advocating more wars, we would do well to look to Mr. White's work to see what light the Just War Theory sheds on some of the most momentous decisions we face."
"Craig White has written an exhaustively well-documented, scrupulously balanced, deeply scholarly consideration of the justice of the Iraq war, informed by the professional insights of a career diplomat. The work exemplifies intellectual courage and a profound love of country while finding the best attempts to justify the Iraq war egregiously defective. White dispassionately unmasks folly masquerading as perennial wisdom, willfulness as virtue, and pettiness as gravitas. What a pity that the sober judgment found in this book was lacking in those leaders given the crisis and opportunity presented by 9/11. History does not doom us to its repetition if we but avail ourselves of the perceptive insights White here offers us."
—Thomas Cavanaugh, University of San Francisco
"The tragic strategic, economic, and humanitarian consequences of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have long been apparent. Craig White does an important service in taking a comprehensive evaluation of the critical underlying issue of the morality of the invasion itself, specifically its failure to meet widely accepted criteria for a just war. As a career diplomat, White recognizes that such questions are of great importance not only to theologians and philosophers, but also to policy makers and ordinary citizens. He makes his case in a thorough and convincing manner."
—Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco
In Iraq: The Moral Reckoning Craig M. White applies classic just war theory to the U.S. decision to go to war in 2003. This theory, to which the Bush administration and its supporters referred both indirectly and directly in making a pro-war case to the world, provides three core moral criteria for a just war: sovereign authority, just cause, and right intention (which includes an aim of peace). Furthermore, there are three practical criteria that must also be considered: proportionality of ends, last resort, and reasonable chance of success. For each criterion, White painstakingly weighs statements by the Bush administration and its supporters against evidence available at the time. After considering a wide range of viewpoints and evidence, White concludes that each criterion, except sovereign authority, was not met. By demonstrating a comprehensive application of the just war theory to one specific war, Iraq: The Moral Reckoning not only sets a new standard for evaluating the 2003 Iraq war but also shows how present and future wars can be better evaluated in moral and practical terms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Craig M. White is Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius.