Ethical Implications of the War in Iraq

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Ethical Implications of the War in Iraq: A Consequentialist Perspective
The purpose of this paper is to argue that there was no humanitarian cause for the invasion of Iraq. I agree with Ken Roth’s analysis that the war in Iraq was not for humanitarian purposes and I would subsidize my reasoning with Peter Singer’s ideas of utilitarianism and consequentialism. I will first look at Ken Roth’s analysis; secondly I will analyze Peter Singer’s argument and apply it to Ken Roth’s analysis. Finally, I will synthesize my position with the previous analysis and argument to prove my thesis.

Roth begins his analysis by questioning whether or not the Iraq war was a humanitarian venture. In order to do so he needs to have a definition of the Iraq war and the definition of a humanitarian venture. The first is relatively easy to come by. The Iraq war was defined in terms of September 11th, prior to that, it had been primarily ventures of the 90’s and only intervening in the case of mass slaughter (Roth 1). He then defines what it means to have a humanitarian intervention. In the case of Roth, the Iraq war is fundamentally different of the humanitarian interventions of the 90’s and of course that leads him to question whether it was a fundamentally humanitarian venture in the first place. This is where he provides a definition of humanitarian intervention: In our view, as a threshold matter, humanitarian intervention that occurs without the consent of the relevant government can be justified only in the face of ongoing or imminent genocide, or comparable mass slaughter or loss of life. To state the obvious, war is dangerous. In theory it can be surgical, but the reality is often highly destructive, with a risk of enormous bloodshed. Only large-scale murder, we believe, can justify the death, destruction, and disorder that so often are inherent in war and its aftermath. Other forms of tyranny are deplorable and worth working intensively to end, but they do not in our view...
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