The Right Coast

January 26, 2005
Self-Defence and the War in Iraq
By Maimon Schwarzschild

The Catholic intellectual Michael Novak writes a strong defence of the Iraq war, on traditional self-defence grounds among others, in the Summer 2004 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. (The Journal's articles are not online, alas, and its website can best be described as embryonic.)

Says Novak:
[T]he canons of self-defense put forth in the U.N. Charter, as former President Cossiga of Italy recently pointed out, sufficiently established the moral legitimacy of the removal of Saddam Hussein from power by the Coalition of the Willing. The alternative was to leave in place a major supporter of world terrorism against the United States and other nations, a particularly cruel tyrant over his own people, a bellicose, destabilizing threat to his immediate neighbors, and a leader ordered by the United Nations (in vain) both to destroy his known weapons of mass destruction and to provide proof that he had done so.
Novak's argument has subtlety and depth. Stop by the periodical room and read it when you have the chance: "Just Peace and the Asymmetric Threat: National Self-Defense in Uncharted Waters" by Michael Novak, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, vol 27 no 3, Summer 2004, p. 817 - 841.