Since the goal of a just war is to restore a political condition of peace and justice, and since allowing a just war is always a mournful concession to the reality of injustice, a country that wins a war has post-bellum obligations to advance the common good within the losing nation and among the community of nations. It has the moral duty to make up for the damage it has caused, even if it was justified in causing that damage. (Note that the idea of a "just" war is not that war is a good in itself, but that it is justified in exceptional circumstances.)
We have to do our best to help our country do right by Iraq. We have to stay informed and be unwilling to accept simplistic answers from our politicians. The better of the bad options will keep changing as events unfold. But for now, I say, this is no time to leave, but it is high time to redeploy.
Reprint information was granted by The Journal of Lutheran Ethics for this article as it originally appeared in the August 2007 issue.
Stiltner, Brian, "What are America’s Obligations to Iraq after an Unjust War?" (2007). Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies Faculty Publications. 2.
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