The reasonable possibility of the situation getting worse [in Iraq] rather than better should have given humanitarian advocates for war, like myself, greater pause. For me at that time, this humanitarian motive bolstered what was weak in the weapons argument, and vice versa. But now I realize that a partial case for war because of the weapons risk and a partial case for war under humanitarian reasons don't add up to an air-tight case for just war. Each of the causes proffered has to be reasonable with little doubt-something like 90 to 95 percent certain-and they can't be undermined by other just war criteria. And so, while I think a humanitarian intention for the war was ethically sound, a war on a humanitarian or any other grounds wouldn't be correct if the civilians of Iraq were likely to be worse-off afterward.
Reprint information was granted by The Journal of Lutheran Ethics for this article as it originally appeared in the March 2006 issue.
Stiltner, B. (2006). Rethinking the Iraq War. Journal of Lutheran Ethics, 6(3). Retrieved from https://www.elca.org/JLE/Articles/611
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