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    Cushman, Thomas 2008. Thinking About Human Rights During the Iraq War: Toward a Cartography of the Cognition of Western “Thought Communities”. Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 7, Issue. 1, p. 52.

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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: August 2009

3 - The Human Rights Case for the War in Iraq: A Consequentialist View

Summary

“It may well be that under international law, a regime can systematically brutalize and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail.”

Tony Blair

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a moral and ethical defense of the war in Iraq. The principal argument of this defense is that the war – while probably illegal from the point of view of most bodies of statutory international law – was morally defensible in its overall consequence: it has objectively liberated a people from an oppressive, long-standing tyranny; destroyed an outlaw state that was a threat to the peace and security of the Middle East and the larger global arena in which terrorists operated, sponsored materially and ideologically by Iraq; brought the dictator Saddam Hussein to justice for his genocides and crimes against humanity; prevented the possibility of another genocide by a leader who has already committed this crime against his own subjects; restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people; laid the foundation for the possibility of Iraq becoming a liberal republic; created the conditions for the entrance of this republic as a bona fide member into what John Rawls termed the “Society of Peoples”; and opened up the possibility for the citizens of Iraq to claim, as autonomous agents, those human rights guaranteed to them by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, but denied to them by the very mechanisms of international law that are supposed to be the formal guarantors of such rights.

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Human Rights in the 'War on Terror'
  • Online ISBN: 9780511511288
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511511288
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