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Prepare case analysis of the Invasion of Iran case. You are required to have a minimum of 5 academic scholarly journal articles on decision making to support your opinions and analysis of the case decisions. Strong ties from your analysis to decision making theories and concepts below are also expected.

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Case Study: Iran and the United States Few nations have relationships as troubled as Iran and the US. Today, whether it comes to international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, fossil fuels, the United Nations or the Middle East Peace Process, there are few global issues where the strained relation between the US and Iran are not clearly felt. As a result, there are few instances where cultural diplomacy is more desperately needed. In this regard, it has become absolutely vital to arrive at a clear understanding of the relations between these two nations. What follows is a case study of precisely that. The study will begin with a brief summary of the past and present relations of Iran and the US including attempts to reach a dialogue. The case study will then conclude with an analysis of the situation and some suggestions for future endeavors Introduction to Iranian and US Relations The US and Iran severed official diplomatic relations following the turmoil of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and currently have no official relations. However, it was not always so. Ambassador exchanges began in the mid-1800s and during the Second World War ties were cemented as Iran collaborated with the Allies allowing the transportation of war material through Iran to the beleaguered Russians in the Caucasus region. As the Cold War Developed, US Iranian ties depended; the US sought further Iranian cooperation in containing communism in Asia while on Iran received military and economic support and enjoyed Western technological assistance in exploiting its oil wealth. At this time, cultural, military, economic and political relations ran deep. Yet, it was precisely in this context that US-Iranian relations grew then ultimately withered. The Iranian perspective. Iran could be considered a fiercely anti-American nation. Antagonism to the US occupies a central role in the daily political, and in many cases, the social fabric of Iran. This animosity has its sources in previous decades and revolves around two main themes; opposition to US intrusion into domestic Iranian affairs and what Iran considers to be US aggression. 1 The CIA/UK orchestrated coup that removed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953 is one example of US interference in Iranian affairs. Additionally, Iran accuses the US of fostering rebellion in Iran through funding and support of antigovernment groups in Iran. The Free Life Party of Kurdistan (Kurdish) and the Jundallah (Balochi) are two militant nationalist movements that Iran has long charged the United 1, retrieved April 29, 2010 States with funding.2 In addition, Iran charges that the US has played a role in the demonstrations against the 2010 Presidential elections in Iran Military aggression is another issue that lies at the top of Iran’s list of grievances. During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) most of the world’s nations supported moderate Iraq against radical Iran. Yet Iran resents the US support of Iran’s enemy during this war in particular. Specifically, Iran continues to carry a grudge over the US supplying Iraq with the chemical weapons it used during the war. 3 Adding fuel to the fire, in July of 1988, US guided missile Cruiser the USS Vincennes on station in the Persian Gulf mistakenly shot down Iranian Airlines flight 655 killing 290. The US maintains the downing was a case of mistaken identity with the Iranians considering it a deliberate act of war and another example of US aggression. A final major sticking point is the economic sanctions that the US has placed on Iran. Starting under the Carter administration, the US has steadily increased its sanctions regime in place. These sanctions prohibit the transfer of much-needed military and petroleum technology as well as prohibiting US companies and individuals from investing in or doing business with Iranian nationals and companies.4 In short, in Iranian political thought, anti-American sentiments run deep. The list of grievances is long; foreign intervention, coups, military aggression, support of Iraq and not to mention a perceived political disrespect for the Iran itself and accusations of American attempts of global hegemony. Recently a senior Iranian diplomat summed up the Iranian view, “Our biggest problem with the U.S. is its arrogance. The United States thinks itself the commander in chief of the entire world and thinks it has the right to dictate to everyone what to do and how to act. That's arrogant and disrespectful. We reject this.” These are the major issues that lie at the center of Iranian and US relations.5 The American Perspective Despite the cooperation of the 40s, 50s and 60s, it was the overthrow of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and the subsequent 444-day hostage crisis which severed American and Iranian relations. However, according to the United States, tensions with Iran are perpetuated by Iran’s current conduct rather than events that occurred 30 years ago. Today it’s Iran’s nuclear program and support for international terrorism, which the US considers to be one of the major the obstacles to the resumption of USIran relations.6 2, retrieved April, 28, 2010.,retrieved April 21, 2010 4, retrieved February 27, 2010 5,retrieved March 29, 2010 6,retrieved April 21, 2010 3 Currently, Iran’s nuclear program might be the single greatest impediment to the resumption of US-Iranian relations. According to the US, Iran has been developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program under the guise of an effort to acquire atomic energy. Iran contends that their program is peaceful. Nevertheless, the US sites a series of inconsistencies and failure to meet AEIA requirements. This case is currently being played out. Iran’s alleged support for international terrorism is another major point of contention. According to the US Department of State, the government of Iran is a Designated State Sponsor of Terrorism. This means that Iran provides support for groups who target civilians for political goals.7 For the most part, this support amounts to the arming, funding, training, or providing sanctuary to those groups. The United States alleges that Iran supports terrorism primarily through its proxies, two well-known ones being Hezbollah and Hamas. Inside Iran there is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) which the US also is considering labeling a terrorist organization do to its provision of terrorist training and support to groups active in areas such as Georgia, Chechnya, the Balkans and the wider Middle East.8 Furthermore, the United States charges Iran with supporting groups that have committed terrorist attacks upon the US specifically. Two such cases are; the April 1983, bombing of a US Embassy in Beirut with a loss of over 60 lives and the October 1983, suicide bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut with a loss of 299 lives. The US believes Iran to be responsible for planning and coordination these attacks and civil cases have been brought against Iran.9 In American eyes, Iran’s support for international terrorism, its nuclear weapons program and its vitriolic anti-Western policy creates a ‘perfect storm’ which the US simply cannot ignore. Iran-US Relations: Missed Opportunities As the open military clashes of the 1980s subsided each side entrenched themselves and a type of Cold War developed. As a result, Iranian and American relations are difficult to outline as they did not follow a linear path. Often disagreements ran parallel to breakthroughs. Additionally, on both sides, regular changes in Presidents and global issues have left both nations with a somewhat incoherent strategy to each other. However, as the Twentieth Century closed each nation seemed to be sending out feelers in order to gauge the chances of a re-establishment of relations on their own terms. Khatami, Clinton and Bush The 1990s saw a slight thawing of relations between the two nations. This was possible largely in part due to the election of Mohamed Khatami in 1996. Viewed by many as a 7 Raphael F. Perl, “Terrorism, the Future and US Foreign Policy”. Issue Brief: 95112, Congressional Research Service, Washington D.C. (December 9, 1996). Retrieved, April 13, 2010 8, retrieved April 28, 2010 9,6471412, retrieved April 5 , 2010 moderate reformer, Khatami made peace overtures to the United States.10 For example, in an interview with CNN’s Christianne Amanpour, Khatami proposed cultural exchanges between the US and Iran hoping to the ‘crack the wall of mistrust’.11 The United States accepted this offer and the two nations began hosting athletic-based cultural exchanges beginning in 1996.12 Around the same time, the US also lifted some of the sanctions on Iran and US Secretary of State Madeline Albright invited Iranian diplomats to ‘draw up a road map to normalized relations’. As the cultural exchanges continued, Albright publicly described the US’s role in the 1953 coup as ‘regrettable’.13 In 2005, Khatami ran for election but lost to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Amadinejad and Bush Anyone familiar with the Presidencies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George W. Bush will not be surprised to learn that US-Iranian relations did not improve markedly during their terms in office. Perhaps the first indication of this trend was Bush’s now infamous Axis of Evil speech that he gave in 2002 while Khatami was still President of Iran. During this speech Bush directly identified Iran, due to its support of terrorism and nuclear ambitions, as being a clear threat to international security, labeling them a member of an ‘axis of evil’.14 Many analysts suggest this speech dealt a death-blow to the nascent reform movement in Iran.15 As strange as it might seem, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq actually brought the US and Iran closer. On some level, it has obligated the US to recognize (perhaps tacitly) that Iran is a regional power and ultimate success in Iraq or Afghanistan will only be achieved with Iranian cooperation.16 In April of 2003, at the outset of the war with Iraq, Iran approached the United States with what is now known as the “Grand Bargain”.17 This offer was officially presented through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran which represents US interests in Iran. Iran sought; a lifting of the crippling US sanctions, diplomatic recognition of Iran, discontinuation of the US funding of domestic Iranian opposition groups and an end to the US policy of regime change in Iran.18 In return, Iran offered to accept a two-state solution regarding Israel and Palestine, to reduce the funding of what the US considered terrorist organizations, pledged cooperation with the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and finally offered to enter into a Persian Gulf security 10, retrieved April 12, 2010 12, retrieved April 4, 2010 13, retrieved April 26, 2010 14, retrieved April, 26, 2010 15, April 12, 2010 16, retrieved March 19, 2010 17, retrieved March 20, 2010 18, retrieved March 20, 2010 11 agreement which, in theory, would have voluntarily brought an end to Iran’s nuclear program. The diplomats involved met and the US believed the offer to be sincere. They then passed a report on to Colin Powell, then Secretary of State, who agreed the offer was significant but rejected it as “a non-starter”. The Hawks in the Whitehouse ignored the offer as they felt it made no real concessions on the issues the US deemed significant.19 It is therefore surprising that in May of 2006, Iranian president Amadinejad again sent a letter to US President George W. Bush suggesting a meeting where both could discuss Iran’s nuclear program.20 In September of the same year, Ahmadinejad challenged Bush to a debate at the United Nations. Both offers were considered publicity stunts and as they, again, made no clear concessions on the necessary issues, were rejected by the US. White house representative quipped, “No, there will be no steel-cage grudge match between Bush and Ahmadinejad.”21 At the end of the Bush administration relations remained hostile. Present To many people the 2008 election of Barak Obama to the United States Presidency signaled a shift in American foreign policy. While this remains to be seen Obama has undoubtedly changed the tone. Obama declared meeting and negotiating with Iran as one of his campaign platforms.22 More recently Obama has poetically verbalized the obstinate American position of in his first interview as US President symbolically given to Middle Eastern News Agency stating, “"If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”23 In short, from the American perspective, the names might have changed but the game has not. Regardless of Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory message to Obama upon his election, the Iranian position also remains unchanged.24 Another senior Iranian diplomat answered a question about potential negotiations between the US and Iran, “Our idea of negotiation is mutual respect. They should know by now that they can't impose their will on Iran. If they don't change their attitude then negotiations are meaningless. If America wasn't arrogant, they would send an answer to Mr. Ahamdinejad's congratulatory letter to President Obama. Manners dictate that when someone says hello you answer them back.” 25 19, April 25, 2010, retrieved April 19, 2010 21 Vick, Karl. "No Proposals in Iranian's Letter to Bush, U.S. Says." The Washington Post. Retrieved 29-10-2006. "No 'steel-cage, grudge match' between Bush, Ahmadinejad." CNN. Retrieved 10-01-2007. 22, retrieved April 9, 2010 23 retrieved, may 3, 2010 24, retrieved April 2, 2010. 25, retrieved April 22, 2010 20 From their perspective, Obama’s election has not brought any apparent changes in policy or behavior as well. Analysis In light of the long past and repeated, albeit half-hearted, attempts to establish a dialogue one must ask why these two nations have remained so hostile. The answer lies less in the past as one might think. In the case of Iran it is a matter of path dependency and ambiguity. For the US it’s a matter of not backing down and surrendering a powerful position. In both cases, a lack of trust is a central theme. In Iran, anti-Americanism has become such an integral part of policy that changing course is nearly impossible. The Islamic Republic was founded upon a perception of American aggression and perpetuating that perception of aggression is key to the regime’s legitimacy. As long as tensions between with the US remain, the Islamic Regime has legitimacy and power. As Robert Litwak has observed, “Hostility to the US has been a central plank of the revolutionary platform and sometimes appears to be the Revolution’s only platform Deprived of this, radicals would have to devise another enemy, another excuse, or possibly even a program…Normalization implies that Iran would be a country like any other, losing its Revolutionary mission. The more pragmatic Iran becomes, the less ideology will exercise a hold on its citizens. The clerical regime would then lose its power and control over the country.”333 Further, the internal mechanisms of the Iranian government means that foreign policy goals are always subordinate to domestic political wrangling. The underlying problem, says Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations, is, "There's been a breakdown in the country's foreign policy machinery. Iran doesn't have a foreign policy right now. It has domestic politics, and its foreign policies are just a sporadic expression of that. It's not sinister; it's not duplicitous; it's just incompetent."26 In this regard, not knowing who is calling the shots and when makes diplomatic relations elusive leaving America unable to engage Iran with effective diplomacy. Furthermore, in terms of international relations, Iran’s position and demands can be described as ambiguous. For example, Iran has, on many occasions, provided list of grievances requiring apologies such as the 1953 coup, the Vincennes incident and the Iran Iraq War. However, as mentioned, the US has on occasion already publicly apologized, expressed regret or provided compensation for such incidents. For example, in 1996 a 61.8 million dollar settlement was reached under the International Court of 26, retrieved April 3, 2010 Justice regarding the Iran Air tragedy yet Iran still demands an apology and reparations.27. Making matters more complicated, the Iranian government often objects to matters that have little bearing on international relations. For example, in the Hollywood film The Wrestler an actor portraying a professional wrestler destroys an Iranian flag during a show. The Iranian government has objected to this calling it ‘psychological warfare’, a somewhat odd accusation considering the government sponsored anti-American propaganda that permeates much of Iranian society.28 This idiosyncratic approach to foreign policy seems to be a legitimate, perhaps contrived, obstacle to an effective dialogue between the two nations. On the other hand, the United States seems to be asking a great deal from Iran with very few guarantees. The disagreement over Iran’s nuclear program is an excellent example of this dynamic. The Islamic Regime has sensibly framed the nuclear issue as a national issue, in short, linking a nuclear program to national sovereignty. If the US is expecting Iran to surrender its nuclear program, it might be waiting a long time. Should Iran surrender its nuclear program, what guarantees do they have that such a move will be reciprocated? To solve this dilemma the US should, and is, seek sanctions in the United Nations. This would have the twofold effect of increasing the pressure on Iran as well as providing a mechanism for removing those sanctions once Iran has complied. A Case for Cultural Diplomacy In light of these dilemmas, one could suggest cultural diplomacy as an excellent tool in reestablishing relations. Cultural Diplomacy revolves around the themes of dialogue, understanding and trust, all lacking elements n Iran-US relations.29 However, between the citizens of each nation, feelings are far less belligerent. Recent polls show that 50% of Americans support establishing a dialogue with Iran while slightly more Iranians, 61%, support negotiations without preconditions. A further 73% of Americans supports the use of diplomacy to solve issues with Iran.30 Therefore, one must ask, “What are the real stumbling blocks to renewed relations?” At the Governmental level, renowned US-Iranian relations expert Dr. Houshang Amirahmadi summarizes it this way, “The gravest problem between Iran and the West is this issue of distrust between the two sides.”31 It would appear then that the political leaders and diplomats have too far entrenched themselves in their respective positions to allow for the flexibility required. Athletes, artists and students do not have these limitations and would represent the ideal cultural ambassadors. 27,3342625, retrieved April 2, 2010 28, retrieved, May 19, 2010 29, retrieved March 12, 2010 30, retrieved April 15, 2010 31 In this regard, the cultural exchanges initiated under the Clinton/Khatami administrations have borne fruit. Take the case of Hamed Ehadadi as an example. Ehadadi is an Iranian basketball player who visited the US on a State Department sponsored athletic exchange. While there he was noticed by National Basketball Association talent scouts who offered him a position on the Memphis Grizzlies Basketball team.32 Doing so was not easy as entering into contracts with Iranian nationals is prohibited under US sanctions regime, an example of the ability of private citizens to achieve where politicians cannot. Since joining the NBA, Ehadadi has served as a cultural ambassador and even meeting and shaking hands with an Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi. Another example is the frequent Greco-wrestling exchanges between Iran and the US that were also begun during the Clinton-Khatami period. These exchanges have gone a long way in simply establishing a dialogue upon which to foster understanding. During the exchanges, both Iranians and Americans take advantage of the off-mat time to meet their foreign counterparts and learn more about each other’s respective cultures. After a recent competition in 2007, member of the Iranian Junior Wrestling delegation, Abbas Ali Genii said, “this program has changed my outlook on the United States. I really felt the spirit of cooperation and friendship”.33 Yet athletics aren’t the only thing that can unite Iranians and Americans. In March of 2010, an American film delegation of actors and producers visited their Iranian counterparts.34 The visit was not without controversy, as Ahmadinejad’s cultural advisor demanded the delegation first apologize for negative depictions on Iran in American movies. Regardless, Hollywood Producer Sidney Ganis described the focus of his trip to Iran this way, “To communicate with our fellow meet, talk to, express, visit with, understand the problems of Iranian filmmakers, and express to them universal problems of filmmaking and just generally exchange ideas.” When asked about future possibilities of cooperation Ganis replied, “Well, we're ready to go, filmmakers to filmmakers. That's why we're here. We’re open; the Iranian filmmakers are also open, to even more mutual dialogue.”35 In closing, few nations have maintained their mutual animosity as Iran and the US have. Simply having conflicts is not a good enough explanation for thirty years of bitterness. Russia and Germany have cordial if not good relations; two of America’s strongest allies, Japan and Germany were at one time mortal enemies of the US. Something lies at the heart of the US-Iran issue. This study suggests that internal Iranian politics have combined to create a dynamic where re-establishing US relations amounts to political suicide as leader after leader use an anti-American slant to slander opponents. Additionally, the regime in Iran uses the threat of American intervention to maintain its control over many of its people. 32, retrieved April 15, 2010, retrieved march 12, 2010 34, retrieved march 23, 2010 35 33 At the same time, the US perpetuates the conflict simply because it can. As the world’s last superpower, there is little that Iran can do to compel the US’s behavior. Leadership in the US seems to take the position that the responsibility to make the first move rests solely on Iran; Obama’s ‘unclenched fist’ statement being a good example of this policy. In either case, governments have only succeeded to institutionalize disagreements. All of this works counter to what the people of each nation desire. Both sides have expressed a desire to conduct talks. In September of 2009, Iranian and US diplomats publicly met in Geneva Switzerland. While some suggest that these meeting have been conducted for years on an unofficial level, it does show a sincere attempt to discuss issues if not evidence of a new phase in Iranian-US relations. CASE STUDY THE IRAQ WAR OF 20031 Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez Youngstown State University Anticipatory self-defense, or preemption, must show “a necessity of self-defense . . . instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, 1837 THE MARCH TO WAR: FROM MISSILE DEFENSE TO PREEMPTIVE WAR Without the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, the war against Iraq would have been unthinkable. Even if some top officials of the Bush administration had already decided to remove Saddam Hussein independently of the terror attacks, the President would not have been able to find any support from the American people or its allies. The political will and the factual predicates essential to justify this war were simply nonexistent. In the aftermath of 9/11, however, the crucial question for the administration and the American people was what actions should be taken to defeat terrorism. This was not a question that had received any sustained consideration from the administration. Indeed, on 11 September 2001, Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to the President, was scheduled to deliver a speech at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In it she would address the security threats faced by the United States. But Rice never delivered the speech. Had she done so, Rice would have declared that the major security threat was long-range missiles. It is abundantly clear from more than a few speeches and interviews given by the President, the Vice President, and Rice that this was the administration’s focus. For example, in June 2001, at his first meeting with NATO leaders, Bush presented the top five defense issues facing this organization. Missile defense was at the top of the list. Terrorism by 59 60 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 Islamicist groups was not mentioned. On 2 August, at a news conference with Republican congressional leaders, Vice President Cheney said, “We’re fundamentally transforming the U.S. strategic relationship around the world as we look at missile defenses and modifications to our offensive strategic arms.” And on 9 September, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rice reported that the administration was prepared “to get serious about the business of dealing with the emergent threat. Ballistic missiles are ubiquitous now.” In April 2002, Rice returned to Johns Hopkins. This time the speech had little to say about missile defense. The focus was on international terrorism. “An earthquake of the magnitude of 9/11 can shift the tectonic plates of international politics,” she said.2 Between 9/11 and April 2002, the Bush administration was at work on a new strategic posture. The Cold War doctrines of deterrence by mutual assured destruction or counterforce response, and of containment of rogue states were designed to meet particular threat environments. While some of them remain, the threat of international terrorism by non-state groups, such as al-Qaida, presented a novel security challenge. On 1 June 2002, at a commencement speech at West Point, Bush announced the new national security strategy for the United States. “We will defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants . . . . And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent,” Bush declared. On 26 August, at a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, Tennessee, Cheney began to apply the new doctrine to Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he declared, is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons and enhancing his chemical and biological capabilities. We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons . . . . What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness . . . . Deliverable weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terror network or murderous dictator or the two working together constitutes as grave a threat as can be imagined. The risks of inaction are far greater than the risks of action. A little over a week later, Cheney went on “Meet the Press.” There he said he knew “for sure” and with “absolute certainty” that Hussein had “reconstituted his nuclear program.”3 Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 61 Finally, on 6 March 2003, a few days before the invasion of Iraq, Bush linked the war against Iraq with 9/11. Saddam is a threat, and we’re not going to wait until he does attack . . . . If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime . . . free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks. The attacks of September 11, 2001, showed what enemies of America did with four airplanes. We will not wait to see what . . . terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.4 Thus the war against Iraq would be a major front on the global war on terrorism. Once the two were linked, invading Iraq could be regarded as a preemptive war: Hussein would be defeated before he attacked us. The new doctrine was signed by Bush on 17 September 2002. It declares that the United States will act against . . . emerging threats before they are fully formed. [W]e will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists . . . . We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction . . . . We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries . . . . To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.5 THE CASE FOR PREEMPTION: STOCKPILES ANTICIPATORY SELF-DEFENSE OF WMDS AND The task of making the case for preemptive war to the international community fell on Colin Powell, Secretary of State.6 On 5 February 2003, in a highly anticipated event, Powell described to the Security Council of the United Nations in painstaking detail “what the United States knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction . . . . These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid evidence . . . . Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction pose . . . real and present dangers to the region and the world.”7 Those weapons included biological agents, e.g., anthrax and botulinum toxin in vast quantities, and mobile produc- 62 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 tion facilities. “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agents . . . . a massive clandestine nuclear weapons program . . . . [and] has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes [that] can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium.” Powell then described “the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network,” a “decades-long experience,” which coupled with Hussein’s stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, make for a “frightening future.” “We know,” Powell concluded, “that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction . . . . [G]iven what we know of his terrorist associations . . . . should we take the risk that he will not someday use these weapons at a time and in a manner of his choosing?”8 The case for preemptive war, the Bush administration thought, was clear and compelling. First, Hussein had not disarmed, he had instead increased his stockpile of banned weapons and developed a nuclear capability; second, he had used chemical weapons in the past, to repress the Kurds and during the war with Iran, and he might use them in the future; third, he had long-established ties with al-Qaida and other terrorist networks, and he could at any time supply them with WMDs to attack the U.S. and its allies; and fourth, to fight terrorism, we must transform Iraq into a stable, prosperous democracy that would lead to the democratization of other autocratic regimes in the Middle East. By its account, then, the Bush administration’s war against Iraq is just and necessary to (i) remove an imminent threat before it materializes and (ii) create the political conditions that lessen the appeal of terrorism. In March 2003, the United States, along with several other nations providing various levels of troops, launched the invasion of Iraq. It was an extraordinary military success. Iraqi forces gave no significant resistance, and within a short period of time Baghdad was occupied. Many Iraqi civilians greeted U.S. and Coalition forces as liberators and casualties were few. There was significant looting in Baghdad immediately following its occupation, but much less so in other parts of the country. On 1 May 2003, Bush declared that major military operations were over. The United States and its allies had prevailed. The “battle of Iraq is one victory in the war on terror that began on September 11, 2001 — and still goes on.” He then added: The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an al-Qaida ally, and cut off a Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 63 source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more. In this 19 months [since 9/11] that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense . . . . With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got.9 The mission now was to secure the ground, rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure, and establish the political conditions necessary for a constitutional democracy. POSTWAR FACTS: NO WMDS, NO THREAT, NO LINKS TO AL-QAIDA A few months into the occupation of Iraq, pre-war assertions about weapons of mass destruction were being challenged. Simply put, none had been found. By the fall of 2004, nearly every pre-war assertion made by Bush, Cheney, Powell, and Rice had been contradicted. The Duelfer report, the most definitive accounting by the U.S of Iraq’s capabilities, concludes that since 1991 Iraq’s nuclear weapons program had “progressively decayed” and that no evidence had been discovered of any “concerted efforts to restart” it. “There is no indication,” the report states, “that Iraq had resumed missile material or nuclear weapons research and development activities since 1991.” Evidence was discovered that Iraq “clearly intended to reconstitute long-range delivery systems” beyond the 93-mile limit imposed by the United Nations after the 1991 war. But none of the desired systems had reached the production stage. Moreover, the small arsenal of mobile Scud missiles that remained after the 1991 war had been destroyed. The findings for biological and chemical weapons were very similar. The stockpiles that remained after 1991 had been destroyed, and by 1995 Iraq had abandoned all research into these weapons, the report concludes. A few frozen samples of ordinary microbes, for example, bolutinum, were found in the home of one Iraqi official, but no evidence of any bulk inventory was discovered. The report also states that Hussein had no intention to strike at the United States with nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction and that its inability to give clear answers to U.N. inspectors may have been the result of poor accounting rather than deception. 64 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 Assertions by the Bush administration about ties between al-Qaida and Iraq have similarly been contradicted. In the early summer of 2004 the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) released a study on the history and evolution of al-Qaida. It states that while bin Laden was opposed to Hussein’s secular rule and supported “anti-Saddam Islamicists in Iraqi Kurdistan,” he did explore “possible cooperation with Iraq.” In 1994, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer did meet with bin Laden in Sudan. At that meeting bin Laden is reported to have requested “assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.” But the report concludes that there is “no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States.”10 Later in the summer, the 9/11 Commission released its full report. Section 10.3 summarizes the contents of a memorandum requested by the President and written by Richard Clarke on 18 September 2001. Citing that memo, titled “Survey of Intelligence Information on Any Iraq Involvement in the September 11 Attacks,” the Commission report states that the “memo found ‘no compelling’ case that Iraq had either planned or perpetrated the attacks . . . . [and] no confirmed reporting on Saddam cooperating with bin Laden on unconventional weapons.”11 ESTABLISHING DEMOCRACY On 26 February 2003, in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute Bush announced that as part of the global war on terrorism, the goal of the U.S. in Iraq was not only to disarm Hussein but also to change the Iraqi regime into a prosperous and stable democracy as a precursor to the political transformation of the Middle East. “A liberated Iraq,” he said, “can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region by bringing hope and progress to the lives of millions . . . . A new [democratic] regime in Iraq could serve as a dramatic example of freedom to other nations in the region.” Bush then went on to cite the historical experience of the U.S. in transforming Germany and Japan following WW II into democratic states.12 And on September of 2003, in a televised address to the nation, he said: In Iraq, we are helping . . . to build a decent and democratic center of the Middle East . . . . The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism . . . . When tyrants fall, and Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 65 resentment gives way to hope, men and women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror and turn to the pursuits of peace. Everywhere that freedom takes hold, terror will retreat.13 On this account, the source of Islamic terrorism is politically repressive regimes. By changing Iraq from a tyranny to a democracy, other nations in the Middle East will follow and the conditions productive of terrorism will be removed. That same view was later given by top members of the Bush administration. Rice, for example, stated that “a transformed Iraq can become a key element in a very different Middle East in which the ideologies of hate will not flourish.”14 The main challenge to this objective is, of course, whether the U.S. occupation forces can provide a sufficiently stable security situation for the creation of those institutions necessary for democracy. Even assuming that democracy takes hold in Iraq, the administration has not explained how other nations in the region will follow. Rice has stated that just as a democratic “Germany became a linchpin of a new Europe that is today whole, free, and at peace,”15 so, too, after Iraq the Middle East will follow. Nor is it clear that establishing democracy will eradicate the conditions of terrorism. In Algeria and Pakistan, for example, the very real concern of a militant Islam using the ballot box to establish power led to the suppression of an emergent democracy. American democracy has not prevented the rise of home-grown terrorism (Weather Underground, Christian Identity groups, Tim McVeigh, and others, for example). European democracy did not prevent left-wing terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s, or terrorist acts in Northern Ireland (IRA) and Spain (ETA). Nor has Latin American democracy, in Mexico and Peru, for example, prevented revolutionary activity and terrorism from the 1960s to the present. Given the range of societies in which terrorism has emerged, it may prove quite difficult to identify those background conditions that give rise to it. We can, however, say provisionally that terrorism, as other forms of political violence, is a response to a perceived threat or challenge. Some scholars argue that Islamic terrorism is a symptom of a failed civilization. Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida, among others have been kindled by the realization that Islamic culture has failed and Muslims are consequently motivated by a desire to destroy the successful civilizations of the West by producing an Armageddon-type war between the two. Ralph Peters, for example, writes: 66 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 A religio-social society that restricts the flow of information, prefers myth to reality, oppresses women, makes family, clan, or ethnic identity the basis for social and economic relations, subverts the rule of secular law, undervalues scientific and liberal education, discourages independent thought, and believes that ancient religious law should govern all human relations has no hope whatsoever of competing with America and the vibrant, creative states of the West and the Pacific Rim. We are succeeding, the Islamic world is failing, and they hate us for it.16 James Klurfield writes that the attacks of 11 September 2001 . . . came from a religious sect lashing out at modernity and the leading exponent of modernity, the United States. Osama bin Laden is the product of a failure, a failed culture that is being left behind by the rest of the world. He and his followers are lashing out because they cannot cope with the modern world . . . . Bin Ladenism and other forms of Islamic fundamentalism are attempts to deal with the Arab world’s inability to cope with modernity.17 Along similar lines, others argue that what motivates contemporary Islamic terrorism is a hatred of who we, Americans, are. Jean Bethke Elshtain, for example, writes : “They loath us because of who we are and what our society represents….”[W]e must and will fight — not in order to conquer any countries or to destroy peoples or religions, but to defend who we are and what we, at our best, represent.” The terror attacks of 9/ 11 were committed by individuals who are part of a “violent, extremist, and radically intolerant religious-political movement that now threatens the world [and] constitute[s] a clear and present danger to all people of good will everywhere in the world.”18 But terrorism by al-Qaida and other militant Islamic groups might be motivated not by hatred of who we, Americans, are but by what we do (or have done). Nations very much like the United States — for example: Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, and others — have not been targets of attack by al-Qaida. Israel has suffered a large number of terrorist attacks by Palestinians. An examination of the relation between Israel and Palestine might prove instructive in identifying the conditions of contemporary terrorism. For example, the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 67 for thirty-five years by Israel in violation of UN resolutions subsequent to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; continued settlements by Israel in the Occupied Territories since the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993; its control of a major portion of land and other resources, like water, in the West Bank; denial of the right of return or compensation for Palestinians in exile driven off by Israeli expansion. Further exploration into the conditions of political violence in other parts of the world might well support the view that it is the actions and policies of states and governments or, as in Sri Lanka, the “competition for state resources” that motivate terrorism, rather than hatred of who the other is.19 Sri Lanka has suffered the greatest number of suicide bombings in the past couple of decades. The leading organization in suicide bombings in the world is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, whose ideology is secular and nationalistic with, as Robert Pape observes, some Marxist/Leninist elements, and recruits from mainly Hindu Tamils in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. According to Pape, it “accounts for 75 of the 186 suicide bombings between 1980 and 2001.”20 POST-WAR TO CRISIS JUSTIFICATION: FROM HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION When the weapons of mass destruction were not found, weakening the case for anticipatory self-defense, the Bush administration advanced another and quite different justification. This is a war of humanitarian intervention. Hussein is a murderous dictator who has slaughtered several hundred thousand of his own citizens. To protect future victims the United States and its allies must therefore intervene militarily. Typically, such wars of intervention are justified to stop ongoing humanitarian crises or when they are about to occur, seldom, if ever, for those that have already occurred. The Bush administration offered no evidence that Hussein was committing, or was about to commit, the kind of atrocities that would justify humanitarian intervention. There was none. Nonetheless, the number of civilian deaths in this war might rise to the level of a humanitarian crisis. Although the United States has not released any figures — “We don’t do body counts,” General Tommy Franks has said — at least two sources have published estimates of civilian casualties. One source,, places the number of civilian deaths due to direct war related violence between a minimum of 14,563 and a maximum of 16,742 (as of 29 November 2004); 3,000 of those deaths occurred during the invasion phase of the war, the remain- 68 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 der during the occupation. There are reports suggesting that the conduct of this war has not been sufficiently discriminating in the relevant moral and legal sense. For example, cluster munitions have been used repeatedly in cities and towns. In March and April of 2004 alone U.S. and British forces used almost 13,000 cluster munitions containing nearly 2 million submunitions that, according to Human Rights watch, killed or wounded more than 1,000 civilians. Additionally, the 50 decapitation strikes — that is, attempted killing of Iraqi leaders — have all failed to hit their targets and instead killed civilians. A more recent study conducted by investigators from the School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, and published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, concludes that violence subsequent to the invasion has produced about 100,000 deaths, with air strikes and coalition forces accounting for most of them. While there is no evidence that these were intended deaths, and likely are not so, the war is producing a level of collateral damage that is disproportionate to any reasonable objective of this war. Additionally, there are some online sources reporting the use of banned napalm (or napalm-like, phosphorous) and other illegal weapons against Iraqi troops as early as 21 March 2003, in the advance to Baghdad and then later against insurgents in the attack on Fallujah. The Pentagon has admitted using a firebomb called Mark 77, consisting of forty-four pounds of polystyrene-like gel and sixty-three gallons of jet fuel, that is “remarkably similar” to napalm.21 On 21 November 2004, and reported some thirty-four Iraqi civilians from Fallujah killed by chemical weapons. In Britain these reports have been taken seriously, and several members of Parliament have demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Blair on the use of such weapons. THE RISE OF INSURGENTS AND THE NATION-BUILDING EFFORT Twenty months after the fall of Baghdad, the U.S. and its coalition partners do not have control of the ground. Suicide bombings; assassination of Iraqi political and civilian leadership; kidnappings and executions of hostages, soldiers and police; sabotage of oil fields; and direct attacks against U.S. and coalition forces by elements of the old regime, insurgents, and foreign fighters profoundly challenge the likelihood of success. Iraq is a nation in chaos. At the time of this writing, the city of Fallujah, which was under control of insurgents, is under attack by occupation forces. The U.S. reports some one thousand insurgents killed. Mosques have been defiled. The city is in ruin. Nearly forty U.S. soldiers have been Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 69 killed and some one hundred wounded flown to Germany. As insurgents in Fallujah have fled, other Iraqi cities have seen a rise in violence and sectors of Mosul and other cities are under insurgent control. The fight over Fallujah might not be over yet. So far, U.S. casualties exceed 1,300 and nearly 10,000 have been wounded. Bush stated in his radio address to the nation on 13 November 2004, that as Iraq moves to democratic elections next January, violence is likely to increase. The cost of the war to the U.S. alone will soon exceed $200,000,000,000 and no one doubts that the occupation of Iraq will last more than a few years. The prospect of the occupation lasting ten to fifteen years appears very real. And the objective of a democratic Iraq leading then to a democratic Middle East and removing the conditions of global terrorism seems at best very distant. Although the provisional government in Iraq, with strong support from the Bush administration, called for nationwide elections on 30 January 2005, several Sunni, including the very influential Association of Muslim Scholars, and Kurdish groups have called for a delay, fearing that continued violence would challenge the legitimacy of any elections. There are, nonetheless, some signs that point to a hopeful future for Iraq and its people. In June 2003, an Iraqi Interim Government was appointed and vested with full sovereignty; a system of government is in place that is republican, federal, democratic, and pluralistic; there is the gradual development of a national police force and an Iraqi army under a civilian leadership; a Transitional Administrative Law has been adopted in which all Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to religion, ethnicity, or gender and which upholds the right to associate and organize freely, the right to a fair, speedy, and open trial and the presumption of innocence, as well as the right to freedom of thought, expression and conscience. A public opinion poll conducted by The American Enterprise Institute reports that seven in ten Iraqis believe that Iraq will be a better country five years from now; about two in five say that “democracy can work in Iraq”; by a ratio of “4 to 1, the ordinary Iraqi thinks his country is better off without Saddam . . . . by almost 7 to 1, he is more hopeful for his own future absent Saddam; and by almost 2 to 1, he doesn’t want an Islamic government.”22 The United States Agency for International Development, in its publication “Iraq Reconstruction Weekly Update,” reports a number of important developments from rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure — water and sanitation, bridges, roads, and electricity — to progress in secondary and higher education, 70 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 and the beginnings of a competitive, private sector economy in banking and business.23 QUESTIONS The Iraq War of 2003 raises a number of important and troubling questions. Among them are the following: 1. What are the conditions for a morally defensible doctrine of preemptive war? How will we distinguish between genuine threats and phantom menaces? What is the standard of proof that determines whom and when to attack? Were those conditions and the burden of proof met in this war? 2. Is this a just war? The question asks not whether this war is in our national interest, militarily prudent, or legal according to international law. It wants to know whether it is morally defensible and, if so, how? Suppose it is not justified on the basis of a morally legitimate doctrine of preemption. Might it be morally defensible on other, say, humanitarian, grounds, e.g., liberating the Iraqi people from a murderous tyrant? 3. Suppose it is not a just war. Can an unjust war be fought justly? Or is it the case that the injustice of the war corrupts the entire conduct of the war? If so, then regardless of the great care in their conduct, Coalition forces are engaged in injustice. Suppose further that the distinction between killing and murder is determined by the justice of the war, not its conduct. Is it the case, then, that no matter how scrupulous Coalition forces are in their military conduct, all killing in this war amounts to murder? 4. Suppose all killing in this war does amount to murder. Are American citizens who support this war supporting, and thereby complicit in, murder? If such complicity in murder renders one non-innocent, is there any moral sense is saying that civilians, regardless of their government’s action, are innocent and, by their innocence, immune from deliberate military attack? If an Iraqi resistance group now decides to target Americans at home and abroad, is that killing the guilty or murdering the innocent? 5. One of the least developed principles of the just war doctrine is the jus post bellum (or postwar justice). Assume this is a just war by tradi- Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez: Case Study: The Iraq War of 2003 71 tional just war principles. Is it necessary that prior to waging war there be a specified and reasonably attainable morally defensible end to it? What would that be in this war? Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez is Director of the Dr. James Dale Ethics Center and Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University. NOTES 1 This paper has benefited enormously from my conversations with Bruce N. Waller, as well as his careful and probing reading of earlier versions. 2 Robin Wright. “Top Focus before 9/11 Wasn’t Terrorism.” Washington Post, April 1, 2004, A01. 3 David Barstow, William J. Broad, Jeff Gerth. “Skewed Intelligence Data in March to War in Iraq.” New York Times, October 3, 2004, A17. 4 Transcript of Bush’s news conference on March 6, 2003. “‘We’re Calling for a Vote’ at the U.N., Says Bush.” Washington Post, March 7, 2003. 5 “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” http://, pp. 2, 7, 12, 14. Accessed on September 30, 2002. 6 A tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s mural Guernica hangs in the entrance to the chambers of the United Nations’ Security Council in New York City. It is 11 feet 6 inches high and 25 feet 8 inches wide. It commemorates the aerial bombardment of the ancient Basque town of some 5,000 inhabitants. On 27 April 1937, German and Italian air squadrons used it for bombing practice. For three hours, they dropped high-explosive, incendiary bombs, killing or wounding 1,600 children, women, and men. The tapestry, like the mural, depicts their suffering and slaughter — chopped-up, mutilated human and animal forms totally lacking in color are rendered in stark gray, black and white tones (the tapestry reproduction, though, adds some brown and taupe, weakening its effect). It is an awesomely disturbing scene conveying the inevitable massacre of modern, technological war. Consequently, on the day Powell made his case for war against Iraq, U.N. officials placed a blue curtain over the tapestry and displayed before it the flags of the various nations represented in the Security Council. The news conference immediately following Powell’s speech would take place on that spot. 7 Colin Powell. “Remarks to the United Nations Security Council.” http://, pp. 1, 4, 7. Accessed October 7, 2004. 8 Powell. pp. 11, 12, 14, 16, 17. 9 Quoted in Dana Milbank and Claudia Deane. “Hussein Link to 9/11 Lingers in Many Minds.” Washington Post, September 6, 2003. 72 Teaching Ethics, Fall 2004 10 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. “Overview of the Enemy.” Staff Statement No. 15. June 16, 2004. 11 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 9/ 11 Commission Report, Authorized Edition. (New York: W. W Norton, 2004), 334. 12 “Free People Will Keep the Peace of the World.” American Enterprise Institute. Washington, D.C., February 26, 2003. Also see New York Times, February 27, 2003. 13 “Bush: We Will Do What Is Necessary.” Washington Post, September 8, 2003. 14 Condoleezza Rice. “Transforming the Middle East.” Washington Post, August 7, 2003. 15 “Transforming the Middle East.” Washington Post, August 7, 2003. 16 Ralph Peter. Beyond Terror. (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002), 46. 17 James Klurfield. “Bin Laden Is No Match for the Modern World.” Long Island Newsday, July 11, 2002. See also, Daniel Benjamin and Steve Simon. The Age of Sacred Terror. (NY: Random House, 2002), 54-55; and Bernard Lewis. What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle East Response. (NY: Oxford University Press, 2002), 159. 18 Jean Bethke Elshtain. Just War Against Terror. (NY: Basic Books, 2003), 4, 6, 191-92. 19 Mark P. Whitaker. “Sri Lanka.” in G. Palmer-Fernandez, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and War. (NY: Routledge, 2004), 407. 20 Robert A. Pape. “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 3. (August 2003), 343. 21 Andrew Buncombe. “U.S. Admits It Used Napalm Bombs in Iraq.” The Independent, August 10, 2003. 030810-napalm-iraq01.htm. Accessed on November 29, 2004. 22 “How the U.S. Should Help Iraq.” print-article.asp?articleID=17774. Accessed on December 10, 2004. 23 See Accessed on October 21, 2004.
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