Journal of Social Philosophy 22 (1):20-29 (1991)
In the early months of 1991, the United States—in alliance with a number of other nations—fought a large scale air and ground war to evict Iraq's occupying army from the emirate of Kuwait. In this paper, I will consider the question of whether this U.S. military campaign was a just war according to the criteria of traditional just war theory—the only developed moral theory of warfare that we have. My aim, however, is not so much to reach a verdict about the morality of the Gulf War, as it is to identify relevant moral issues, and to reveal certain serious problems of application that are inherent in just war theory itself. Just war theory divides into two parts concerning, respectively, the question of whether or not to fight a particular war , and the question of how the war is conducted . I begin by considering whether it was just, according to the justice of war criteria, for the U.S. to fight the Gulf War at all. I then turn to the question of whether the way the war was conducted satisfied the criteria of justice in war
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