Michael Walzer on Just War in the Gulf War

Some of the troubles that we have had in Iraq after '03 come from the loss of confidence of trust that we produced by our behavior in '91, Walzer says.
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TRANSCRIPT

Michael Walzer:  Well going in this was a classic case of a just war. There was an active aggression invasion of a country, the invasion of a member of the U.N, and we organize the coalition to resist and throw back the invasion and then we stopped. In classic Just War Theory that’s what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to defeat the aggression and repel it and then stop. You don’t march...you don’t have to overthrow the aggressive government; that’s for the people to do if they want to do it, and we stopped. But then we incited a rebellion inside Iraq leading people to expect, since we had an army right there, that we would help the rebels, and then we didn’t. And there was mass murder. Saddam, who had been unable to fight against the coalition army was perfectly capable of fighting against then slaughtering his own people, and he did on a very large scale in the south and later in the north … so, yes, we behaved very badly and some of the troubles that we've had in Iraq after ’03 come from the loss of confidence of trust that we produced by our behavior in ‘91. Recorded on: 2/27/08