In Humanity’s Name: Democracy and the Right to Wage War

  • Mark Evans


The American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation has been the most controversial event in world politics of recent times. As is abundantly clear from the frequency with which it is invoked in this book, it raises a whole battery of issues for just war theory to address. Indeed, one might think of it as a laboratory in which the theory may be put to the most exacting tests. In this chapter, we consider some questions arising from the controversy as to whether the invading coalition possessed the authority to launch the war: did it have the institutional right to do so? For it is a crucial tenet of traditional just war theory that not every organised armed body of people has the right to use those arms, even if they were to do so in a manner that satisfied the theory’s other criteria. (This is criterion 1(g), as laid out in the Introduction.) The main reason for this, it may be reasonably conjectured, is that the demands of political order must always restrain the resort to war and, without the insistence on a precisely identified legitimate authority, ‘just wars’ would lead to a chaotically anarchic world.


Security Council Global Civil Society Security Council Resolution Legitimate Authority Armed Body 
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© Mark Evans 2005

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  • Mark Evans

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