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Gulf War

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St. Augustine's Just

War Theory and the Persion Gulf War On August 2nd, 1990

the first Iraqi tanks crossed into Kuwait, as part of an invasion

that marked the start of a six-month conflict between the

United States and Iraq. These tanks were ordered to invade

Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, the ruthless dictator of Iraq. The

Iraqi troops looted Kuwaiti businesses and brutalized Kuwaiti

civilians. Saudi Arabia began to fear that they may be invaded

as well, and on August 7th they formally asked President

Bush for US assistance. The US pledged to defend the

Saudis, and to remove the Iraqis from Kuwait. Great masses

of troops from many different nations were deployed in the

Persian Gulf area. At 4:30 PM EST on January 16, 1991, the

first aircraft with orders to attack Iraqi targets were launched

from Saudi Arabia, marking the beginning of Operation Desert

Storm. Dictators like Mr. Hussein cannot be allowed to take

advantage of smaller countries like bullies after lunch money.

There has to be someone to stop them, or they will gain more

and more power and land, just as Adolf Hitler tried to do in

World War II. That someone, in the case of Mr. Hussein, was

the United States, along with a multinational coalition. The US

had just cause in entering a war against Iraq because of Iraq's

invasion of the small and defenseless nation of Kuwait.

Actions such as that must be repulsed. Iraq had no just cause

in invading Kuwait; their reasons were either obscure or for

their benefit. The US had to help Kuwait regain their nation. In

protecting the Saudis from invasion and removing the Iraqis

from Kuwait the US had the right intention. The real reason

the US decided to fight the Iraqis was to restore Kuwait's

government and to defend Saudi Arabia. There was no

underlying reason, such as to receive better prices on oil or to

make the Kuwaitis indebted to the US so as to receive favors.

Throughout the war, the US made clear their purpose and

intent in fighting the Iraqis, and not once did they stray from it.

Legitimate authority was established when the Congress

voted to follow United Nations resolution 678, section two of

which "Authorizes Member States co-operating with the

Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January

1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the

foregoing resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold

and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent

relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and

security in the area." The vote to follow the resolution was as

good as a declaration of war, as far as legitimate authority is

concerned, and is in some ways better. The adoption of the

resolution only authorized the use of force to remove Iraq from

Kuwait. This limited the ability of our military to completely

destroy Iraq's military or to drive Hussein from power. Our

authority to remove Iraq from Kuwait was clearly legitimate.

The Gulf War was fought with proportionality clearly in the

leadership's mind. President Bush planned to get Iraq's troops

out of Kuwait and then stop. He had no intention of carrying

the war further. Although Bush would have dearly liked to

have marched US troops toward Baghdad to destroy

Hussein's government, he did not, because of the risk of

heavy casualties, and because it went against the

proportionality idea.

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