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The primary criterion for any war to be labeled as a just war is for that war to be declared for a just cause. The United States clearly did not have any such cause for launching a war against Iraq. The Bush administration’s newly proposed doctrine of pre-emption declares the right to initiate strikes against states that are deemed to be future threats against the US (2). Under the rules of just war, just cause is described as self defense against an attack in order to preserve innocent life, not pre-emptive strikes against possible dangers. The fact is, is that although the idea of attacking a nation that does not pose a threat today, but may pose one in the near future is as old as war itself, it completely goes against the precedents set forth by the just war theory(2).
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