St. Augustine’s Just War Theory and the Persion Gulf WarOn 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. The leaders who picked targets for our forces never targeted civilians. Civilians were killed, for sure, but they were not deliberately targeted. Non-combatant immunity is an important part of every war the US has been engaged in. The Iraqis definitely targeted civilians, as was quite evident by their SCUD attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia. Many civilians and military personnel were killed by SCUDs during the course of the war. Civilians are not responsible for harm done to one’s country, and therefore deserve immunity. Upon entering the conflict, The US obviously had a reasonable hope of success. The Iraqis had several hundred thousand poorly trained, poorly equipped, and poorly led troops, while the Allied forces numbered about 800,000. The allied troops were better trained, equipped, and led than the Iraqis. They were also more loyal, although that was not discovered until the ground war began and Iraqi troops began to desert, tens of thousands at a time. The US would not have entered into this conflict if they had not clearly known that they would win. Sanctions were placed against Iraq almost immediately, and were in place and doing nothing for six months before President Bush realized that they had to turn to their last resort, the use of force, to get the Iraqis out of Kuwait. All diplomatic means had failed, from the initial meeting between US ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein to the implementation of sanctions. The use of force was clearly our last resort. Epilogue-Who Won The War The Persian Gulf War, in military terms, was won by the United States and her allies. The Iraqis were forced out of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia was protected, and the US casualties were only in the hundreds. However, politically, the war may have resulted in a draw. Saddam Hussein is still in control of Iraq, and Bush is no longer in office. Kuwait is once again a free country, but Hussein is still right next door to threaten them again. Although it would have gone against St. Agustin’s Just War Theory, it would have been intelligent to have marched on Baghdad and forced Hussein out of power. The real victory, however, goes to all the troops who gave their lives to restore 6,880 square miles of desert to it’s original leadership.