The Iraq War: A Philosophical Analysis

Hardcover | May 15, 2012

byBassam Romaya

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This book features a critique of key philosophical doctrines that dominate the Iraq war debate: just war theory, humanitarian intervention, democratic realism, and preventive war doctrine. The author evaluates each doctrine and argues that the failure of philosophical discourse on the war derives from misunderstanding the ontological nature of new wars and ignoring the spread of global capitalism that fuels contemporary war violence. He then develops an alternative philosophical approach to the analysis of war that argues for giving greater import to distinctive features of contemporary warfare. This approach offers a model for thinking through the philosophical dilemmas introduced by new wars.

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This book features a critique of key philosophical doctrines that dominate the Iraq war debate: just war theory, humanitarian intervention, democratic realism, and preventive war doctrine. The author evaluates each doctrine and argues that the failure of philosophical discourse on the war derives from misunderstanding the ontological n...

Bassam Romaya is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. His research interests are in philosophy of war and peace, world philosophy, aesthetics and the philosophy of art, philosophy of sex, GLBTQ studies, and Middle East studies. Significant publications include "Iraq and the Question of Phi...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:196 pages, 8.96 × 5.66 × 0.72 inPublished:May 15, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230341535

ISBN - 13:9780230341531

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Table of Contents

The Question of Just War * The Question of Humanitarian Intervention * The Question of Democracy * The Question of Preventive War * Philosophizing War * Concluding Remarks: Toward An Alternative Turn in Philosophizing War

Editorial Reviews

"This is a splendid book.  Well-written and carefully argued, it not only gives a devastating critique of the Iraq War and shows the inadequacy of just war theory, it also maps the way to a fresh perspective from which to assess the 'new' wars of the twenty-first century.  Bassam Romaya has made a major contribution to the philosophy of war. The Iraq War: A Philosophical Analysis deserves a wide audience among non-philosophers as well as philosophers." - Robert L. Holmes, professor emeritus, University of Rochester "Bassam Romaya persuasively argues that contemporary warfare is disorderly, asymmetric, imagistic, theatrical, and ultimately unjust.  His detailed analysis of the Iraq War supports his claim that the political and technological complexity of contemporary warfare creates a significant challenge for traditional just war theory. This book is an important reminder of the difficulty of thinking about the morality of war." - Andrew Fiala, professor of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno"In a careful and thorough critique of Iraq War discourse, Bassam Romaya exposes the predominant efforts to justify the war, arguments based on the just war tradition, humanitarian intervention, democratization, and preventive war, showing each to offer rationalizations at best. Along the way Romaya develops a new approach to philosophize war, one better tuned to the changing nature of contemporary war within the context of economic globalization. Romaya's book is an important contribution to the philosophy of war." - Duane L. Cady, author, From Warism to Pacifism: A Moral Continuum"Bassam Romaya offers a spirited, well-documented, up-to-date analysis of the essential difficulties, both conceptual and actual, confronting the four principal lines of theory invoked in justifying particular wars and modern warfare in general, which render them outmoded. Among other things, Romaya provides a running account of the most disturbing aspects of American foreign policy and the impact of the wars discussed on the lives of the native people affected." - Joseph Margolis, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy, Temple University"We need not less but rather more philosophical engagement with unconventional wars in Iraq, Afghanistan ,and elsewhere that have come to play a large role in US foreign policy in the early part of the new century. This work, which focuses on the Iraq War, usefully contributes to that task. Romaya focuses on the Iraq War in carefully examining various arguments concerning its justification against the background of earlier and current forms of just war theory." - Tom Rockmore, McAnulty College Distinguished Professor, Department of Philosophy, Duquesne University "Bassam Romaya's book draws on lesser known views found outside the mainstream just war tradition - from feminist philosophers, postmodernists, new war theorists, practical pacifists, and non-Western thinkers. He does us a service by making the case for alternative approaches to evaluate recent wars, particularly the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq." - David Chan, professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin - Steven's Point "Romaya's book reveals the power of philosophical analysis in examining the moral questions concerning contemporary warfare. It shows the limits of the Just War Theory in dealing with asymmetric violence, non-national belligerents, and the so-called 'war on terror,' and it exposes fallacies in attempts to justify the US invasion of Iraq on grounds of humanitarian intervention, democratization, and preventive war. Noting the absence of significant philosophical responses to the Iraq war, Romaya argues persuasively that philosophical discourse 'must catch up with the emergent realities of contemporary warfare' if the tools of philosophy are to assist us in reducing the occasion for organized violence." - Tomis Kapitan, professor of Philosophy, Northern Illinois University "Bassam Romaya effectively uses the Iraq War with its failed justifications and problematic technologies to argue for constraining the propoensity that the US has displayed for going to war at least since the end of WWII." - James P. Sterba, professor of PHilosophy, University of Notre Dame