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the right to pre-emptively strike

Uploaded by beetg001 on Jun 09, 2005

When the big bully at school walks over with clenched fists and that mean look in his eye, is it ok to hit him first? When you see your enemy in the school yard making a pea shooter with no other intention but to ‘shoot’ you during class, is it ok to walk over and step on it? When discussing pre-emptive strikes on other countries we can put it into simple terms like this. But between what’s right and wrong lies this huge plain of grey that sparks great debate. How can one justify an attack if it causes death, injury or emotional and financial hurt? Two words lie at the centre of this issue; defence and threat. It is deemed under international law that it is ok to defend yourself if there is an imminent threat. But defining an imminent threat and defence is the grey area where debate rages.











Defence can be defined as “military action or resources protecting a country against potential enemies; "they died in the defense of Stalingrad"; "they were developed for the defense program” (WordNet 2.0, 2003), which implies that it is ok to attack if you are protecting your country from potential enemies. So just what is a potential enemy? Potential is “existing in possibility” (WordNet 2.0, 2003), and therefore when looking at the modern situation, Iraq is a potential enemy of the US. The US is a potential enemy of North Korea. But to decide where a pre-emptive attack is right or wrong we must analyse the direct threat. A threat is a “declaration of an intention or a determination to inflict harm on another” (WordNet 2.0, 2003), and therefore although the US is a potential enemy of North Korea, they are not a direct threat. When breaking it down into simpler terms like this we have a smaller grey area when distinguishing whether pre-emptive strikes are right or wrong.











The US attack on Iraq in 2002 is probably the most hotly debated pre-emptive strike. The US defined Saddam Hussein as a direct threat for his suspected Weapons of Mass Destruction and his links with terrorism (Bennett, B. 2003). But upon a closer look we find that although he was a potential enemy, he was not a direct threat to the USA and its people. It had...

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Uploaded by:   beetg001

Date:   06/09/2005

Category:   History

Length:   9 pages (2,125 words)

Views:   1452

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