Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The War on Iraq: Kant or Mill?

John B. Judis writes in the liberal The American Prospect that the administration’s Iraq policy may be seen to be either following the thought of Kant or J.S. Mill. He thinks that by Kantian standards the war was unjustified.

"Administration officials have tried to justify the war ex post facto entirely on utilitarian grounds -- that is, that the war will lead to the democratization or modernization of the Arab region. These arguments echo those of 19th- and early 20th-century imperialists, and indeed some neoconservatives, including Max Boot and Stanley Kurtz, have argued candidly for a return to imperialism. They have replaced the older promise of civilization with that of democracy or of modernization. The Bush administration, fearful of criticism from abroad, has steered clear of explicitly advocating imperialism, but it uses the same utilitarian logic in advancing its aims that European and American proponents of empire used a century ago."

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