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Home » Democracy with Guns: Human Rights and the War on Terror

Bomb Now, Die Later

February 1, 2003 No Comment

By Ruth Blakeley, Department of Politics, University of Bristol, 2001 (Revised in February 2003)

Was the bombing campaign undertaken by the UN Coalition against Iraq, in 1991, fought according to just war conventions?

The air campaign undertaken by the United Nations coalition against Iraq, during the Gulf War of 1991, resulted in the devastation of many vital components of the Iraqi infrastructure. The effects of this destruction have been compounded by the economic sanctions imposed upon Iraq before, during and since the Gulf War, and have contributed to the extensive violation of the rights of the civilian population of Iraq. This study demonstrates that it is the combination of the persistent defiance of Saddam Hussein and the continuing imposition of economic sanctions, rather than the Desert Storm air campaign, that is responsible for the destruction of the infrastructure of Iraq, and the consequent suffering of a nation. The actions of the air campaign planners are measured against the requirements of principles drawn from Just War doctrine, in order to demonstrate the degree to which the air campaign planners respected the immunity of Iraqi non-combatants.

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