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Hannah Arendt and the War in Iraq


Using Hannah Arendt's theory as a template, this essay analyzes American foreign policy decisions that led to the Iraq war. Obviously, Arendt would find the misinformation concerning "links" between Iraq and al-Qaeda to be problematic, as well as the unjustified allegation of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the Bush administration sought to justify the war in roughly two other ways: the liberation of the people of Iraq from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the need to stabilize the region by providing a model for democracy in the Middle East. One may wonder whether Arendt would support the administration's actions for these other reasons, as Arendt was worried about the emergence of nuclear weapons and certainly was against dictatorships in favor of governments that support the public freedom of the people. However, I argue that Arendt's overall political theory would not support the war and may, in fact, give us reasons to believe that it will not produce a fully functioning democracy in Iraq. In conclusion, I will contrast the Bush administration's method to the Arab Spring, which Arendt would more fully support, if the outcome focuses on writing and adopting Constitutions that secure freedom for the people involved.

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