Jaw and War
The 2003 Iraq war already seems a long time ago. The long build up, global
protests and wranglings at the UN all culminated in a war that dominated the
news for three weeks and then quickly dropped off the front pages.
The war has since been fought and won; the peace is still being contested.
History has yet to pass its judgement on whether, in the end, it did more harm
When we have the benefit of hindsight, we shall be able to judge better the
wisdom of those who argued for or against the war. On which side of the divide
will philosophers be seen to have pitched their camp?
Most of the evidence points towards a strong trend of opposition to the
conflict among professional academic philosophers. The clearest sign of this
came when the American Philosophical Association eastern division passed a
motion opposing war. The eastern division is the largest of the APA's three
regional groupings and hence its passing of an anti-war motion by a ratio of
six to one is probably representative of American academic opinion.
In the United Kingdom, there was no such unified response. Several universities
organised petitions against the war, the wording of which was usually almost
identical to that used in Oxford's: