Is it ever right to fight a war?

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Is it ever right to fight a war? This is a question we all have been wrestling with for centuries. While all eyes are on the latest military campaigns in Iraq , it is time to reexamine the question.

The most common pro-war argument is pragmatic in nature . Pragmatists think that as long as the ends justify the means, war is fine. But there lies the problem - we have to understand what the ends are and examine all the means to get there -- that does not always happen. Take the war in Iraq for instance. After the British and the Americans have made accusations about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, they joined forces to disarm Saddam, only to find, during the occupation of Iraq , that there has not been a shred of evidence to back up their original claims. If they have been mistaken about their goals, should we not assume that the means have also been chosen for the wrong reasons?

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Of course, some would argue that a positive outcome would eventually outweigh all the social and financial costs of a military campaign. So if peace prevails after military dictators such as Saddam are overthrown, war will be a justifiable means to a greater good. But how are we to calculate such costs and gains? How are we to know how long the chaos would last? And how can we put a price tag on each human life to be sacrificed for the greater good?

If we take this argument to the extreme, we could argue that no military ...

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