There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a murderous despot, but few consider that alone enough to warrant humanitarian intervention. At least people have been freed from one of the world’s most ruthless tyrants, they note. This humanitarian intervention argument was only occasionally mentioned before the war and was clearly not a dominant motivation for the invasion. Now that it has emerged as perhaps the strongest remaining justiﬁcation, it is worth examining seriously.
Because of the death, destruction and disorder that are often inherent in war and its aftermath, proponents of humanitarian intervention, among whom I include myself, generally insist that a variety of conditions be met to justify a military invasion on human rights grounds.