George Kateb The issue is what judgment to make of the US war in Iraq. I deliberately use the word "judgment" with Hannah Arendt's concept in mind. Perhaps the main work that she looked for in making a political judgment of some political phenomenon--an act, policy, situation, or condition, past or in process--is to determine whether it was or is novel and therefore not to be subsumed reflexively under a prevalent category or thoughtlessly assimilated to other political phenomena. Is the US war in Iraq a novel event in American history; or is it, rather, in its energies and ambitions, largely continuous with earlier American wars, just one more occurrence that takes its place in a pattern that began well before the Bush administration and that will outlast it indefinitely? Our judgment that in truth there is novelty would depend on answers to certain questions. The most important one is, what were the instigating motives of those who launched the war against Iraq? Were any of these motives new in American history? The question of motives is entangled with another: was there novelty in the rhetoric used by administration officials to justify the war to the American public
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Jul 23, 2008
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