The Novelty of the Iraq War

The Novelty of the Iraq War 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

The Novelty of the Iraq War

The Good Society, Volume 16 (2) – Jul 23, 2008

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The Pennsylvania State University
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
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Abstract

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

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Jul 23, 2008

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