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The Morality of War

- Abstract

A MID THE welter of moral argument-some seri- X ous, much not-that preceded Operation Iraqi Freedom, two clarifying moments stand out.

The first came on January 26, when Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed a generally hostile audience of the global great and good in Davos, Switzerland. After having made the case for a pos- sible armed intervention in Iraq, Powell was asked by George Carey, the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury, whether the Bush administration was not overselling the capacity of “hard power” to change what needed changing in the world, and underrating the utility of “soft power.” The terms are the trope of the Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye; soft power, in Carey’s less than lumi- nous formulation, has “something to do with human values.”

About the Author

George Weigel is a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and the author most recently of God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (HarperCollins).