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Jus Bellum Criteria Weinberger versus Clinton

 

CSC 1997

 

Subject Area - History

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Title: Jus Bellum Criteria Weinberger versus Clinton (A study of U.S. military intervention)

 

Author: Major Shaugnessy A. Reynolds, United States Marine Corps

 

Thesis: Although the United States has utilized and published its jus bellum criteria throughout its history, the current administration is deficient in doing this.

 

Background: The jus bellum decision, is one of the gravest decisions the United States government must make. The criteria surrounding this jus bellum decision has changed throughout our history. The Weinberger "doctrine" is one set of criteria which has been used in the past but its demands, while essential to success in a middle or high level intensity conflict, makes it ineffective in the lower range of conflicts. During President Clinton's first term in office, there was no authoritative document that outlined Clinton's jus bellum criteria. To even attempt to decipher the administration's policies, one is forced to piecemeal various authors and their views and apply them to the respective mission ‑‑ conventional war, peace operations, or humanitarian.

The Clinton jus bellum criteria can be clearly and publicly defined and still remain flexible to support the dynamics of the changing world. It is the administration's responsibility to identify criteria for establishing when the U.S. military will be used. The paper recommends the set of j us bellum criteria to serve as guidelines for when we should use military forces.

 

Recommendation: The Clinton administration should develop and widely publish its jus bellum criteria.


 

 

Jus Bellum Criteria Weinberger versus Clinton (A study of U.S. military intervention)

The United States has entered into armed conflict numerous times throughout its history. The decision to commit our military forces (jus bellum decision[1]) and risk American lives is one of the gravest decisions the United States government must make. The criteria surrounding this jus bellum decision has changed throughout our history. The desire for independence and the theme of no taxation without representation during the American Revolution formed the basis for our first jus bellum decision. The preservation of the union was foremost in Lincoln's mind when deciding to go to war against the South. One of World War I's jus bellum criteria was to protect the freedom of the seas.[2] World War II, Korea, and Vietnam were all the result of a jus bellum determination by our leaders. Desert Storm and Somalia offer two more recent examples of armed conflict under the two most recent administrations. Desert Storm's jus bellum decision was influenced by the former Secretary of Defense, Mr. Casper Weinberger's "doctrine;" whereas the use of the military in the mission in Somalia and Haiti used President Clinton's criteria for committing our armed forces. Both sets of criteria supported the applicable National Security Strategy (NSS) and the corresponding National Military Strategy (NMS) which provide a focus/guide for our country's security concerns and use of military forces. As times changed and events occurred, our jus bellum criteria has changed however, one must ask now, which criteria -- Casper Weinberger's "doctrine"[3] versus President Clinton's -- should be used in committing our armed forces in the next four years? In addition to this question of the past, a more fundamental one remains for the future -- which jus bellum criteria should be used by the United States for the next four years during President Clinton's second term?

To answer this question, let us remember that the United States has to date followed a Clausewitzian theme, "When whole communities go to war, whole peoples, and especially civilized peoples, the reason lies in some political situation, and the occasion is always due to some political object."[4] However, since the end of the Cold War Americans have had difficulty in deciding when the military should intervene. Henry Kissinger described this when he said:

 

America's dominant task is to strike a balance between the twin temptations inherent in its exceptionalism: the notion that America must remedy every wrong and stabilize every dislocation, and the latent instinct to withdraw into itself. Indiscriminate involvement in all the ethnic turmoil and civil wars of the post-Cold War world would drain a crusading America. Yet an America that confines itself to the refinement of its domestic virtues would, in the end, abdicate America's security and prosperity to decisions made by other societies in faraway places and over which America would progressively lose control. Not every evil can be combated by America, even less by America alone. But some monsters need to be, if not slain, at least resisted. What is most needed are criteria for selectivity.[5]

With these premises understood, an examination of the Weinberger "doctrine" and President's Clinton's jus bellum criteria is necessary. Let us begin with the Weinberger "doctrine."[6]

 

Reflecting the Pentagon's post Vietnam wariness, Weinberger in 1984 set a high threshold for intervention. U.S. troops should be sent only when vital national interests area at stake, he said, with "the sole object of winning" and with a strategy and appropriately sized force for that goal. War should be a last resort, and it should be waged only with "some reasonable assurance" of congressional and public support. To avoid mission creep, the force and its objectives should be "continually reassessed and adjusted."[7]

 

This litmus test for using armed forces was further modified by General Colin Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) as we would also "focus on winning wars through use of overwhelming American military power."[8] The Powell influence was derived from his Vietna, experience.

 

Overwhelming force would be used. The enemy would be given no sanctuary; nor would there be any diplomatic pauses to let enemy forces catch their breath...A decisive victory would be achieved and American forces would be quickly withdrawn so as not to become entangled in the war's messy aftermath.[9]

Mr. Weinberger offered this reasoning for his "doctrine"

 

These tests I have just mentioned have been phrased negatively for a purpose -- they are intended to sound a note of caution -- caution that we must observe prior to committing forces to combat overseas. When we ask our military forces to risk their very lives in such situations, a note of caution is not only prudent, it is morally required.[10]

The 1990-1991 Iraqi Gulf War is the prime example for the use of the armed forces using the Weinberger "doctrine" as amended by General Powell. Against Iraq, the force structure aligned, via a coalition force, to protect our national interests and handle this major regional contingency. The armed forces were organized and followed the Weinberger "doctrine" which concentrated on massive overwhelming force to ensure objectives were met while limiting casualties. These jus bellum criteria for Desert Storm, epitomized the words of Frederick the Great when he said, " The faster the attack, the fewer the soldiers it costs. By making your battle short you will deprive it of the time to rob you of many soldiers."[11] The Weinberger "doctrine," with the Powell influence, typifies the classic American way of war, but may not be suitable for the next four years.

Describing the Clinton "doctrine" is an amalguous task. National Security Advisor Anthony Lake penned "three principles of how to use force: Credible threats are sometimes as good as the real thing; 'selective but substantial' force is sometimes better than massive force; and there should be an exit strategy."[12] These criteria are nowhere near as easily defined as the previous policy and have lead us into other than optimal situations. The prime example of an unidentifiable clear Clinton "doctrine" occurred in Somalia. Mission creep, caused by unclear United Nation objectives, was a factor in the deaths of the United States' military service members. "There, the limited Bush mission of feeding hungry people was overwhelmed by the open-ended add-on mission of bolstering, if not, inventing a government."[13]

The humanitarian mission...strayed from its purpose. U.S. troops began hunting for Somalia warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed...they were denied a request for heavier arms, and not long after, Aideed's forces in Mogadishu pinned down a group of Army Rangers, killing 18 Americans and dragging a body through the streets for the cameras.[14]

 

Another example of the unclear Clinton "doctrine" occurred with the first Haiti mission referred to as the Harlan County episode. In this instance, a "Navy amphibious ship arrived in Port au Prince, Haiti, for an ill-conceived State Department-inspired nation-building mission, but left when it was met at the pier by an angry mob."[15] Learning from these past mistakes and reevaluating the lesson of overwhelming force, subsequently, the Clinton administration exercised jus bellum when it prepared to attack Haiti. The U.S. deployed forces aboard two aircraft carriers and prepared to additionally deploy U.S. airborne forces in overwhelming force to overthrow the military junta without bloodshed.

In March 1996, the National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake and the Secretary of Defense, Dr. William Perry attempted to clarify when we should commit our military. In reality, they only added to the amalguous theme of a Clinton "doctrine" when they both proposed their own jus bellum criteria. Anthony Lake presented seven broad circumstances for his jus bellum criteria

 

1. To defend against direct attacks on the U.S., its citizens, and its allies;

2. To counter aggression;

3. To defend key economic interests;

4. To preserve, promote, and defend democracy;

5. To prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, international crime, and drug trafficking;

6. To maintain U.S. reliability; and

7. For humanitarian purposes.[16]

Dr. Perry outlined his views in the following manner

 

In general, any U.S. intervention will be undertaken only after thorough consideration of the following critical factors: whether the intervention advances U.S. interests; whether the intervention is likely to accomplish U.S. objectives; whether the risks and costs are commensurate with the U.S. interests at stake; and whether all other means of achieving U.S. objectives have been exhausted....Finally in some instances, the United States may act out of humanitarian concern, even in the absence of a direct threat to U.S. national interests.[17]

 

Further jus bellum criteria for the humanitarian mission have been defined by Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, a former chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, "conditions that have to be met include robust rules of engagement allowing American troops maximum force to defend themselves, limited goals, burden-sharing with allies, acceptance of the mission by host countries, and a clear entry and exit strategy."[18]

A further refinement of jus bellum criteria for peace operations, such as the Bosnia mission, is defined in Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD-25). Factors that are considered are:

-- Participation advances U.S. interests and both the unique and general risks to American personnel have been weighed and are considered acceptable;

-- Personnel, funds and other resources are available;

-- U.S. participation is necessary for operation's success;

-- The role of U.S. forces is tied to clear objectives and an endpoint for U.S. participation can be identified;

-- Domestic and Congressional support exists or can be marshaled;

-- Command and control arrangements are acceptable.

 

Additional, even more rigorous factors will be applied when there is the possibility of significant U.S. participation in Chapter VII operations that are likely to involve combat:

-- There exists a determination to commit sufficient forces to achieve clearly defined objectives;

-- There exists a plan to achieve those objectives decisively;

-- There exists a commitment to reassess and adjust, as necessary, the size, composition, and disposition of our forces to achieve our objectives.[19]

It could be easily argued that these criteria were not all met for the Bosnia operation. However, the Clinton administration has shown and has briefed the American public that our military forces were not committed until the criteria in PDD-25 were met.

The point to make is while there is in fact a Clinton "doctrine" in effect, one must piecemeal the various authors and their views and apply them to the respective mission -- conventional war, peace operations, or humanitarian. One should be able to review the NSS and the NMS and be able to derive the Clinton jus bellum doctrine. However, there are no authoritative documents that outline an over-arching Clinton jus bellum doctrine.

We have now examined two very different approaches to jus bellum criteria. The dilemma facing us at this time is which jus bellum criteria is more appropriate for the United States for the next four years? Is one criterion fundamentally better than the other? The key point to consider when evaluating the two must begin with the premise that the Clausewitzian theme mentioned earlier will remain as a guide "When whole communities go to war --whole peoples, and especially civilized peoples -- the reason lies in some political situation, and the occasion is always due to some political object."[20] The meaning behind this is while the National Command Authority will ultimately decide the jus bellum criteria, they will be influenced by the people and our military leaders. So, which criteria should be followed? Let us take a critical look at the limitations of both the Weinberger "doctrine" and the Clinton "doctrine"[21].

The main limitation to the Weinberger "doctrine" is its lack of suitability to peace-keeping missions. It would not have been suitable to the peace-keeping missions in either Somalia or Haiti. The Weinberger "doctrine" rigidity demands, while essential to success in a middle or high level intensity conflict, makes it ineffective in the lower range of conflicts.

The evolving Clinton jus bellum criteria has many criticisms also. Foremost of these is that there is no Clinton well-defined jus bellum criteria! In Somalia, the unclear United Nation objectives and "mission creep" so emphasized and feared in the Weinberger "doctrine", proved fatal to the special forces killed there. In Haiti, the Harlan County incident reiterated a lack of a clear Clinton "doctrine" once again. However, by the time the invasion of Haiti was executed, it could be said the Clinton "doctrine" that committed our forces was as successful in achieving its goals as the Weinberger "doctrine" for the armed forces who fought in the Gulf War.

So now that we have analyzed both sets of jus bellum criteria and found limitations to both, the fundamental question remains. What should be the Clinton jus bellum criteria? The first step and the key to this answer is Clinton's jus bellum criteria must be well-publicized. Taking this approach, President Clinton should not make the same mistake in his second term as president, the mistake being it was virtually impossible to describe the amalguous Clinton jus bellum criteria during his first term. This could be accomplished by allowing former senator William S. Cohen, the new Secretary of Defense, to become the public voice in defining the Clinton jus bellum criteria. This is the key to this issue. As the world's only remaining military superpower at this time, we must lead from the front, to do otherwise weakens our position. Publicizing our view in as clear terms as possible will help in establishing the geopolitical balance of power. Please note that Clinton jus bellum criteria is already defined through various sources, what is proposed is a well designed and widespread publication of the United States statement of policy during Clinton's second term as president. Wide publication of over-arching jus bellum criteria would not delineate every conceivable event when U.S. forces would be used to intervene, but would serve as a starting point by discussion for the National Command Authority, Congress, and the American public. .

Our jus bellum criteria should be based on our position as the world's military superpower. These missions fall across the military spectrum of conflict into categories, from nuclear and chemical/biological warfare, to conventional armed conflict, to peace-keeping, to humanitarian missions. Focusing our jus bellum criteria establishment to these four categories of the military conflict spectrum, while not all encompassing, would still allow flexible and selective engagement as defined in the National Military Strategy.[22] Not all military operations will fit nicely into these four categories or that all missions inside these categories will be clearly justified. However, the jus bellum decision making process will be eased initially if there are criteria to begin the discussion.

Before proposing the criteria, the following are the views of Secretary Cohen that address the categories. With regard to an overarching jus bellum theme, "In an interview with Armed Forces Radio and Television that was released...Cohen underscored a cautious approach to sending U.S. forces in harm's way...' Our force is there to defend American vital interests and important interests'."[23] When questioned about the peacekeeping missions

 

Cohen replied, ' We ought to be very careful in terms of how we deploy them and where we deploy them'... The former senator said America needs to engage in humanitarian operations "from time to time" but ..."not overindulge ourselves in employing them to humanitarian and other types of operations....there is no end to how many we can deploy our forces to, it has the long-term impact of undermining our readiness; it will have an impact upon morale, all of which would be to the detriment of the United States."[24]

With these comments being the National Command Authority members most recent thoughts on this issue, the following provides a more complete answer to the fundamental question of what should be the Clinton jus bellum criteria?

For committing the military to intervene in any situation the following criteria should apply:

1. Armed forces will be committed to protect the sovereignty of the United States.

2. Armed forces will be committed to protect access to the world's resources and free markets.

3. Armed forces will be committed to protect our nation's citizens security around the globe.

4. Armed forces will be committed to achieve a defined objective, with the support of the American people through their elected representatives, the nation's military leaders, and the elected government.

5. Once armed forces are committed, the mission must be continually assessed to ensure objectives under the intervention's rules of engagement can still be achieved successfully and if changed still retain the necessary public, military, and government support to adjust the size, composition, and disposition of the force.

6. If armed forces are committed, than the military will be given the control of operations with a set of rules of engagement that will allow them to succeed in achieving the intervention's objective.

For nuclear, chemical, or biological warfare intervention the following criteria also apply:

7. If warfare intervention of this type is necessary than Congressional leadership must be informed by the Commander-in-Chief .

For conventional armed conflict the following criteria also apply:

8. Armed forces will be committed to protect the national interests of the United States. Our national interests are varied, and these range from vital and major to marginal interests around the globe. These national interests are not limited to the criteria previously mentioned. Vital interests may include the protection of our allies from aggression; while a major interest may be the expansion of democracies. A marginal interest would most likely result in diplomatic measures originated by the state department and not result in the commitment of U.S. armed forces.

For peace-keeping military interventions the following criteria also apply:

9. The United Nations mandate, if applicable, should clarify United Nations Charter Chapter six or seven relevance.

10. Command and control of U.S. forces is acceptable to our military leaders and the government.

11. Commitment of our armed forces to this type of intervention/interventions should not severely risk our ability to achieve conventional warfare mission objectives.

For humanitarian military interventions the following criteria also apply:

12. Funds should be appropriated by Congress for the operation.

Commitment of our armed forces to this type of intervention/interventions does not jeopardize our ability to achieve conventional warfare mission objectives.

These criteria, if publicized in the National Security Strategy and in the Annual Report of the Secretary of Defense to Congress, while being publicly espoused by the Defense Secretary in the media would present our views in as clear terms as possible and would greatly assist in establishing the geopolitical balance of military intervention power.

In summary, the jus bellum decision, is one of the gravest decisions the United States government must make. The criteria surrounding this jus bellum decision has changed throughout our history. The Weinberger "doctrine" is one set of criteria which has been used in the past but its demands, while essential to success in a middle or high level intensity conflict, makes it ineffective in the lower range of conflicts. During President Clinton's first term in office, there was no authoritative document that outlined Clinton's jus bellum criteria. To even attempt to decipher the administration's policies, one is forced to piecemeal various authors and their views and apply them to the respective mission -- conventional war, peace operations, or humanitarian.

However, the Clinton jus bellum criteria can be clearly and publicly defined and still remain flexible to support the dynamics of the changing world. It is the administration's responsibility to identify criteria for establishing when the U.S. military will be used. Presently, the geopolitical situation does not advocate use of the Weinberger "doctrine" in the future, but the U.S. can establish guidelines of when our military will be used. Committing the military to intervene in a situation should meet the following general guidelines:

1. Armed forces will be committed to protect the sovereignty of the United States.

2. Armed forces will be committed to protect our access to the world's resources and free markets.

3. Armed forces will be committed to protect our nation's citizens global security.

4. Armed forces will be committed to achieve a defined objective, with the support of the American people through their elected representatives, the nation's military leaders, and the elected government.

5. Once armed forces are committed, the mission must be continually assessed to ensure the objectives under the intervention's rules of engagement can still be achieved successfully and if changed still retain the necessary public, military, and government support to adjust the size, composition, and disposition of the force.

6. If armed forces are committed, than the military will be given the control of operations with a set of rules of engagement that will allow them to succeed in achieving the intervention's objective.

It is our responsibility as the world's military superpower to lead. By defining our jus bellum criteria, we will assume the mantle of leadership and define a course of action into the future.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. National Military Strategy of 1995.

Clarke, Walter and Robert Gosende. "The Political Component: The Missing Vital Element in US Intervention Planning," Parameters, 21, no. 3, (autumn 1996), 37.

 

Clausewitz, Carl Von. On War. edited by Michael Howard and Peter Pa ret. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.

 

Dobbs, Michael." 'Clinton Doctrine' on Use of U.S. Troops Visible in Bosnia, Africa Missions." Washington Post, 16 November 1996, Sec. A20.

 

Department of Defense Report. "Proliferation: Threat and Response." April 1996, excerpt "Sales, Trades Spread Asian Nuclear Know-How." Defense 96, Issue 3.

 

Department of Defense Report. "Proliferation: Threat and Response." April 1996, excerpt "Staunching Global Weapons Proliferation." Defense 96, Issue 4.

 

Federal News Service. "State of the Union." Washington Post, 5 February 1997, Sec. A18.

 

Feulner, Edwin J. Jr. Dr. "What Are America's Vital Interests." Lecture 6 February 1996.

Yahoo search, under keyword "Heritage Foundation," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

 

Gordon, Michael R. and Bernard E. Trainor, General. "The Generals War." Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995.

 

Hiatt, Fred. "Shaky Grounds for Military Intervention." Washington Post, 7 October 1996, Sec. A21.

 

Hillen, John. The Heritage Foundation, "American Military Intervention: A User's Guide." from Anthony Lake. "Defining Missions, Setting Deadlines: Meeting New Security Challenges in the PostCold War World." speech at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 6 March 1996. Yahoo search, under keyword "Heritage Foundation," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

 

Hillen, John. The Heritage Foundation. "American Military Intervention: A User's

Guide," Backgrounder No. 1079, 2 May 1996. Yahoo search, under keyword "Heritage Foundation," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

Hillen, John. "Peace(keeping) in Our Time: The UN as a Professional Military Manager." Parameters, 21, no. 3, (autumn 1996).

 

Joseph, Robert G. "The Impact of NBC Proliferation on Doctrine and Operations." Joint Force Quarterly, (autumn 1996).

 

Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

 

Oakley, Robert B. "Developing a Strategy for Troubled States." Joint Force Quarterly, (summer 1996).

Perot, Geoffrey. A Country Made by War. New York: Random House, 1989.

Perry, William J. "Managing Danger: Prevent, Deter, Defeat." Defense 96, Issue 3.

 

Pexton, Patrick. "Balancing the Clinton record and the critics." Navy Times, 4 November 1996. 14.

 

Presidential Decision Directive 25. "Key Elements of the Clinton Administration's Policy on Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations." Yahoo search, under keyword "Policy /peaceops," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

 

Schafer, Susanne M. "Cohen Issues Caution on Peacekeeping." Washington Post, 25 January 1997, Sec. A8.

 

Unknown, "Mission Creep." Washington Post, 29 October 1996, Sec. A16.

 

Weinberger, Casper. "Text of Remarks by Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger to the National Press Club." November 28, 1984. Defense 96, Issue 3.

 

White, John P. "Out sourcing stretches DOD Dollars." Defense 96, Issue 3.

 

The White House. A National Security Strategy Of Engagement an Engagement. February 1996

 



[1] Jus bellum is a military term derived from the Latin words jus and bellicosus, jus meaning justice and bellicosus meaning war. The term jus bellum refers to the process of determining if military action is legally justifiable under the scrutiny of the nation's laws.

[2] Geoffrey Perot, A Country Made by War, (New York: Random House, 1989), 25-92.

 

[3] The Weinberger "doctrine" is not doctrine in the military definition of the word. Secretary Weinberger's policies have become popularized in the media as "doctrine"; so it will refer to his jus bellum criteria and President Clinton's policies as doctrine even though it is an improper military definition.

 

[4] Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 87.

 

[5] Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 832-833.

 

[6] See note 3.

 

[7] Fred Hiatt, "Shaky Grounds for Military Intervention," Washington Post, 7 October 1996, Sec. A21.

 

[8] Michael Dobbs, " 'Clinton Doctrine' on Use of U.S. Troops Visible in Bosnia, Africa Missions," Washington Post, 16 November 1996, Sec. A20.

[9] Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, "The Generals War," ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995), 468.

 

[10] Casper Weinberger, "Text of Remarks by Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger to the National Press Club," November 28, 1984. Defense 96, Issue 3.

 

[11] Gordon and Trainor 355.

 

[12] Hiatt, A20.

 

[13] Unknown. "Mission Creep," Washington Post, 29 October 1996, Sec. A16.

 

[14] Patrick Pexton, "Balancing the Clinton record and the critics," Navy Times, 4 November 1996, 14.

 

[15] Pexton, 14.

 

[16] John Hillen, The Heritage Foundation, "American Military Intervention: A user's Guide," from Anthony Lake, "Defining Missions, Setting Deadlines: Meeting New Security Challenges in the Post-Cold War World," speech at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., 6 March 1996, Yahoo search, under keyword "Heritage Foundation," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

 

[17] Secretary of Defense, "Annual Report to President and the Congress," March 1996.

 

[18] Dobbs, A20.

 

[19] Federal State Department. Presidential Decision Directive 25. "Key Elements of the Clinton Administration's Policy on Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations." Yahoo search, under keyword "Policy /peaceops," downloaded from Internet 6 January 1997.

 

[20] Clausewitz, 87.

 

[21] See note 3.

 

[22] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of 1995.

 

[23] Susanne M. Schafer, "Cohen Issues Caution on Peacekeeping," Washington Post, 25 January 1997, Sec. A8.

 

[24] Schafer, A8.

 

 

 



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