‘Right Intent’: The Moral Dimension of Exit

  • Desiree Verweij
Part of the NL ARMS book series (NLARMS)


The moral dimension of exit is closely related to the moral dimension of entry. Notably, when the entry is highly questioned from a moral perspective, by many different actors, there are bound to be moral problems with regard to exit as well. This point will be illustrated by a discussion of the situation in Iraq from the contested entry in 2003 until the present. A firm basis in Just War principles, with a special focus on ‘right intent’ will prove helpful with regard to both entry and exit strategies and with regard to the present-day pendant of Just War, ‘The responsibility to protect’. ‘Right intent’ is seen in the classical Just War tradition as the appropriate inward disposition. It implies no separation in ‘ad bellum’, ‘in bello’ and ‘post bellum’ and is in all these phases aimed at the realisation of ‘peace as the tranquillity of an order ruled by the doing of justice’. This ‘appropriate inward disposition’ seems indispensable in the present-day discussions on entry and exit strategies. In similar ways as the ius ad bellum, in bello and post bellum aspects need to be viewed from the perspective of ‘right intent’, the entry and exit aspects of an intervention need the same ‘appropriate inward disposition’ perspective, which implies acknowledging the responsibilities and obligations and thus the moral dimension that connects entry and exit. In that sense the envisaged exit might lead to a different entry and as such breaks open an opposition that proves hard to maintain from a moral perspective.


Just War right intent ius post bellum connection between entry and exit Iraq ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Defence AcademyBredaThe Netherlands

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