The U.S. led, multinational invasions and occupations of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 caused, directly and indirectly, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and created displacement crises that continue to this day. i Despite the on-going consequences of these actions, and immediate needs of millions of people, U.S. and allied responses have been slow, narrow, and inadequate with regard to basic humanitarian aid and protection. ii In 2006, for example, the United States Government created programs to issue Special Immigrant Visas to a limited number of Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the U.S. military in various capacities. iii These programs were created to help the “friends” of the U.S. that assisted in its war efforts as interpreters, translators, embassy staff, and in other roles. iv In this way, the U.S. Government recognizes limited duties to those who worked for the U.S. occupation forces while millions of others who were negatively affected by the invasions and occupations are given no such consideration.

Yet as this paper will argue, and if it is indeed possible, the United States and its allies have an obligation to attempt to redress the harm that they have caused more broadly. v I draw upon discussions of international ethics to support the general claim that states have duties to redress the harm that they cause, even to outsiders. Then, following what Shelley Wilcox calls the global harm principle (GHP), I demonstrate that the states involved in military action in Afghanistan and Iraq have particular duties and obligations to assist everyone negatively affected, not just “friends”. It is important to establish the U.S. and allied responsibility for the immense harm they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq for several reasons. First, these wars have had lasting, and terrible consequences for millions of real people who deserve a way to make claims against the U.S. and its allies. Second, as the harm done to these individuals is on-going, there is an urgent responsibility for the U.S. and its allies to do everything possible to provide redress in order to ameliorate the consequences of these wars, which I describe in greater detail below.

This paper first considers what Richard Shapcott classifies as “cosmopolitan” and “anti-cosmopolitan” positions on international ethics, examining what responsibilities states have to those outside their borders. After establishing that from multiple perspectives there is a strong case for duties to redress harm done to outsiders, I examine the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the harm they have caused as well as some of the limited responses to this harm. Next, I consider Shelley Wilcox's global harm principle, which states that “societies should not harm foreigners” and societies that do harm foreigners must end that harm immediately as well as compensate the victims of their actions. vi I demonstrate that the US and its allies meet the five conditions of the GHP including: undertaking “causally relevant” actions that created human rights deficits in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as actions that “initiate[d], facilitate[d] [and] sustain[ed] human rights deficits; that the effects of these actions were avoidable and foreseeable; and that citizens of the U.S., U.K. and other countries are collectively accountable for their governments' actions.” vii

After establishing the grounds upon which the obligation rests, I consider how the U.S. and its allies might begin to discharge the duties of the GHP by expanding their refugee resettlement programs to admit any non-combatants from Afghanistan or Iraq who wishes to resettle. For those who do not wish to resettle, I argue that greater funds should be made available in the form of direct cash transfers to individuals and greater funding for international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). I draw upon precedents of reparations in international law and practice to support this recommendation. Such responses are needed in order to create decent conditions for persons seeking refuge. Finally, I consider several of the key trade-offs implied by the GHP when implemented in a “non-ideal” world.

Duties to Outsiders: Cosmopolitan and Anti-Cosmopolitan Perspectives

Before examining the particular case of the U.S. led invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, it is important to consider a range of general arguments surrounding what duties and obligations, if any, states have to those outside of their borders. In his 2013 work International Ethics: A Critical Introduction, Richard Shapcott provides an overview of a range of ethical positions relating to these issues. Placing a number of diverse positions on a spectrum, Shapcott broadly classifies positions in two categories: cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan. viii Cosmopolitanism, though by no means homogeneous, typically holds that one should not be indifferent to the suffering of those outside of one's group, community, or state and should fulfill duties owed to outsiders. Some go as far as argue that no moral distinction can be made between insiders and outsiders. ix In contrast, the views on the anti-cosmopolitan end of the spectrum, which include realists, pluralists, nationalists and communitarians, typically consider the communities into which humanity is divided to hold their own moral standards relevant only internally to these communities. As a result of this starting position, an anti-cosmopolitan view holds that obligations are primarily owed to fellow community members; duties to outsiders are limited. x

In view of these two orientations, cosmopolitan arguments in favor of responsibilities to outsiders are easier to elaborate. An essential feature of multiple strands of cosmopolitan thought is a recognition that in an interconnected world, one ought to begin to “assess the morality of one's acts at least in part in light of the acceptability of their consequences by everyone affected by them, regardless of borders, territorial or otherwise.” xi For cosmopolitans like Shapcott, it is important to understand that humans belong to both their communities of birth or adoption and the “community of humankind.” xii As a result, obligations to friends, neighbors, and compatriots must be balanced with obligations to strangers with the latter taking priority in some cases. As we will see, the harm done in Afghanistan and Iraq constitute such cases.

Anti-cosmopolitan justifications for redressing the harm done to outsiders can be found, but they are less self-evident. As previously noted, anti-cosmopolitan approaches to ethics hold that there are duties owed primarily to fellow members of a community and limited or perhaps no duties owed to outsiders. xiii From this perspective, those duties owed to outsiders are primarily negative, such as non-intervention. xiv However, in some cases, when negative duties are violated, positive duties are triggered. One such case is the violation of the negative duty to “do no harm.” xv Therefore, even for anti-cosmopolitans while the needs and interests of the community have priority over those of outsiders in general, the harm done by the community can create specific “causal responsibility” to redress that harm. xvi Communitarian theorist Michael Walzer goes so far as to say that it is “obviously the case” that there is a obligation toward those “we have helped turn into refugees.”xvii Shapcott points to this recognition by some anti-cosmopolitans and emphasizes this point specifically in relation to the destabilizing effects of the U.S. led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. xviii As we can see then, both cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan positions can be consistent with duties to outsiders and both positions take seriously the moral obligation to those harmed.

The global harm principle as developed by Shelley Wilcox relies on implicitly cosmopolitan premises. xix Wilcox writes that the prohibition against harming outsiders is “easily justified on egalitarian grounds.” xx If we accept the egalitarian premise that “all persons deserve equal moral respect,” then “there are no legitimate grounds for claiming that harm to non- citizens is any less morally problematic than harm to citizens.” xxi For the arguments presented in this paper, I adopt a similar broadly cosmopolitan starting position. However, if such purely egalitarian grounds are less convincing for those on the anti-cosmopolitan end of the spectrum, one final position to consider is that of relational egalitarianism. In contrast to the universal egalitarianism to which Wilcox appeals or “luck egalitarian” arguments, proponents of relational egalitarianism argue that inequalities are “morally problematic” if they arise from “oppressive social relationships.” xxii The relationship between occupied and occupier certainly qualifies with vast inequalities between the U.S. and its allies and Afghanistan and Iraq. For relational egalitarians justice requires abolishing such relationships. Though relying on a more limited concept of equality, relational egalitarianism can be seen as consistent with the cosmopolitan aims of the global harm principle. Additionally, Walzer writes that the “injury” done to outsiders creates an “affinity” between the community and the outsiders it has harmed. xxiii Therefore, relational egalitarian arguments for redressing harm done by oppressive social relationships are also consistent with an anti-cosmopolitan framework of the positive duties generated from violating the “do no harm” principle.

After considering cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan positions regarding what duties are owed to outsiders, it should be clear that both positions allow for acceptance of particular duties owed to those harmed by the community, regardless of their membership. Having established that the duty to redress harm, both within and between states, is consistent with multiple ethical positions, the next section explores the specific harm done by the U.S. led invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and the limited responses to this harm.

Invasion, Displacement, and Resettlement

Regardless of stated principles, aims, or objectives, the use of military force kills and maims civilians and combatants, destroys homes, and uproots lives. The U.S. and allied invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq are no different and it is important to understand the extent of violence done in these countries. Consider the following, brief, profile of only some of the results of these wars.

Estimates of the numbers of civilians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq range from around 200,000 to more than 1.2 million. xxiv Throughout the decade and a half since these conflicts began, millions more have been displaced from their homes as a result of violence and instability. Even though the wars were officially declared over, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there were more than 900,000 Afghans internally displaced and more than 2.6 million seeking refuge in another country in 2015. xxv In Iraq, UNHCR estimates that nearly 4 million individuals are internally displaced, with nearly 400,000 more seeking refuge in another country. xxvi Despite the enormous human consequences of these wars, the United States and its allies have done relatively little to provide redress, particularly in relation to allowing persons seeking refuge to enter their countries.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example, 29,740 Afghans and 105,947 Iraqis were admitted with lawful permanent residency status (LPR) to the United States from 2003 to 2013. xxvii Compare this with the more than 13 million total immigrants granted LPR status in the same period. Combined, both groups only represent around 1 percent of total immigration since the beginnings of the U.S. and allied wars in these countries. As another point of comparison, nearly 1 million displaced Afghans are currently residing in Iran and more than 1.5 million are residing in Pakistan. xxviii

Of the slightly more than 130,000 Afghans and Iraqis allowed into the U.S. since 2001, around 6,500 Afghans and 95,000 Iraqis resettled in the U.S. under the United States Resettlement Assistance Program (USRAP), which admitted a total of around 633,000 in that same period. xxix In addition to the USRAP, a small number of Afghans and Iraqis were allowed to enter the country under the Special Immigrant Visa Program (SIV). This program was created in 2006 to make a limited number of visas available for the tens of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis who worked for the US occupation forces in these countries. xxx Qualification for the program requires not only former employment with the U.S. but also demonstration of on-going threat to safety as a result of this employment. The program admitted around 37,000 Afghans and Iraqis between its founding and 2015. xxxi

To consider another example, the Polish Government has offered each former Iraqi employees “full resettlement” or a one-time payment of $40,000 if they choose to remain in Iraq. xxxii Programs such as these seek to fulfill an obligation to “friends” of the war efforts. xxxiii Kirk Johnson, the founder of The List Project, a non-profit that has pushed for expansion of the SIV program, writes that the U.S. has “urgent moral obligation to resettle” Iraqis who face danger as a result of their work for it. xxxiv In this way, such programs implicitly and explicitly acknowledge the duties created when the “do no harm” principle is violated, though they are much more limited in their scope than a more cosmopolitan response called for by the global harm principle.

While the SIV and similar programs targeted toward “friends” of the war effort may start to fulfill the obligation to redress harm done by the U.S. and allies, they are insufficient given their narrow focus. Perhaps without knowing it, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell recognized a more cosmopolitan duty toward those harmed in war when he told then U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002 that a war in Iraq would make him the “proud owner of 25 million people... their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all.” xxxv While I disagree that the U.S. “owns” Iraq/Iraqis (or Afghanistan/Afghans), the underlying sentiment is that war creates an obligation to all the people against whom it is waged and, in particular, to non-combatant innocent bystanders.

The damage done to the lives of millions in these countries and the on-going violence they face is every bit as real for those who did not work for the invading armies as for those who did. As we have seen, the response to this damage has only provided assistance to a small fraction of those harmed by these wars. With this established, the next section seeks to clearly elaborate the case for why and how the United States and its allies have a larger obligation to all Afghans and Iraqis harmed by the wars in these countries.

Obligation and the Global Harm Principle

In 2005, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan declared that the U.S. and allied nations' invasion of Iraq in 2003 was illegal. xxxvi Many have argued for this conclusion, citing the requirement of authorization for military action under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter as well as looking to the Nuremburg principles, particularly the “supreme crime” of waging a war of aggression. xxxvii These arguments are convincing, yet I do not want to tarry long on the issue of legality. Even military actions deemed legal, of which the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan is a illustrative case in point, have far reaching consequences for combatants and non-combatants.

A bomb dropped in Afghanistan kills non-combatants and destroys property just as a bomb dropped in Iraq and the legality of the former makes it no less deadly. Even if a military campaign intends to target only enemy combatants, it is rarely the case that warfare plays out with such restrictions. xxxviii The U.N. mandate to invade Afghanistan did not prevent massive displacement and the lack of mandate in Iraq did not precipitate it. If we focus too intently on issues of legality of the use of force, we may risk obstructing the real, human toll violent conflicts take. Therefore it is important to develop the normative and moral framework for establishing who is responsible for the damage done and what obligations they have to redress it.

Having already established that an argument for a general duty to redress harm is consistent with both cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan positions, Shelley Wilcox's discussion of a global harm principle (GHP) presents a strong framework upon which to demonstrate the specific obligations created by the U.S. and allied invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. xxxix Following from the already discussed liberal “do no harm” principle, which entails a duty not to harm others as well as to provide compensation if and when harm is done, Wilcox expands this principle beyond state borders. xl She writes that a “preliminary version of the GHP can be stated as follows: societies should not harm foreigners; and societies that violate this duty must: (1) stop harming these foreigners immediately; and (2) compensate their victims for the harm they have already caused them.” xli

Let me quickly elaborate what is meant by the notion of harm. Wilcox notes that since the GHP is primarily concerned with the harm that crosses state borders it is necessary to understand harm in a way that can gain cross-cultural acceptance. As a result she develops what she calls a “modest conception of harm” that includes “setbacks” to one’s basic welfare interests. Such interests include “physical integrity, adequate food, drink, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education, safe environment, and basic political liberties.” xlii These basic welfare interests are broadly consistent with, according to Wilcox, human rights discourse and as such she frames the global harm principle as harm that causes a human rights deficit. Millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered such human rights deficits as a result of the U.S. and allied invasions and occupations. xliii

With this conception of harm in mind, Wilcox sets out five general conditions to establish collective societal responsibility for imposing a human rights deficit. I will consider each condition in light of U.S. and allied actions and thereby demonstrate that the U.S. and its allies have triggered under the GHP an obligation to provide redress to Afghans and Iraqis.

The first condition is that party A's (hereafter U.S. Government and allies) conduct is “causally relevant” to party B’s (hereafter Afghanistan and Iraq) human rights deficit. Causally relevant conduct includes any “condition in the set of antecedent conditions that were jointly sufficient to produce [Afghanistan and Iraq’s] deficit.” xliv Condition B states that U.S. Government and allies’ actions constitute a “critically necessary causal factor” in the production of a human rights deficit. A critically necessary causal factor must “initiate, facilitate, or sustain” the human rights deficit sustained in Afghanistan and Iraq. xlv The use of military force in Afghanistan and Iraq, the toppling of the governments in both countries, the long term occupations, wide-spread torture, destruction of civilian infrastructure and the support for newly install governments which themselves have violated human rights all combined to violate the human rights of millions from 2001 onward and thus fulfill conditions A and B. xlvi

Condition C stipulates that the U.S. Government and allies could reasonably avoid producing the human rights deficits and that “alternative conduct would not produce comparable harm.” xlvii In the case of Afghanistan, the bombing and invasion of which were ostensibly to capture the alleged architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, alternatives to military invasion were certainly available. xlviii There are multiple examples of intergovernmental negotiations to turn over terrorism suspects including French negotiations with Sudan and Dutch negotiations with Libya to turn over the Lockerbie bombing suspects. xlix We might also consider the apprehension of suspects in the November 2015 bombings in Paris through police investigation rather than military action. l In the case of Iraq, just days before the invasion on March 20, 2003, the UN Security Council issued a statement that weapons inspectors had found no evidence that the Iraqi Government had attempted to revive its “weapons of mass destruction” programs and that completed verification could not take place instantaneously. li One alternative, then, was to wait for the weapons inspectors to complete their work and confirm that the major claim for going to war, that Saddam Hussein had “WMDs,” was in fact false. lii After such time, independent of inspection outcome, diplomacy could have continued. liii

Condition D entails demonstrating that the U.S. Government and allies actions could “foreseeably” give rise to human rights deficits. Civilian casualties, destruction of infrastructure and displacement are all foreseeable outcomes of any military engagement. It is highly unlikely that analysts working for the U.S. Government or its allies did not anticipate such consequences in Afghanistan and declassified documents reveal that they specifically anticipated these outcomes in Iraq. The U.S. National Intelligence Council issued a report before the 2003 invasion which anticipated an increase in the likelihood of extremism and violence as a result of military action taken against the government of Saddam Hussein. liv A second report issued around the same time foreshadowed that an estimated 900,000 to 1.45 million new persons would be displaced as a result of a “Baghdad-center military operation.” lv Furthermore, given the large scale burning of oil wells during the 1991 Gulf War it was highly likely that similar environmentally damaging actions would take place again as a result of the 2003 invasion. lvi Clearly, condition D is satisfied.

Finally, condition E is satisfied to the extent that members of a society, in this case American, British and other allied nations, are collectively accountable for the conduct of their governments. On this point Wilcox cites Debra Satz, who argues that individuals may still be responsible for the actions of their governments, even if they did not directly cause or endorse those actions. Satz argues it is possible to distinguish between personal and civic responsibility. lvii The latter allows us to “legitimately” hold members of a society accountable by “pointing to their responsibilities as members of a society that did commit wrongdoing.” lviii In the civic responsibility view then, those members of U.S. or British society who may not have voted for the governments that launched these wars can still be held accountable for their consequences. According to Wilcox citizens have “collective vicarious accountability” for the actions of their democratically elected governments. lix As David Miller notes, “the more open and democratic a political community is, the more justified we are in holding its members responsible for the decisions they make and the policies they follow.” lx The U.S. and U.K., which both claim themselves as democracies, led the initial bombings of Afghanistan and Iraq and sent by far the largest numbers of soldiers into combat. In Afghanistan, early occupation participants such as France, Germany, and Italy are also democracies. lxi In Iraq, Australia and Poland, also both democracies, rounded out the initial invasion forces. lxii Though none of these countries can be said to be perfect democracies, Freedom House ranks all of these states as “free” and all are typically ranked relatively highly on scales of democratic regimes around the world. lxiii

As a result, because the citizens of these countries have, ostensibly, given their governments the power to act in their names, these citizens take on the accountability for the consequences of their respective governments’ actions. lxiv In light of this responsibility, individuals in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere must play a role in remedying the harm that their governments have caused. The United States and its allies meet all five criteria of the global harm principle and, therefore, initiate obligations to fulfill the duties under this principle: first, to stop imposing human rights deficits and, second, to “compensate victims for the deficits already imposed.” lxv The next section will consider what compensation is appropriate.

Redressing Harm

The previous section demonstrated that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq meet the criteria to establish an obligation under the global harm principle for the U.S. and its allies. We can now consider what remedies the United States and its allies can pursue in order to live up to this obligation. Wilcox writes that:

“Ideally, a society will simply stop violating human rights and compensate victims in their own communities. In some cases, however, immigrant admissions will be an appropriate means of fulfilling these duties. Indeed, admissions will be mandatory if the resettlement of victims or potential victims is the only means by which these duties can be discharged.” lxvi
In light of this argument, the United States and its allies should increase the numbers of Afghans and Iraqis that they allow to enter into their countries as immigrants seeking permanent residence. The on-going instability in both Afghanistan and Iraq further increase the strength of the case for expanded resettlement opportunities. As we have seen, the United States permanently resettles tens of thousands of individuals under the USRAP every year yet relatively few are allowed to resettle from Afghanistan and Iraq. The recommendation of resettlement is not novel, and others have recommended “mass resettlement” as a way to recognize and uphold the “historic, moral, and political responsibility” that the U.S. and its allies have to all of those harmed by the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. lxvii The option of voluntary resettlement should be available to all those non-combatants from Afghanistan and Iraq who wish to resettle in the U.S. or allied states involved with the invasions and occupations. Furthermore, in order to avoid hardship upon entering resettlement countries, the material needs of persons seeking refuge should be subsidized, at least temporarily, once they enter countries of refuge. lxviii

For those who do not wish to resettle or for those who do not find resettlement a viable option, an alternative is financial reparations through direct cash transfers. lxix Not only does the GHP make a strong case for such course of action to address the harm done, but there are strong precedents for reparations paid both by states to other states and by states to individuals. The idea of reparations has a long history in human societies. As redress for war damages reparations date back to at least the Peace at Westphalia of 1648. In 1928 the Permanent Court of International Justice determined that a violation of international obligations trigger an automatic duty to make reparations. lxx In a well known case, after World War II West Germany paid reparations to victims of the Holocaust. lxxi More recently, the current government of Iraq is still paying reparations to Kuwait for the 1990 invasion launched by the Saddam Hussein government. lxxii Finally, the International Criminal Court (ICC) incorporates a “reparations system,” which according to Evan Dwertmann, is innovative in international law. The ICC moves beyond a “traditional inter-state approach” and allows individual and group victims to claim reparations from individual perpetrators. lxxiii

The U.S. and allies can and should also provide increased funding for organizations which are providing assistance to those displaced. Those who have been forced to flee often have little recourse in the short term but to turn to aid agencies for assistance in meeting their immediate needs such as food, shelter, medical care, and physical security. While organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are by no means perfect, provision of greater funding for such organizations is necessary to address the material needs of persons seeking refuge in the immediate term. lxxiv UNHCR is working directly with individuals in need in countries bordering Afghanistan and Iraq such as Jordan and Turkey and because of large scale displacement crises in these countries and beyond has faced a budget shortfall in the past year. lxxv This shortfall adds additional urgency to the need for the U.S. and its allies to live up to their responsibility. These recommendations, prioritizing Afghan and Iraqi refugee admissions and paying reparations, are consistent with the cosmopolitan aims of the GHP as well as both anti-cosmopolitan acknowledgement of the more general “do no harm” principle and the concept of relational egalitarianism already considered. In the final section, we will consider several of the potential objections and trade-offs to these duties.

Trade-Offs to Applying the GHP

Beyond the ethical and moral basis for duties owed to those harmed in Afghanistan and Iraq, implementing public policy, such as resettlement and reparation, requires navigating priorities in a world bounded by practical concerns. As a result, in addition to the ethical and moral questions of whether states have duties toward outsiders and what those duties are, there are empirical questions about the feasibility and trade-offs of implementing programs to redress this harm given the constraints of the world in which we live.

The first practical consideration concerns the scale of immigration implied by the GHP. In the current world of states, governments control borders and migrants. An increased number of Afghans and Iraqis admitted to the United States and allied countries could either lead to a reduction in the number of other immigrants allowed each year or increase the total number of immigrants entering these countries. Wilcox recognizes this, and writes that the GHP is a principle for setting immigration priorities in a “non-ideal world.” lxxvi In this way it acknowledges the existing state prerogative to limit absolute numbers of immigrants but provides an argument for why particular immigrants should be prioritized. Therefore, if governments decide that overall migration rates should remain constant, the GHP provides an argument for reducing some immigration categories while increasing others. Though this prioritization would have impacts on the immigration categories that are limited, the reprioritization and its effects would be temporary.

It is also possible, however, that governments could increase the total amount of immigration temporarily, therefore limiting the negative consequences for immigrants not from Afghanistan or Iraq. Though the situations are distinct in many ways, we might look to the precedent of large scale immigration to former colonial metropoles such as France and the Netherlands in the decades after the dissolution of European empires. lxxvii In a more recent example, the German Government prioritized allowing persons seeking refuge to enter the country, accepting 500,000 more immigrants in 2015 than 2014. lxxviii Furthermore, immigration rates are never static. The U.S. granted 375,000 more immigrants lawful permanent residency status (LPR) in 2006 than in 2000, for example. And between 1989 and 1991 granting of LPR status ballooned from 641,346 to 1,826,595; nearly tripling in a three year period. lxxix The take away is that policy can be changed and large, wealthy countries have found ways to incorporate significant influxes of immigrants in the past and likely can again.

The second, and related, potential objection to these recommendations concerns prioritization of national resources. In an atmosphere of austerity with services for domestic populations cut in recent years, many might wonder why resources should be diverted to outsiders. But arguments that there simply are not enough resources to both provide adequate support to domestic populations and for redressing harm to outsiders are largely unconvincing. Economist Gabriel Zucman estimates that $7.6 trillion, 8 percent of the world’s total wealth, is currently held in offshore tax havens. lxxx Ending the loopholes that allow this situation could yield more than $110 billion per year in tax revenue for governments in Europe and the United States. In 2013, Oxfam estimated that the net income of the 100 riches individuals in the world, $240 billion, could end poverty in the world four times over. lxxxi The point here is not to propose tax policy but rather to point out that a lack of resources is not, in fact, the issue; distribution of resources is the issue.

In addition to a misdistribution of resources worldwide, different priorities can be set for the resources more readily available to governments. The U.S. U.K, and France, for example, plan to spend more than $1.3 trillion dollars over the next 30 years to maintain and upgrade their nuclear weapons capabilities. lxxxii It should be recalled that the U.S., U.K., France and other states have a binding legal obligation to eliminate all of their nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. lxxxiii The fact that these governments are planning to spend large sums on maintaining rather than eliminating nuclear weapons speaks to the issue of priorities, rather than an actual deficit in available funds.

Trade-offs exist with any policy decisions in a non-ideal world. The question of whether governments can and will use resources to resettle and pay reparations is one of priorities, not moral dispute. The existence of trade-offs does not absolve the U.S. and its allies from the duties it has to those harmed in the course of these conflicts. In light of the real and lasting human toll these wars have taken on individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq, the financial trade-offs must be secondary to providing material assistance to these individuals.


Noam Chomsky puts it succinctly when he writes that: “One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions.” lxxxiv As we have seen, the violence and suffering resulting from the U.S. and allied invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were as far reaching as they were predictable. In order to address the real, material needs of those still suffering, as well as to reduce harm in the future, it is critically important that the U.S. and its allies accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions and attempt to redress these harms through resettlement and financial reparations.

Finally, as Wilcox explains, the global harm principle is “a powerful admissions principle; however, it is not the only normative principle required to guide a just liberal immigration policy.” lxxxv This is perhaps particularly true for the United States as it is currently involved directly or indirectly militarily in more than 100 countries. lxxxvi A case for applying the GHP can likely be made far beyond Afghanistan and Iraq to countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. Because of the United States' regular and far reaching use of military power, resettling and paying reparations to individuals from everywhere the U.S. is engaged militarily would likely become impossible unless all other immigration to the U.S. were halted and large amounts of the budget were allocated for reparations. In light of this, the stringent requirement to redress harm done could be a compelling reason for some governments to supplement immigration and reparation policies with a transformation of decision making processes that take these requirements into account as a higher long-term priority outweighing short-term interests.

Works Cited

i An earlier version of this paper was presented at the “Impasse: Unsolvable Migration, Indestructible Borders, and Permanent Immigration Crises” graduate symposium at Virginia Tech on April 28, 2016. I would like to thank Christian Matheis for helpful comments throughout the writing process as well as Hirbohd Hedayat for insightful feedback on an early draft.

ii United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR Mid-Year Trends 2015. 2015. The United States has been involved both directly and indirectly in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq since the late 1970s, however, this paper focuses on the period after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq.

iii Congressional Research Service. Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs. By Andorra Bruno. 2015.

iv Kirk W. Johnson, To Be a Friend Is Fatal (New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; New Delhi: Scribner, 2013).

v The United States was the primary actor in both conflicts, supported by the United Kingdom. The initial invasion of Afghanistan was carried out by the U.S., U.K. and Australia and the initial invasion of Iraq was carried out by the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Poland. Many other states participated at various points. For a full accounting, see: Center for Military History: United States Army. Allied Participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom. By Stephan A. Carney. Washington, D.C., 2011.

vi Shelley Wilcox, “Immigrant Admissions and Global Relations of Harm,” Journal of Social Philosophy 38, no. 2 (2007).

vii Ibid., 277.

viii Richard Shapcott, International Ethics: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Policy Press, 2013), 8.

ix Ibid., 15.

x Ibid., 8-9.

xi Pablo de Greiff, “Habermas on Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism,” Ratio Juris 15, no. 4 (2002): 419.

xii Shapcott 229, International Ethics, 229.

xiii Ibid., 59; Robert Audi, “Nationalism, Patriotism, and Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Globalization,” The Journal of Ethics 13, no. 4 (2009): 366.

xiv Shapcott 229, International Ethics, 8, 219.

xv Ibid., 115.

xvi Ibid., 115-116, 213-214.

xvii Michael Walzer, Spheres Of Justice: A Defense Of Pluralism And Equality (New York: Basic Books, 2008): 49.

xviii Shapcott 229, International Ethics, 115.

xix Peter W. Higgins, Immigration Justice (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013): 105.

xx Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 277-278.

xxi Ibid., 277-278.

xxii Shelley Wilcox, “Do Duties to Outsiders Entail Open Borders? A Reply to Wellman,” Philosophical Studies 169 (2012): 124.

xxiii Walzer, Spheres of Justice, 49.

xxiv “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Body Count - Casualty Figures after 10 Years on the ‘War on Terror.’ ” Washington, DC, Berlin, Ottawa, 2015; Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University. War-Related Death, Injury and Displacement. By Neta C. Crawford. Boston, 2015.

xxv “2015 UNHCR Country Operations Profile - Afghanistan,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, accessed April 16, 2016, 2015.

xxvi “2015 UNHCR Country Operations Profile - Iraq,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, accessed April 16, 2016,

xxvii U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2002. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003; U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2013. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2014.

xxviii “2015 UNHCR Country Operations Profile - Islamic Republic of Iran,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, accessed April 1, 2016,; “2015 UNHCR Country Operations Profile - Pakistan,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, accessed April 1, 2016,

xxix Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2002; Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2013.

xxx Joseph Sassoon, The Iraqi Refugees: The New Crisis in the Middle-East (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2008), 112; Bruno, Visa Programs, 2015.

xxxi Congressional Research Service. Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Programs. By Andorra Bruno. 2016, 9,10.

xxxii “Iraq — 2007-Present,” The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, accessed April 15, 2016,

xxxiii Johnson, To Be a Friend Is Fatal.

xxxiv “Home,” The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, accessed April 15, 2016,

xxxv Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 150.

xxxvi Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, “Iraq War Was Illegal and Breached UN Charter, Says Annan,” The Guardian, last modified September 15, 2004,

xxxvii Ronald C. Kramer and Raymond J. Michalowski, “War, Aggression and State Crime,” British Journal of Criminology 45, no. 4 (2005): 446-469; Jury of Conscience, “Declaration of Jury of Conscience World Tribunal on Iraq: Istanbul 23-27 June 2005,” Feminist Review 81 (2005): 95–102.

xxxviii Jeremy Scahill, “The Drone Papers,” The Intercept, last modified October 15, 2015,

xxxix Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 274–291.

xl Ibid., 277.

xli Ibid., 277.

xlii Ibid., 279.

xliii Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel, “Adverse Health Consequences of US Government Responses to the 2001 Terrorist Attacks,” The Lancet 378, no. 9794 (2011).

xliv Ibid., 280.

xlv Ibid., 280.

xlvi Erin Evers, “To Defeat ISIS, the US Needs to Hold the Iraqi Government Accountable, Too,” Human Rights Watch, last modified September 28, 2014,; Nils Rosemann, “The Privatization of Human Rights Violations - Business’ Impunity or Corporate Responsibility? The Case of Human Rights Abuses and Torture in Iraq,” Non-State Actors and International Law 5 (2005): 77–100; Jon Swartz, “A Short History of U.S. Bombing of Civilian Facilities,” The Intercept, last modified October 7, 2015,

xlvii Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 280.

xlviii Nick Paton Walsh, “Afghanistan War: Just What Was the Point?”, last modified February 25, 2016,

xlix Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 2004), 11.

l Greg Botelho, Paul Cruickshank, and Steve Almasy, “Paris Terror Suspect Mohamed Abrini Arrested in Belgium,”, last modified April 9, 2016,

li “United Nations Weapons Inspectors Report to Security Council on Progress in Disarmament of Iraq,” United Nations Security Council, accessed April 10, 2016,

lii Richard Falk, The Costs of War (New York; London: Routledge, 2008), 140.

liii It is worth noting here that international law has limited provisions for pre-emptive war when an attack by another state is imminent. However, the Bush Administration's pursuit of preventative war has no standing in international law. As a result, the lack of conditions for justification of pre-emptive war (impending attack) implies that alternative courses of actions should have been considered and pursued. See: Kramer and Michalowski, “War, Aggression and State Crime,” 449; Craig Borowiak, “The World Tribunal on Iraq: Citizens’ Tribunals and the Struggle for Accountability,” New Political Science 30 (2014): 180.

liv National Intelligence Council. Regional Consequences of Regime Change in Iraq. Prepared under the auspicies of Paul R. Pillar. 2003, 12.

lv National Intelligence Council. Principal Challenges in Post-Saddam Iraq. Prepared under the auspicies of Paul R. Pillar. 2003, 25.

lvi Keith P. McManus, “Civil Liability for Wartime Environmental Damage: Adapting the United Nations Compensation Commission for the Iraq War,” Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 33, no. 2 (2006): 417 – 448.

lvii Debra Satz, “What Do We Owe the World’s Poor?” Ethics & International Affairs 19, no. 1 (2005): 50.

lviii Ibid., 50.

lix Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 281.

lx David Miller “National Responsibility,” in National Responsibility and Global Justice, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 130.

lxi “Operation Enduring Freedom Fast Facts,”, accessed April 1, 2016,

lxii Sean D. Murphy, “Use of Military Force to Disarm Iraq,” The American Society of International Law 97, no. 2 (2003): 428.

lxiii Center for Systemic Peace. Global Report 2014: Conflict, Governance, and State. By Monty G. Marshall and Benjamin R. Cole. Vienna, VA, 2014; “Freedom in the World 2015,” Freedom House, accessed August 1, 2016,

lxiv Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 281.

lxv Ibid., 284.

lxvi Shelley Wilcox, “The Open Borders Debate on Immigration,” Philosophy Compass 4, no. 5 (2009): 818.

lxvii Dr. Robert D. Crews, “America’s Afghan Refugee Crisis: After 50 plus Years, the United States Has Caused More Harm than Good in Afghanistan. By Accepting Responsibility for the Refugee Crisis, It Can Begin to Reverse This Trend,” Foreign Policy, last modified February 4, 2016,

lxviii Higgens, Immigration Justice, 107.

lxix Direct cash payments to individuals who have suffered from violence is not a new concept. The U.S. has paid various amounts to family members of individuals killed by drone strikes, for example. While providing financial redress to individuals and to organizations is necessary, it is not sufficient to address harm done by the use of military force or to reduce the willingness of states to use violence. See: Cora Currier, “Secret Cash Pays for U.S. Drone Mistakes,” The Intercept, last modified November 12, 2014, .

lxx Eva Dwertmann, The Reparation System of the International Criminal Court: Its Implementation, Possibilities and Limitations (Leiden; Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2010), 13;15.

lxxi Andrew Woolford and Stefan Wolejszo, “Collecting on Moral Debts: Reparations for the Holocaust and Pořajmos,” Law and Society Review 40, no. 4 (2006): 871-901.

lxxii “UN Reparations Panel Pays out Another $1 Billion for Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait,” UN News Centre, accessed July 1 2016,

lxxiii Dwertmann, The Reparation System, 26. The United States is not a party to the International Criminal Court precisely because it wished to remain free of international jurisdiction that might bring it to account for its actions domestically and internationally. Authors Dawn Rothe and Christopher W. Mullins write: “The US wanted a court for others but insisted the jurisdiction could not impinge on the US, its policies, or any US state actor” (202). Dawn Rothe and Christopher W. Mullins, “The International Criminal Court and United States Opposition:A Structural Contradictions Model,” Crime, Law and Social Change 45, no. 3 (2006): 201—226.

lxxiv Guglielmo Verdirame and Barbara E. Harrell-Bond, Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced Humanitarianism (New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2005).

lxxv Harriet Grant, “UN Agencies ‘Broke and Failing’ in Face of Ever-Growing Refugee Crisis,” The Guardian, last modified September 6, 2015,

lxxvi Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 274.

lxxvii Richard Alba and Nancy Foner, Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), 23.

lxxviii Statistisches Bundesamt. “Nettozuwanderung von Ausländerinnen Und Ausländern Im Jahr 2015 Bei 1,1 Millionen.” Wiesbaden, 2016.

lxxix U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 2013. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2016.

lxxx Gabriel Zucman, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015), 35, 53.

lxxxi “The Cost of Inequality: How Wealth and Income Extremes Hurt Us All,” Oxfam, accessed July 1 2016,

lxxxii James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad. By Jon B. Wolfsthal, Jeffrey Lewis, and Marc Quint. Monterey, California, 2014. Global Zero. World Spending on Nuclear Weapons Surpasses $1 Trillion per Decade. By Bruce G. Blair and Matthew A. Brown. Washington D.C., 2011.

lxxxiii “The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),”, accessed July 1 2016,

lxxxiv “The Dominion and The Intellectuals,”, accessed April 1, 2016,

lxxxv Wilcox, “Global Relations of Harm,” 288.

lxxxvi Nick Turse, “US Special Forces Are Operating in More Countries Than You Can Imagine,” The Nation, last modified January 20, 2015,

Copyright (c) 2016 Jared Keyel