During the buildup to the Iraq war, placards nationwide read: "War is not the answer." Some people asked: "Then what is the answer?" Public opinion polls at the time disclosed a powerful reality that our ethics has been overlooking: Just arguing no to a war, without providing a clear alternative, is a sure way to lose the national debate.
Americans initially supported every war in the 20th century. They initially supported even the Vietnam War, which failed all eight criteria of just war theory and which ultimately was viewed as a mistake by 80 percent of Americans. So it is no surprise that a majority supported the Iraq war near its beginning (albeit with the lowest initial support for a war in the last 100 years of American war-making).