He believes that such important matters needed slow, careful and rigorous examination, but what was often being churned out was too simplistic, lacking due seriousness to the claims of the Bush Administration for meeting the criteria of just war, despite rhetoric to the contrary. White's hope was to debate the authors of First Things, notably Neuhaus himself and George Weigel, who took a pro-war stance.
Iraq, the Moral Reckoning is a rigorous analysis and application of the six criteria of Just War Theory to the 2003 decision by the Bush White House to go to war against Iraq. The subtitle of this book is important, for the author does not want to do what many critics of the Bush Administration have done, which is to look at all of the mistakes from 2003 - onward and say that, with 20/20 hindsight, this was an unjust war. His book is meant to analyze the decision, not the aftermath, of going to war. He treats the Jus Ad Bellum ("Right to wage War"), rather than the Jus in Bellum ("Rightness in War"), which means that the information that was available at the time of the decision and the justifications given for the decision, and not later information or re-justifications, are the data for his analysis.