7.07.2005

speaking of gunning down innocents

This excerpt from an article published in 2002. I think it applies today. And given the fact that the terrorist attacks this morning happened to the UK and not to the US, perhaps we can reevaluate our country's response to what happened almost 4 years ago and then our decision to attack Iraq.... _____________
"Some argue that the evil of terrorism is "absolute" and merits a "reciprocally absolute doctrine" in response.[7] That would appear to mean ferocious military assault in accord with the Bush doctrine, cited with apparent approval in the same academic collection on the "age of terror": "If you harbor terrorists, you're a terrorist; if you aid and abet terrorists, you're a terrorist--and you will be treated like one." The volume reflects articulate opinion in the West in taking the US-UK response to be appropriate and properly "calibrated," but the scope of that consensus appears to be limited, judging by the evidence available, to which we return. "More generally, it would be hard to find anyone who accepts the doctrine that massive bombing is the appropriate response to terrorist crimes--whether those of Sept. 11, or even worse ones, which are, unfortunately, not hard to find. That follows if we adopt the principle of universality: if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others--more stringent ones, in fact--plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil." ... "Some have formulated more general principles to justify the US war in Afghanistan. Two Oxford scholars propose a principle of "proportionality": "The magnitude of response will be determined by the magnitude with which the aggression interfered with key values in the society attacked"; in the US case, "freedom to pursue self-betterment in a plural society through market economics," viciously attacked on 9-11 by "aggressors...with a moral orthodoxy divergent from the West." Since "Afghanistan constitutes a state that sided with the aggressor," and refused US demands to turn over suspects, "the United States and its allies, according to the principle of magnitude of interference, could justifiably and morally resort to force against the Taliban government."[15] "On the assumption of universality, it follows that Haiti and Nicaragua can "justifiably and morally resort to" far greater force against the US government. The conclusion extends far beyond these two cases, including much more serious ones and even such minor escapades of Western state terror as Clinton's bombing of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in 1998, leading to "several tens of thousands" of deaths according to the German Ambassador and other reputable sources, whose conclusions are consistent with the immediate assessments of knowledgeable observers.[16] The principle of proportionality therefore entails that Sudan had every right to carry out massive terror in retaliation, a conclusion that is strengthened if we go on to adopt the view that this act of "the empire" had "appalling consequences for the economy and society" of Sudan so that the atrocity was much worse than the crimes of 9-11, which were appalling enough, but did not have such consequences.[17]"

2 Comments:

Blogger Scott Sloan said...

e, this reminds me of the responses that the U.S. military did against the Native Americans in the late 18th century in the Ohio Valley. The natives used guerrilla tactics (ambushes) against settlers and flatboats in the Ohio valley. The United States would retaliate and cause massive casualties to whole native american villages like what happened at Gnadenhutten and Schoebrunn near New Philadelphia, Ohio.

7/08/2005 9:36 AM  
Blogger e said...

Scott--
How do you remember all this stuff?!?!

Yeah, I think that's a good point to keep in mind--nothing is new under the sun. "Reciprocity" in war is something that pretty much every people group at pretty much every period of history has had to wrestle through. And I for one am glad that many people are skeptical that killing people--especially people that aren't firing back--is ever justified.

7/08/2005 12:56 PM  

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