Comments: Resistance

Publicola, in actuality we are very close to agreement here. I have one essential question, though: If everyone has a natural right to his own life, can you justify the killing of innocents in war?

Posted by Kevin Baker at October 26, 2006 07:56 PM

Kevin,
Please define "innocents". Also, are we talking about intentional or unintentional deaths?

My personal opinion is that it is wrong to kill non-combatants in war. However, this is predicated by a couple of things.

A) Politicians, royalty, or any other people who are prt of the 'civilian oversight' are NOT non-combatants. This also applies to intelligence gathering operatives and their hierarchy.

B) I'm a libertarian type and thus I do not care for offensive war.

Posted by Gregg at October 27, 2006 10:45 PM

For example: Carpet bombing a city; Children are innocents, no? If you're going to deliberately bomb civilian areas, then you're going to be deliberately killing children. The killing of al-Zarqaw; A woman and child were apparently also in the house we dropped two 500lb precision-guided bombs on. You can argue that this was accidental, but it was certainly a known risk. In fact, if the 9/11 commission report was correct the reason that the Clinton Administration demurred from attacking Bin Laden in his known camp was at least in part the fear of "collateral casualties" - the deaths of innocents.

When we assaulted Okinawa, our soldiers often had split-seconds to decide if a woman carrying a baby was innocent, or a combatant. "Better safe than sorry" is a tactic most understood at the time, because some were combatants. Same for Vietnam. Same for Iraq.

But don't you argue that these people all have "absolute, positive, unquestionable, fundamental, ultimate rights" simply because they're human beings? Isn't killing them in combat violation of those rights? How do we justify our acts if our society is based on a belief in absolute, positive, unquestionable, fundamental, ultimate rights?

Posted by Kevin Baker at October 28, 2006 03:18 PM