Contemporary Moral Problems: War, Terrorism, Torture and by James E. White

By James E. White

Excerpted chapters from the 9th version of White modern ethical difficulties made to be had to supply readers with a short anthology for the examine of the ethics of conflict, terrorism, torture, and assassination. Supported with challenge instances, an illuminating introductory essay, and learn questions, this article is going to interact scholars in a single of the main an important ethical debates of our time. Readings representing divergent viewpoints will problem them to advance their very own severe positions. this article is accessible both as a standalone reader or will be bundled with the other Wadsworth name.

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Extra info for Contemporary Moral Problems: War, Terrorism, Torture and Assassination

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Auspices in the Dayton peace accords, and it was designed specifically to protect against treatment like this. Ruth Wedgwood, a well-known international law scholar at Yale and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, defended the Bosnian seizure in warmodel terms. “I think we would simply argue this was a matter of self-defense. One of the fundamental rules of military law is that you have a right ultimately to act in self-defense. S. ” Notice that Professor Wedgwood argues in terms of what the men seized in Bosnia were planning to do, not what they did; notice as well that the decision of the Bosnian court that there was insufficient evidence does not matter.

To explain what is wrong with terrorism, Nagel makes a distinction between means and ends. It is not the ends or goals of the terrorist that make terrorism wrong, but the means used, namely the deliberate killing of harmless persons. This violates the basic moral principle that aiming at the death of a harmless person is morally wrong. In his view, killing in selfdefense does not violate this moral prohibition. Also, killing harmless persons in warfare is morally allowed as long this occurs as an unintended side effect of an attack on a legitimate military target.

But throughout human history wars have been characterized by their instigators as “just,” including those retrospectively denounced as grossly unjust, for example, Hitler’s campaign. ” 34 CH A PTER 1 • War and Terrorism The simplicity of its intuitive principles accounts for the widespread appeal of the “just war” paradigm. Throughout human history appeals to principles of “just cause” and “last resort” have been made by both sides to virtually every violent confl ict. “Just war” rationalizations are available to everyone, Hussein as well as Bush, Milosevic as well as Clinton.

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