I was not referencing particular incidents when I referred to the cutting of children’s throats, but rather to the most hands-on intentional type of killing I could think of.
But there are certainly plenty of examples of children being intentionally killed by Muslim terrorists.
What I was trying to express in my post was the importance of intent in moral calculus. When someone attacks a school, as in Newtown, with the intention of killing children, that is morally quite different from a military operation in which schoolchildren get caught in the crossfire. Their being killed, in the second case, is indeed accidental, since it was not intended.
If our enemies can obtain absolute security simply by hiding behind children, they will certainly do so. And to a quite considerable extent, they already do.
If I hide behind children and shoot at armed men, and they return fire, who is responsible for their deaths? Me, or the people who defended themselves against me?
Oddly enough, I agree with you to a considerable extent, as I believe I implied in my original post. I think Americans are much too sanguine about “collateral damage” when it happens to someone else. On FR there are posters who frequently call for the “kill them all and let God sort them out” approach to conflict. Which I find completely immoral, and which they would also, if applied to their own families. In fact, you can make a case that 9/11 was exactly that.
So while I agree that a child killed by “accidental” collateral damage is just as dead as one killed by intentional targeting, I believe there is a significant moral difference between the people doing the killing. There is to my mind a significant though not enormous moral gap created by the intent.
You may certainly come to a different conclusion, but I don’t believe that I am obfuscating, at least not conciously.
I think it's easier to perform the moral calculus when you are the ones blowing up children and not the ones having your children blown up. I think, upon a little contemplation, you would have to agree.
You may certainly come to a different conclusion, but I dont believe that I am obfuscating, at least not conciously.
Here lies the obfuscation. Are they "hiding behind children" or is it our tactic to seek them out in their residences where children are bound to be present? The latter I think. If I come for you in your home and then kill your family trying to get to you, I am not morally superior in any way. Quite the opposite in fact.
Their being killed, in the second case, is indeed accidental, since it was not intended.
There are no accidents. That is where you varnish the truth. There are tactics and weapons and opportunities and choices. If the first casualty of war is innocence, the truth is the second.
You get it exactly right when you mention 9-11 though. I'm sure they felt morally justified then just as we do now and just as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev felt justified when they attacked Boston. You will recall that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev bluntly stated that their actions were retaliation for our attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the casualties were, in his exact words, "collateral damage". Was he morally superior too then? Obviously not. I also want to point out that I predicted within hours of the attack that the Boston attack was retaliation for our drone strike policies right here at FR, well before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote his bloody little message in that boat confirming it. when the unvarnished truth is your ally, you are able to see and describe events a little more clearly and that is why I yet argue this point (or any point really).