By "cost to ourselves", I mean cost in lives, both of our soldiers and of people getting killed in the terrorism it would inspire. The government's purpose is to protect innocent Americans, so that's the highest consideration. Of course innocent lives, of any nationality, are more important than monetary cost.
To: A.J.Armitage; tex-oma; Lurker; OWK; Diamond
A lesser consideration against it is that it would punish many innocent Middle Easterners. A lesser consideration? Innocent human lives are a lesser consideration than cost? These things struck me right off. Back later.... -- tex-oma
The government's purpose is to protect innocent Americans, so that's the highest consideration. Of course innocent lives, of any nationality, are more important than monetary cost. -- tex-oma
I agree with, and will here amplify, Aaron's point:
In the prosecution of a Just War (the analysis herein naturally depends upon the War in question being a Just War of retaliatory defense), the State's priorities are as follows:
1.) The Lives of domestic Civilians (Principle of Covenant)
2.) The Lives of domestic Soldiers (Principle of Covenant)
3.) The Lives of enemy Civilians (Principle of Charity)
4.) The Lives of enemy Soldiers (Principle of Charity)
These priorities are ordered thusly, not on the basis of any disparity in the values of the respectives Lives (life = life = life = life, period), but on the basis of a disparity of respective Duty. State is Covenanted to provide the defense of the Lives and Rights of its Citizens -- indeed, that is its only legitimate reason to exist.
- In Wartime, State's first duty is to protect the lives of its domestic Civilians -- if necessary, at the cost of its domestic Soldiers. This is certainly NOT because the life of a Soldier is worth "less" than the life of a Civilian -- it is simply because the defense of Civilians is what the Soldier signed up for, i.e., Covenanted (for which our Soldiers deserve the citizenry's unflagging honor and respect -- and the citizenry's determination NOT to send these covenanted warriors off to fight in various foreign wars - Kosovo, anyone? - which have nothing whatsoever to do with the citizenry's defense).
- State's second duty is to protect the Lives of its own Soldiers, if necessary at the cost of the lives of enemy Civilians. This is, again, not because the lives of the enemy are worth less, but simply because the Soldier, while a covenanted warrior for his own citizens, is still a Citizen, and therefore a party to the Covenant of State himself. The enemy civilian is not a party to the Covenant of our State, hence they do not enjoy the protection which our Covenant of State extends to the Lives of its Citizens (both civilian and soldier). If killing enemy civilians will save the lives of Citizen Soldiers, then State must prefer the killing of enemy civilians to the loss of its own Soldiers. Why? Simply this -- State is Covenanted to defend the lives of its Citizens; and Soldiers, while they are covenanted warriors, are Citizens of that State Covenant nonetheless - and the enemy civilians are not.
- State's third duty, if performance of such duty does not interfere with the defense of its own civilians and soldiers, is to minimize civilian casaulties among the enemy. Why? Because if the same Just Retaliatory Objective may be accomplished by the killing of 1,000 enemy civilians, or 10,000 enemy civilians, then accomplishing the objective with the killing of "only" 1,000 enemy civilians is simply the morally charitable and righteous thing to do. Provided that State is first performing its duty to defend the lives of its own civilians and soldiers, it may then (indeed, should) extend Charity in the killing of as few enemy civilians as will accomplish the Just Retaliatory Objective.
- Lastly, if the same Just Retaliatory Objective may be accomplished by the killing of 1,000 enemy soldiers, or 10,000 enemy soldiers, then accomplishing the objective with the killing of "only" 1,000 enemy soldiers is, in like manner, simply the morally charitable and righteous thing to do.
All the foregoing is predicated upon a simple maxim -- Covenanted Duties must be performed prior to the extension of Charity.
The State has a Moral duty to every single life
of its Covenanted Citizens before it has a Moral duty to even a million lives of its enemies -- period.
If I owe tex-oma $1,000 dollars, and I see A.J. Armitage starving and destitute for want of $100 to food and shelter, my first duty is to repay tex-oma the $1,000 which I owe. It does not matter how much I may wish to extend Charity to AJ; that money is not mine to give (unless, God willing, tex-oma should release me from my debt to perform Charity). Likewise, State's first duty is the Defense of its Covenanted Citizens; State does not even have the moral option of extending Charity to the enemy in War unless its duty in this regard is fulfilled. (For the same reason, all Foreign Aid is illegitimate -- no matter how Charitable, State has the primary duty not to tax even one dollar away from a single taxpayer for any duties other than those it is Covenanted to perform.)
A codicil to points #3 and #4 must here be stated -- the "Brutal Peace" codicil. IF State is reasonably confident that a brutal attack (even one of horrific brutality) against 10,000 enemy soldiers or even enemy civilians will so completely demoralize the enemy that a rapid peace will thereafter be acheived -- saving the lives of its Citizens (and, perhaps, many enemy lives also), then the brutal attack is not a "necessary evil", but rather a moral necessity to the performance of its primary duty to secure the defense and Peace of its own citizenry. While I would not class the fire-bombing of Dresden (which was a completely wanton and sadistic orgy of slaughter having no redeeming value, IMHO) among this sort of action, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima -- given the uncertainty of Japanese surrender prior to that action -- arguably fits the bill. (Nagasaki, OTOH, was probably unnecessary, historically speaking. But, hindsight is 20/20).
As always, IMHO.
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