[eDebate] Losing the Blame Game
Thu Nov 22 11:18:26 CST 2001
bracketing all questions of free will...
if you know something will have a certain effect and then you do it anyway,
that is an intentional act. so, if you know that a military strike is
likely to kill "non-combatants" and then you do the strike, then that is
intentionally killing non-combatants. anyway, what makes you think that the
WTC couldn't be chalked up to "collateral damage?" The WTC was not only
economically valuable, but symbolically valuable to the activist's "enemy."
Its just to easy to envision the rationalization: they didn't kill civilians
only for the end of killing civilians; they killed civilians to make a
military security point; the civilians were a necessary component of their
military security strategy and thus, were collateral damage. Of course, the
activists were likely wrong in their security assessment. They
underestimated the jingoism that this country is capable of, and made
"america" stronger (in a muscular way).
I tend to agree with your conclusion, though. Anybody who thinks that the
Geneva Convention makes any sense in this world is living in Fantasyland.
>From: "a. ryan" <abryan at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu>
>To: <edebate at policy-debate.com>
>Subject: Re: [eDebate] Losing the Blame Game
>Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 19:51:21 -0500 (CDT)
> > But I'm not sure I see your point.
> > If you are suggesting we can win the "rhetorical"
> > battle by blurring the distinction between combatants
> > and civilians then I think it is not a rhetorical war
> > worth winning. I can't believe you would want to
> > respond to war crimes with war crimes.
>Stefan's point demonstrates that the US is *not* responding to war crimes
>with war crimes. It is a war crime to intentionally blur the distinction
>between combatants and noncombatants. It is a war crime to intentionally
>target civilians for destruction. Crashing two planes into the World
>Trade Center counts as a "war crime" as you put it.
>The terminology of "collateral damage", however much everyone seems to
>hate it, is useful because it distinguishes between the intentional murder
>of civilians and the acknowledged risk that military attacks may cause
>harm to civilians. That is a "rhetorical war worth winning." Why? Well,
>if the unintended death of civilians results from military attacks, and
>those unintended deaths are enough to stop the military attacks (by
>arousing international anger, decreasing public support at home, etc.),
>then nations who wished to commit violence against foreign civilians would
>simply place civilian installations near military compounds. Saddam
>Hussein did that during the Gulf War and continued to do so during the
>early years of post-Gulf War no fly zone strikes so that he could up the
>civilian casualty total and scare off the international coalition.
>The death of civilians is unfortunate. But to believe that the death of
>civilians is an absolute rule that overwhelms the need to protect the
>national security of a state is a necessary and sufficient condition for a
>passport to Fantasyland.
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