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Cutting Through the Rhetoric About When It's Supposedly Okay to Kill Civilians in a Military Attack

September 16, 2001

We can't claim it was wrong for others to kill our innocent civilians, and then go ahead and kill another country's innocent civilians. 

Some pundits would have you believe that as long as we don't "intend to" or "deliberately" target civilians, we're okay.  In other words, if we attack military targets and civilians get killed in the process, that's okay.

That's not so.  If you have a military target in your gun sights, and also in the field of fire are civilians, if you fire your weapon, then you have "intended to" and "deliberately" killed civilians. 

Killing civilians may not have been your desire nor your main intent, but if you can reasonably assume that your actions will kill civilians, then you have deliberately, with intent, killed them.

In other words, you will have killed innocent civilians in pursuit of your larger goal -- exactly what the World Trade Center terrorists did.

And of course, the innocent civilians are equally dead in both instances.

We should, therefore, attack targets only when we can reasonably assume there are no innocent civilians in the way.

That's the only way to avoid a hypocrisy so severe as to literally undermine the very justification for our military actions.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More on Civilian Casualties

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