The deontological-to-consequential spectral realm of pacifism, through conditional pacifism through defensive justification through just wars is a mighty complex arena for most of us in the middle. It’s easy to ‘follow the rule’ of strict pacifism and declare all drone strikes as wrong since they incur violence as solution. At the other end it is just as easy to ‘bomb them all to hell’ if they pose a threat to us.
Most of us live in a more relative world in which each case must be weighed on its own merits. And that is the conundrum facing the administration in this case. Let us assume, for the moment, that the intelligence about this individual is factual: he is “an al-Qaida facilitator who has been directly responsible for deadly attacks against U.S. citizens overseas and who continues to plan attacks against them that would use improvised explosive devices.” Even so, the path is not obvious. The current prevalence of ndividual and small group, distributed terrorism strains our current social, legal and moral standards.
Where you stand is where you live. You can weigh the factors: innocent lives lost, future attacks thwarted and innocent lives saved, blowback, America’s reputation, increased dislike of the U.S., retaliatory attacks, increased recruitment for terrorist organizations…the list goes on.
But you are the President and the consequences of your actions fall upon all of your citizens. We will all be affected by the results of your decision. Perhaps you should lay out the facts and the sources of these facts so that we might better understand the situation. Do we have first-hand information? Does it come from trusted, possibly embedded, sources? Is it from recorded events in photographs or videos? Is there enough evidence for him to be tried in absentia? Should that be the standard?
Public trials, without the veil of excessive ‘secrecy’…it’s just an idea.
February 10, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact