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“We must destroy this village
to save it.” US Army Officer in
Vietnam telling AP reporter why
civilian casualties or property
damage was justified
Today I heard on radio an author who wrote a book about Israeli’s spy agency Mossad who, he claims, are responsible for the assassinations of four Iranian civilian nuclear scientists. Israel has not ever admitted killing these Iranian civilians but official spokespersons were overjoyed by the assassinations. they called it God’s will.
President Obama personally authorizes from the White House Killer Drones, unmanned planes, to kill what we call “terrorist”. Often innocent civilians are killed by the drone in our attempt to kill a ‘terrorist’. The killing of civilians, even children, is justified as necessary causalities to eliminate the ‘enemy.’
When someone stole some basketball rims at a neighborhood park a few were overjoyed in the theft, since it means young minority adults would not be able to play full court basketball.
I am not comparing the killing of human beings with the theft of basketball rims but the underlying principle that the “end” justifies the means is involved in all three examples as it is in many other aspects of life.
Basically it means “morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes; actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.” Many actions are justified in the understanding that end justifies the means, although the means may be unjust or immoral.
Peace through war and victory as the Romans and USA practice, peace thru strength, is build on this theory. The way of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other leaders claim that the end does NOT justify the means, the end and means need to match. If you use violence and killing to create peace and justice it will not work. However, if the means and the end are based on the same value and principles the way to peace will be peace and justice.
Although history has shown that means like war and violence leads only to more war and violence, not peace and justice, people and nations still operate on the end does justify the means. So Israeli rejoices in killing of civilians, USA rejoices in death of ‘terrorist’ although it means killing civilians and a few people rejoice at a theft of property because they believe it will lead to safer neighborhood.
There are many examples, on all levels of this conflict of philosophies, end justifies the means or the end and means need to be the same. What side are you on? I clearly am on the side that the end and means are one.