Sunday, August 06, 2006

“Between hell and reason”

It was 61 years ago today:

“Before the terrifying prospects now available to humanity, we see even more clearly that peace is the only goal worth struggling for. This is no longer a prayer but a demand to be made by all peoples to their governments–a demand to choose definitively between hell and reason.”
- Albert Camus, August 8, 1945

Hiroshima, August 1945: In a city of 350,000 more than 200,000 died.


Meanwhile, our modern moral calculus drifts ever further away from reason when the leaders of nations allow the killing of their own civilians so that they feel free to proceed apace with their targeting of enemy civilians, Geneva Conventions be damned:
“[According] to some U.S. military analysts…Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they’re being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.”
- Thomas Ricks, reporter for The Washington Post, on CNN’s Reliable Sources, August 6, 2006
(hat tip to Jeff Huber of Pen and Sword)
This is no sort of “moral equivalency,” but only the most dangerous sort of immorality. Declaring your own citizens expendable, in exchange for the “morally equivalent” right to kill others is only a descent into a philosophical hell of your own creation. It is only one more babystep to declare all of your own citizens, or anyone at all, to be expendable, on any terms of your choosing, when in fact, you do not have that right at all.

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