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If a State A attacks another State B's military apparatus knowing full well that

War
If a State A attacks another State B's military apparatus knowing full well that there will be civilian collateral damage, then why is it that even if State B retaliates by intentionally targeting civilians, it's terrorism?

Andrew is obviously right, but what he is proposing is actually a utilitarian basis for double effect.

Andrew is obviously right, but what he is proposing is actually a utilitarian basis for double effect.

State A may know that there may be harm caused to civilians, as a matter of probability, but without targeting civilians, for example during the invasion of Normandy. If State B targets civilians and does so with the intention of causing terror, that is a very different matter, for example in the Blitz and the bombing of Dresden. At least so says the just war theory. And there is sense to it. A defensive war could not be fought if one expected no unexpected harm to innocents. But intentionally and deliberately harming civilians or non-combatants is an element in terrorism and more broadly in military actions that are not just. All this (and more) is the point of the law of double effect, which is an extension of Aquinas' treatment of homicidal self-defense. In defence of myself, do I intend to kill my assailant? Or does that killing come about as a foreseeable but unintended consequence of my self-defense? Besides, Aquinas' example was concerned only with self-defense, and there is no imaginable...

Many Americans maintain that, while they oppose the Iraq War, they nonetheless

War
Many Americans maintain that, while they oppose the Iraq War, they nonetheless "support" the troops wholeheartedly. But is this distinction a mere fantasy? The US has an entirely volunteer army, so why isn't a citizen who joins the military just as guilty for atrocities committed abroad as army or government officials?

Is it possible to oppose the War and yet supportthe troops?If I support the war, that means I believe the ends are justified andgood, themeans are appropriate, and so on. So I believe in the mission, as youmight say. Whatdoes it mean to "support the troops"? It might mean that I writecomforting "lettersfrom home" to people in the services, that I have positive feelingstowards thesoldiers, that I applaud their representatives on the 4th of July, andso on and on. Thesetwo activities are very clearly different and perfectly distinct, asthe support has two different objects, and there is plainly no fantasyhere. The more seriousquestion is whether it is morally permissible to engagein the second activity (supporting the troops) without the first(support for the war), or if we think the war is positively wrong. To put anextreme case: could (a moral "could" here) goodGermanshave supported the Wehrmacht, the regular army, even though they didnotsupport Hitler and the War and its stated aims? And would it have beena good idea? (Or, even moreextremely, should such Germans have written warm supportiveletters to regular Wehrmacht units, but not say to SS army units?) Itseems tome that the answer to this moral question hinges on just how bad thewaris thought to be. Supporting the troops if the war is known to be agreat moral evilis more than fantasy; it is itself wrong. But there is nothing wrongwith supportingthe troops in a war which we know or confidently believe is a justifiedand good one, such as (from the Allied side) theSecond World War. So forAmericans today the question of whether we can or should support thetroops but not thewar depends on just how bad we think the war is. My own view, for whatit is worth, is that the war is very bad (even though it appears to be theresult of incompetence and lack of intelligence rather than of malice),but not quite bad enough tojustify withdrawing our support, if we wish to give it, to people inthe services.

Is it possible to oppose the War and yet supportthe troops?If I support the war, that means I believe the ends are justified andgood, themeans are appropriate, and so on. So I believe in the mission, as youmight say. Whatdoes it mean to "support the troops"? It might mean that I writecomforting "lettersfrom home" to people in the services, that I have positive feelingstowards thesoldiers, that I applaud their representatives on the 4th of July, andso on and on. Thesetwo activities are very clearly different and perfectly distinct, asthe support has two different objects, and there is plainly no fantasyhere. The more seriousquestion is whether it is morally permissible to engagein the second activity (supporting the troops) without the first(support for the war), or if we think the war is positively wrong. To put anextreme case: could (a moral "could" here) goodGermanshave supported the Wehrmacht, the regular army, even though they didnotsupport Hitler and the War and its stated aims? And would it...